There's always been the joke that brown parents are the harshest parents one can have in the world. From arranged marriages to being limited to three career choices (doctor, engineer, or lawyer), brown parents are harsh. What's even funnier, though, is that the behaviors of brown parents are universal. Being brown means having a household that feeds a healthy dose of skepticism and pressure. It means having high expectations hung over you like a dreaded necklace from the day you were born. But being brown instills in you some qualities that are uniquely, well, brown.

Take the career expectations, for example. Brown parents value high academic performance more than anything, and this translates to an expectation of three career choices for their children: doctor, engineer, or lawyer. Depending on the family and what the traditional career has been for those family members, this can vary. In my family, it's doctors. Every child is expected to enter medical school to become a doctor. While this seems harsh, I am brown enough to rationalize why this is the case; being a doctor gives you financial independence and stability, and parents want this more than anything the world for their children. Sure, (brown parents) may go about it the wrong way, with their dictum that you are simply not allowed to be anything else, but there's a certain rationality to it. 

Then take in romantic expectations. If there's one thing that is absolutely not normalized in brown culture, it is interracial marriages. Marriages in brown culture are not marriages between individuals, they are marriages between families, and this factor is often hard to understand by those who are not brown. But understand it this way; if I want to marry someone, then I must get the approval of everyone in the immediate and extended family, my third cousins, and my family's acquaintances. Marriages are two unions of families and their acquaintances, not two individuals. 

Now let's move to the comparative factor. Brown families love to compare themselves and their children to literally everyone else on the planet. The amount of times I've been compared to a distant, successful cousin whom I should aspire to be cannot even be tallied. I find this unique factor in the universality of brown culture especially hilarious. What does my third cousin twice removed have to do with me, when I have never even met them and probably never will? What's even more hilarious is that these comparisons are intended to motivate me to become more like the person I am being compared to, but it just has the opposite effect; I aspire to be anything but like them. 

Now, I thought all this was just the case with Desi (or South Asian) parents. But I've slowly come to realize that every brown culture is the same. It doesn't matter how far away you may be from another predominantly brown country, the culture and these habits remain the same. 

These universal factors do tend to create a slightly toxic and humorous environment that is hopeless in transforming, and every brown child tells themselves that they will break this cycle of being brown (I certainly did), but who am I kidding? I am studying to be doctor, I am probably going to end up marrying someone within my own culture and religion, and I will probably end up comparing my own children to their cousins to motivate them to no avail. I am brown, and I cannot change this. It's a universal reality, and it is hopeless in any sort of reformation. 

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