Ruth

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HI! My name is Ruth Thangiah and I was born in Canada. Both my parents were born in Sri Lanka but my Dad is originally from India. My parents are Tamil Sri Lankans which is why they fled a full on Tamil genocide that is still ongoing in Sri Lanka and came here. I live in Canada now, and recently graduated two years ago with my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. I am currently contemplating whether I should go to law school or pursue my masters. While I contemplate, I am working as a legal services coordinator for a non-profit legal centre that provides legal advice for low-income people. Working in the non-profit sector of the legal field is my dream because you’re actually out there helping people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to justice. My other dream is to teach race and gender related classes either at a law school or post-secondary institution.

My family was a religious household. However, my parents never forced me into any sort of religion. My parents had honest conversations with me since I was younger about the downfalls of organized religion. Since I was allowed to form my own beliefs and values, I believe this is why I have pretty strong faith in a non-denominational God.

My parents pushed my sister and I to be the best version of ourselves. I have and will always be taught to never let the white patriarchy get the best of me but instead fight it. This is as simple as being present in settings that were not made for me as a dark-skinned, second generation Canadian woman. My parents instilled so much confidence in me that I continuously push myself to evolve and hold myself accountable. Because they were not able to get an education themselves, they made sure my sister and I prioritized it. I owe all my education and work successes to my parents.

The women in my family have resilience in our blood and I have to give a big shout out to my grandma, aunties, and cousins that have always supported me in my journey.

I have several strong female influences in my life. The women in my family have resilience in our blood and I have to give a big shout out to my grandma, aunties, and cousins that have always supported me in my journey. Special shoutout to my cousins Dushy who is a beautiful and smart dark skin woman that I’ve always looked up to as someone who represents me.

Regardless, I would say my mom has always been the original strong female influence in my life. She is the most hardworking and no-nonsense woman I have ever met. My mom and my dad fled their home to give my sister and I a better chance at success. My mom is the reason I am who I am today. She is a proud dark skin Tamil woman that has always taught me to be independent.

During my entire education there were not a lot of people who looked like me. In addition, the ones who would be favoured or get all the special opportunities were always white girls with blonde hair and blue eyes.

My older sister is my ride-or-die. During my entire education there were not a lot of people who looked like me. In addition, the ones who would be favoured or get all the special opportunities were always white girls with blonde hair and blue eyes. When I started highschool (Grade 10 in Canada) the effects of this Eurocentric beauty standard really started to hit me. I remember one day I was sitting with my sister in her room and I was telling her how all these white girls were so beautiful. My sister stopped me and stared me dead in the eye and said “your skin is absolutely gorgeous, you are so beautiful”. From that point on I worked hard every day to be an example for younger dark skin girls so that they would have someone to look up to that looked exactly like them. I still strive for this especially through my Instagram posts. I’m very bold about dark skin empowerment because I grew up thinking it wasn’t that great to be dark skin. I later realized it’s a blessing and should be celebrated every chance I get.

Within the Tamil community there is extreme colourism present so there was and still isn’t any real representation for dark skin Tamil women.

I want to mention that I also owe dark skin black women everything when it comes to how I feel about my skin. Within the Tamil community there is extreme colourism present so there was and still isn’t any real representation for dark skin Tamil women. Shout out to people like Kelly Rowland who gave me that representation when I was younger. Besides family, Mindy Kaling was an important influence for me in my adulthood. Mindy’s portrayal of the character Mindy Lahiri is so important for young women like myself. She takes no nonsense and if something doesn’t truly fit her life or makes her happy she will walk away from it. Mindy is also a dark skin woman that I find is so important amidst all the light skin south Asian women portrayed in media and film.

My mom, sister, family members, and dark-skinned role models are such important women in my life that help me in so many ways. This is especially true in how I never felt represented compared to my white counterparts at a very young age. However, it makes me who I am today. I find that I can often get backlash for the aggressiveness of my posts. But I’ll never stop because if I can make even just one change in how a person thinks about a certain topic I’ll be content. My multifaceted identity used to be a burden but now I’ve come to realize it makes me who I am today and continue to evolve into.

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