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To Sam

i hate being pakistani

hello i just wanted some advice because im so confused and i dont know what to do. im asian and was born and bred in the uk... but i feel so split its like i dont know which way to go. i mean i feel like rejectin my asian culture and only embracing my english side but people dont understand me. I hate my asian side.. i wish i wasn’t asian at all. when people look at me all i can think is that they must be thinking im some sort of terrorist or something. i hate going anywhere with my family, i feel so embarassed and its like my insides are twisting. i cant really hide the fact that im asian because i have tan skin and were a headscarf. i dont want to take it off but with it on i feel like im not a part of the society. i wish life was simpler. also theres that stereotypical image that people get when they think of asians, in britain i feel like pakistanis are the most hated race, i sometimes hate it myself. everything else my taste in music, what i eat, the clothing i wear is english. but i cant lie about my heritage. so how do i come to terms with it?? wheneveri think of pakistan i think of cows, fields, bombs etc. thers nothing to be proud of.
Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Thank you for contacting me to talk about how you’re feeling. You’ve done the right thing to get in touch.

It sounds like right now is a very confusing time for you. I can hear that you’re having a tough time because it feels like your own values and identity don’t fit with those of your family’s cultural background. You don’t say how old you are but it’s not unusual to feel “different” from your family as a young person, as you begin to develop an independent sense of who you are and your place in the world. This can be particularly difficult if your parents grew up in a different country or culture to you.

You mention stereotypes as a reason for wanting to reject your cultural background. It’s important to remember that stereotypes are based on prejudice not fact. Unfortunately sometimes people do have badly informed opinions or can be racist. Not everyone you meet will judge you on your race or religion.

Sometimes when people continually hear negative viewpoints about their identity, they can start to believe these opinions are true. It might help to try and work out whether any of your negative feelings towards your Pakistani background come from your own personal beliefs, or whether these feelings are a result of being exposed to other people’s prejudice. Remember that even if there are parts of Pakistani culture that you choose not to keep in your life, there might other parts that you would like to hold on to. You don’t have to choose all or nothing and it’s ok to continue to develop your identity as you change throughout your lifetime.

It may be that other people in your life have experienced similar feelings when they were growing up. Do you have friends, religious leaders, teachers, youth leaders etc who might be able to share their own experience of feeling split between Pakistani and British culture?

It sounds like you may also benefit from building your confidence and there are some great suggestions for this in the Explore pages. The message boards at ChildLine are a great way of getting some peer support and you may consider posting a message about your feelings and asking others for their advice.

You have done really well writing to me about how you feel but if you want to explore your feelings further, ChildLine counsellors are available to talk by calling 0800 1111 or by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat.

Take care,

Sam

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