Regarding my name change
When I began my career on Twitch in 2013 I based my persona on a character named "Rajj Patel", which is why my twitch channel was called "RajjPatel" and why all these years later I am still known as Rajj online. This has changed from today, and I’d like to explain why.
Over the past few years, and particularly in the last few months, I’ve grown a lot as a person. Part of that has meant being open and honest about my personal life and background - but along with that comes some painful realities about things from my past I’d do differently. With everything happening in the world, we’re all spending a lot of time at the moment thinking about how we treat each other, and it feels like a natural time for me to talk about what I’ve learned.
When I look back on myself in 2013, I was ignorant and approached the Rajj character as an actor. I had a big group of friends in the Indian community and thought that meant that I understood the consequences and history of the choices I made on camera. Although it was never designed to be insensitive or harmful, I know now that is exactly what it was. I should never have named myself Rajj or taken on this character.
As a content creator with a platform I feel that I have a responsibility and obligation to make everyone within my community feel included and not feel as if their culture - a big part of their identity - is being appropriated by someone who doesn't have any right to do so. For those of you who were impacted personally, the South Asian & Indian community, I would like to give you what is long overdue, I'm sorry. As a white man of privilege I will never be able to understand the struggle and hardships that people of color go through every day and my words and actions have the power to add to that experience. I understand this now.
As my career has grown, I’ve had many conversations with friends and colleagues from the Indian community that helped me to realize that what I was doing with my brand was personally and professionally insensitive. I’m grateful to them for staying open to talking to me about these issues and educating me. This all factored into my decision to stop doing the character and to drop the ‘Patel’ part of the name early last year, but stopping there isn’t enough.
I don't want any part of my image, name, or persona to be inappropriately borrowed from a culture that I don't have the right to represent. So moving forward I will be going by my first name, Austin, and rebranding everything as a derivative of that. The shows that you have come to know and love will remain intact but changes will be made to the names of the shows that contain "Rajj" in the name. I only wish that I’d listened more fully and made these changes sooner.
Admitting mistakes can be uncomfortable, but I wanted to be open about my journey, do what I can to put things right and hopefully add to the conversation. We all need to stay aware that what we do and say affects others. Moving forward I want to continue educating myself and being sensitive to things that I will never fully understand. I invite you all to do the same.
Thank you all