2nd Gen Experiences of Desi Immigrants

“…but we can also set a platform for the Indian kids of the next generation to grow to even higher levels representing Indian Americans without the limits we felt we had growing up..”

According to the 2010 United States Census, the Asian Indian population in the United States grew from almost 1,678,765 in 2000 (0.6% of U.S. population) to 2,843,391 in 2010 (0.9% of U.S. population), a growth rate of 69.37%, one of the fastest growing ethnic groups in the United States.”

 WOW..isn’t it? Indian’s takin over! We all come here for better opportunity. After all, America IS the land of opportunity. Sounds amazing, more freedoms, no caste system, and all of the other reasons why people leave India and immigrate. NOTHING wrong with that ( read my blog on loving every country), however has anyone ever considered the casualties of immigration?

I conversed with many 2nd generation children of Desi Immigrants and I’ve come to a conclusion, and I say this with ALL due respect, the experiences of 2nd gen kids of immigrants are a casualty of immigration. 

I can bet that every single desi child grew up insecure, had a serious identity crisis, have had difficulties understanding on how to interact and look at “fobs”, and had peer pressure from all directions. That’s where the term “American Born Confused Desi” came from, because  it’s true we grew up confused and much more.

I’m not going to lie, growing up as an Indian in America wasn’t always easy. Now I know all us 2nd gen agree  that we empathize with our parents for all they went through and all they did.Because they all did what was best at the time and what they knew was best at the time. We all have SO much more respect for our parents as we get older, because at our age they left everything and came to a WHOLE new country with a different culture, AND raised us successfully praying we would turn out okay. Here is a shout out to all our immigrant parents for doing what they did.  We respect you all so much and thank you for your love and sacrifice to give us a better future and help us be better humans.

My intent here is not to make anyone feel bad but, just to point out and acknowledge the effect or “casualty” that immigration had on 2nd gen ,and how I believe we can all progress because of it. I express this with a hope to  relate to other brown kids who may be going through this to tell them ITS OKAY and it will all be okay. And as second gen of immigrants, to show them why it’s important to put ourselves in our parents shoes and respect what they have done, and why it’s important to respect our culture and embrace both cultures. 

I say this from my own experience and many other 2ndgen who have expressed this sentiment.

Growing up, most of us second generation grew up feeling like we didn’t belong here, we didn’t see any our friends looking like us, celebrities looking like us, nobody could pronounce our name, people questioned the food we ate, wondered why we didn’t celebrate the same festivals, why were we brown.

For girls we wondered why we looked so different from Caucasian girls, we were always in a state of trying to be cultured like we were taught at home and fit in in school. When it crossed a certain point, we even made fun of other Indians and tried to disassociate ourselves on certain levels with other Indians if they weren’t American enough.

The things our parents taught us at home and what we saw in school were different. Dating was a new concept to us. Most of us lived through this insecure crisis filled lives until we got to college and/or started working and found other people who were JUST like us, and started learning how to balance both cultures and formed a bond with other 2nd gen Indians.

Even we visited India the first time, we were the weird people. Only after 2-3 visits to India do we get acclimated to the culture and learn how to be Indian in India and start to embrace the culture.

We all have gone through up’s and down’s where we didn’t know who to be, who we should be, and how to behave with other Indians. There was always an underlying comparison we made as to being less indian=more cool. Which is sad. In my case I was THE Indian girl growing up, so for a large part of my life I felt UNCOOL. In my case I went through my own growing pains, and later as I got older realized how I was made unique and how I should embrace my uniqueness as it is a gift and give back by doing and becoming something with it. My message is to embrace Meri Sanskriti.

As grown second gen young adults, I feel it is our responsibility to make sure we set an example for the next generation to feel like they belong. As much as our parents struggled when they came to America, we struggled being immigrant children. Struggles are good in many ways as lessons are learned and that’s how we grow, but we can also set a platform for the Indian kids of the next generation to grow to even higher levels representing Indian Americans without the limits we felt we had growing up( and so can we now that we are aware). Our parents were pioneers in immigrating to this land of opportunity and we should be the ones to embrace our culture and be the example for the next generation that you can and should embrace your unique self!

Sincerely,

“The Indian Girl”

Connect with me on Instagram: Meri Sanskriti,would love to hear from you and your experience!

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