This is what Sarah (shesdreaming.tumblr.com) had to say when I asked a little more about her cutlure & background. I found her story very interesting & could relate to it to a certain degree. The first part of her response is in relation to me asking how light did she have to be to be accepted in her culture.Thanks for sharing girl :)

For some reason, I look a lot lighter in pictures then I do in real life and anytime I’m in pictures for promotional/modelling reasons, it’s blatant to me that they have lightened my skin with photoshop.  I am Punjabi Sikh and Kenyan Muslim (from my mom and dad’s side respectively) so I represent two major Indian religions AND cultures.  

http://talyalee.tumblr.com/post/6430895216/it-only-took-twenty-something-years#notes-container - This post is by a girl who’s been like a big sister to me, it isn’t just about accepting your skin color but is also about accepting the body type that comes along with being black, brown, etc.

The problem for me within my own culture is a religious issue.  I’ll summarize hundreds of years of history- There was an uprising against the Mughal rule in the 1670s and the Sikhs stood up for their rights against the Muslims.  The Muslims had a much greater following and proceeded to murder and be at war with the Sikhs.  Fast forward to today- Sikhs and Muslims are still known as two religions that “hate” each other (obviously not all hate each other, but you get where I’m coming from).  My mother was a 19 year old Sikh Pharmacy Student at the University of Alberta. My dad was a 29 year old Muslim man, token “bad-boy” (think tattoos, drugs, motorcycles, etc). My mom got disowned by her parents and ran away with my father and eloped.  My brother and i were born Muslim.  We went to Saturday school to learn about our religion and I was mercilessly bullied from the age of 11-16 by my peers because I was “mixed”. I was kicked out of religion class countless times for asking questions in class that are hush-hush in the Muslim faith because I was curious.  When brown people see me and ask what religion I am and I say Muslim and Sikh, I still watch judgement being passed over me.  In terms of other races, they still see me as an Indian girl, I find more issues within my own religion than with other races.  Any other problems I have with myself reside in the fact that my best friend is Barbie, she has long shining blonde hair is a size 0 and has big boobs.  That isn’t obviously a problem with me, she is beautiful inside and out and I love her unconditionally. But it is another reminder that I am NOT the conventional beauty.  In high school, I was seeing a boy for months and finally I asked why he wouldn’t date me and he told his friends that he would never date a colored girl.  This is where my struggle lies.  I am 19 and east Indian.  I have a Ukranian-Russian 23 year old boyfriend who loves me dearly and thinks I am the most beautiful girl in the world.  However, it’s the rest of the world that needs changing and no matter how proud I am of my heritage, I still find myself battling my insecurities, knowing that I’ll never be Barbie.  (sorry for the essay, but that’s basically my story).