South Asian Indian Families In America

3413 words - 14 pages

Asian Indian community in the United States is one of the most numerous. According to the data of 2000 Census, there are currently 1.7 million people of Indian origin in the US (Rediff US Special). This number includes all those who identify themselves as Indian American or Asian Indian irrespective of what immigration generation they belong to. My focus in this paper is family life of Asian Indians in America. Family roles and structure, attitude towards family in society are different in America and in India. Thus, it is interesting to investigate how new environment changes or challenges Indian families in America and whether Indians manage to maintain their culture and previous customs through time and generations.Most of my statements will concern those Asian Indian families in the U.S., where parents are first-generation immigrants of post-1965 professionals' wave, and their children are second-generation immigrants. I will use both material from second-hand sources and comments from the people I interviewed myself.Massive immigration of Indians to the United States started after the 1965 Emigration Act, when national quotas were canceled. Since it was only forty years ago, we face the situation when majority of Indians living in the United States are either first- or second-generation immigrants. Thus, their cultural trends are still strong in their families and assimilation into American society and preserving national traditions still form an issue.An interesting and important point for further consideration is the fact that level of education of these immigrants is quite high, they came with good level of English and majority of them were professionals (Gibson, 6), so they were socially similar to average Americans, however their cultures were different.However, along side with interaction with dominating groups, immigrants of Indian origin, similarly to many other minority groups, tried to gather their diaspora communities where they could interact with people of the same culture. Such communication helps newcomers to adjust on the new place and help those living in the U.S. for a while to maintain national culture.According to the study reflected by Mechthild Gawlick in his article, second-generation Asian Indian children develop deeper friendship with other Indians because they understand each other better. Respondents often said that a more intimate friendship and understanding develops because other Indian teens are "going through the same struggle" (Gawlick).Currently Asian American youth in the U.S. is so numerous that there is already a need for an MTV channel, which would specifically address this audience called desis - children of Indian immigrants that were born or brought up in the U.S. (Sontag). Yes, right now the situation is that Asian Indian population in the U.S. has split in generations: First-generation immigrants of course preserve more of their home-country flavor and traditions, while their children born in the...

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