Filza, Portland, Ore.

    “A high school teacher asked me to rewrite a senior thesis as my self-reflection did not explain enough how I was affected as a "Pakistani woman" -- because he knew my self reflection better than me. I have resented rewriting this for 20 years.
    I cannot tell you how many times I've been asked to bring up my Pakistani-Muslim-ness when it had nothing to do with what I was doing.
    To this day, I am not sure which "demographic/race" box to check. There is no box for "South Asian." I usually check "Asian." But I have been told numerous times that I am not traditionally "Asian."
    Sometimes I straighten out my naturally-curly hair, and I am usually flooded with compliments. I can't help but think that this is because people don't like my normally ‘ethnic’ look.”