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Proud to Be API: Spotlight #2

Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2021

1. My name is Ibraheem Mehdi Khan.

2. I am a senior in my final semester as a Math and Physics Major. As of Fall 2021, I will be a Master’s student in Statistics and Data Science also here at UNR.

3. I was President of the Robotics and Electronics Club from my Freshman to my Junior year, the Clerk for the Engineering Leadership Council my Junior Year. I have been active in the Math Club Freshman to Junior Year, competing in the Putnam and Intermountain Math Competitions. Currently, I am also affiliated with the Youth Democratic Socialists at UNR. My passions include mathematics, music composition, reading/watching a LOT of both fiction and non-fiction, and working out.

4. My identity is an attempt to resolve the social ambiguities pressed on by my birth as the son of Pakistani immigrants, the socioeconomic environment of my childhood, and my own neurodivergence with the contradictory reality of really only have interacted with the normative American social landscape. I prefer to understand and express my identity as syncretic, adopting a dual strategy of private social marginalization and public social integration. It is both everything and nothing- the source of my own intersectional consciousness but not of any coherent value system. My identity is a living testament to the way I interpret my personal experiences because if it is anything else, it is only then a trite, reductive label like “Asian-American”, “Pakistani-American”, or even the naively-apt “American-Born-Confused-Desi (ABCDesi)” etc. which fails to envision my and others’ break with the social norms of these label-communities. As an addendum, I’d like to add that in my view, identity is inseparable from class and it is possible to hold intersectional analysis without fears of class-reductionism.

5. It has been largely educational. Quite frankly, for my friends and I, it was our first taste of “real” America, so to speak, as the neighborhoods, schools, and communities we were part of growing up in East Vegas were already considerably “diverse”- to the point where white-Americans were ‘just’ another minority. I realize that this probably does not shape up to the experiences of other people from Las Vegas, of course, and probably less so to those born in Reno or elsewhere in America. Confronting this at the University has been a privilege as I have been better prepared to deal with questions of identity as they relate to broader society. The academic body of literature, no matter how poisoned, divisive, or alien as its critics may (and rightly) regard it, is still a fairer assessment of intersectionality in America than that given by most.