Generalizing The Indian Experience Is Not Okay
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Politics and Activism

Stop Generalizing The Indian-American Experience, Because Every One Of Us Is Different

It's never the same.

Stop Generalizing The Indian-American Experience, Because Every One Of Us Is Different
Maansi Joshi

Imagine first-generation Indian-American life. Education is the only thing that matters. If they're young, they better get into an Ivy League school, and if they're in college, there are constant questions as to why don't they go to an Ivy League, but since they don't, they better place at the top of their class at whatever school they're in.

They have four choices in life: doctor, engineer, lawyer, or businessman.

A social life is not okay. If their parents find out that they are sexually or romantically involved with someone of the opposite gender, there's going to be a huge argument resulting in over-the-top punishment.

Oh, and if the person happens to be part of the LGBTQ+ community, they're basically dead to their family. Everything they do is based on marrying well. They can't go in the sun because they'll get dark, and apparently ugly.

Speaking their native language is a must, as is going to the temple. And if they're not married by 25? What are they doing? Find a sanskaari person and get hitched. If they fail to do as their parents say, they'll probably get slapped. Basically, they are to live a completely Indian lifestyle, with no American aspects whatsoever.

This sounds familiar, right? It's the narrative we've heard time and time again. It makes for great comedy. Sure, some people might live in that reality, but it's not nearly as common as we make it out to be.

Generalizing the Indian-American experience is harmful. As a minority, we're already not seen very three-dimensionally. The model minority theory screws us over enough, we don't need to do it to ourselves.

The Indian-American experience is just as diverse as any other group of people. Most of us don't live by those stereotypes. A lot of our parents aren't tiger parents, and actually, understand when we incorporate American culture into our lives. Sure, a lot of us have been slapped, but we're not beaten to a pulp at every little blunder.

Believe it or not, a lot of our parents are actually pretty open-minded. Talk to them, and they'll try their best. Not all of them, but quite a few.

Everyone has their own experience, and it's important to highlight that. Generalizations perpetuate stereotypes, which can have negative effects.

There's no such thing as "all Indians do this" or "all Indians are like this". Every single person's experience is different, and to emphasize that is to create a more dimensional image.

So remember, any experience YOU have is individual and authentic to YOU.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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