Vishnu Subramaniam: “We children are the unspoken victims of a culture that prides itself on producing valedictorians, winning academic competitions, and achieving Ivy League admissions”


“Throughout my life, I’ve felt like a failure.

Yes, I spoke at my high school graduation as the keynote speaker. Yes, I attended one of the top ten public universities in California and yes, I picked up a law degree after that, but here’s what I know to be true.

I grew up in a northern California suburb filled with the children of Indian doctors and computer engineers. No matter how well I did in school or what I achieved, there were kids who continually outperformed and outdid whatever it was I had done.

Sure, as a community and a culture, we should be proud of our accomplishments. But I, and many of the Indian kids I grew up with, have become emotional and psychological wrecks…and your whole life after high school and college, you continue the overachieving, people-pleasing, perfectionist ways that your parents drummed into you during your formative years.


Our parents intended the best for us, but did they unintentionally create adults who lack confidence, who are never happy with their achievements, and who are perpetually comparing themselves to others?

Yes, your kids can compete in a spelling bee and win it after years of practice. They will win scholarship money, become the talk of the town and have a trophy they’ll treasure for life.

Alternatively, you can love your children, tell them you accept them and that you approve of them no matter what they do with their lives, and support them in whatever decisions they make.

One route will lead to newspaper coverage and scholarship money. The other will lead to a positive self-image and happy children who live their values and stay true to themselves.”

-Writer and Coach Vishnu Subramaniam

Read more here:…/the-problem-with-indian-kids-…/…

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