The Truth Behind Indian American Exceptionalism

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illustration of wealthy Indian American family
ILLUSTRATION BY TREVOR DAVIS; FAMILY PHOTOS COURTESY OF ARUN VENUGOPAL; OTHER IMAGES BY FEDERICO BENOCCI / EYEEM / GETTY; TIM ABRAMOWITZ / GETTY; MICHELLE MARSAN / SHUTTERSTOCK

This article was published online on December 19, 2020.

In 1978, several years after leaving India and coming to Texas, my parents decided to move out of our middle-class neighborhood in southwest Houston. Our new home, a few miles away, was a custom-designed contemporary structure on a one-acre lot in the exclusive Piney Point Village, population 3,419, a community that vies for the title of “richest city in Texas.” We had a swimming pool and a three-car garage, where my dad, an immaculately tailored allergist, parked his silver Cadillac and my mom parked her ivory Mercedes. We had, quite clearly, arrived.