Hidden Diversity Across Different Races and Cultures: ‘But You’re Not Really Asian?’

Pico goes to India.

Pico looks Indian.

Pico gets classified as Indian.

But Pico is British.

In The Road Home, a short film by Rahul Gandotra, Pico a ten-year-old British boy attends Woodstock boarding school in the Himalayas. He is a TCK, or Third Culture Kid, and this film captures what a day in the life of a TCK could look like.

“I’m not Indian. Why is that so hard to understand?”

the road home

This film does a fantastic job of giving a closer look into the emotional troubles that a TCK experiences when moving back and forth between cultures. As Pico runs away from the bullies that keep telling him he is an Indian, the audience gains an understanding of Pico’s perspective because he knows who he truly is, regardless of being told he is someone else.

Hidden diversity make us who we are.

That’s the thing about hidden diversities…they’re hidden.


Taken from the film’s website, “As he journeys through a country foreign to him, Pico encounters others who mistake him for an Indian boy, forcing him to face the painful truth that the world does not see him the way he sees himself.”

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Up-close and personal with my so-called ‘Asian’ eyes. Photo by Lia Conger.

The hidden diversity that Pico has is something that I can certainly relate to.

One side of my family is Korean and I grew up with that side of my  family my whole life. Although I did not live in Korea, and I was never submersed in the culture, I did experience different Korean culture from my grandmother.

I thought it was great that I was a quarter Korean- my father is half- but it always confused people when I told them.

“You don’t look Korean. You’re white!”

“Oh yeah I can see it a little bit in your eyes – they’re kind of slanted.”

Rahul Gandotra on the set of “The Road Home” with Pico played by Arrun Harker. Photo from Zarrenm.

So I have to look like that race to be considered a part of it? That makes a lot of sense.

The director Gandotra tells Denizen magazine, “The problem starts when others use only my physicality to determine or assume my identity,” Gandotra said. “This is where the frustration starts for me; when people ignore or disregard how you see yourself and then tell you how you should see yourself even though they don’t know much about you.”

I see myself as Korean, as well as American, and it is frustrating when I have to explain to people why I am Korean, and why I don’t look like it. I just am.

Just like Pico I have felt distressed by people’s interpretations of my race, but, it does not make me any less of a person.

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