On November 15, 2019, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley spoke in Convocation at Liberty University sharing about her upbringing as the only India Indian in her rural South Carolina town and its impact on her job as ambassador.
Host: It’s such an honor to have you with us. Before we get started talking about all the great impact you made in the world, let’s get into your early life, let’s get into your childhood. You mentioned in the book that you were never white enough to be white or black enough to be black, you were a brown girl in a black and white world. Welcome to my world, by the way, all right, but, talk to us about that. You’re, you’re an immigrant’s daughter from India, and so tell us about your upbringing.
. . . so I was born and raised in a small rural southern town in South Carolina . . . and so, bottom line we were the only Indian family in that small southern town. We weren’t white enough to be white, we weren’t black enough to be black. My father wore a turban, he still does to this day, my mother wore sari. They didn’t know who we were what we were or why we were there. And I remember when I would come home from school, after being on the playground and being bullied, my mom would always say, your job is not to show them how you’re different, your job is to show them how you’re similar. And it’s amazing how that lesson on the playground really carried with me, whether it was the corporate world, whether as Governor, whether as Ambassador, because when you’re faced with a challenge, if you first talk about the things you agree on everyone lets their guard down and then you can actually get to the true challenge and reach a solution in the process.
Host: So so big commonality build the bridge did something that you went through whether he was being bullied but you were as a child or anything else out of that principle that maybe you’ll learn as a child get applied as our ambassador
Nikki Haley: you know I think mainly it was understanding the pain of it the pain of being different the pain of having people judge you based on something you can’t change and I think that when I was Ambassador you feel people’s pain and you don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t deserve human dignity and they don’t deserve to have true self worth so it makes you fight for people more it makes you fight for their existence that makes you fight for their respect and it makes you fight because they are a child of God and deserve that.
Your job is not to show them how you are different, your job is to show them how you are similar.
~ Raj Kaur Randhawa, Nikki Haley’s mother