South Asian Indian Families in America

Essay by dpwinc1 November 2008

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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...