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I didn’t set out to argue against the stereotype, but wanted to investigate how relevant the category was.
I found that the younger second generation Indian Americans born 1980s onward seems to have a much better handle on being Indian American in a multicultural America.
The first time I met Alex was on my parents’ doorstep, the winter after I graduated from college. 3, or 7, or maybe even 12; by the time my parents met him at the bus station and drove him to our house, I had long lost count.
For more than a year, my extended family had been laboring on my behalf, receiving and rejecting proposals.
Mumbai-born, New York-raised anthropologist Shalini Shankar spent three years “kickin’ it” with desi teens in the Silicon Valley for her book, Desi Land: Teen Culture, Class And Success In Silicon Valley.
She spoke to DNA about how desi teens navigate the world of their immigrant Indian parents, American pop culture, and ‘model minority’ expectations.
Yes, I know this is hard for most Americans to understand, but it's true. But what can "choice" mean in such restrictive circumstances? Yes, we’ve changed, and yes, we’ve accommodated, but isn’t No, my elders would say emphatically, it is not. He’s a committed provider and a loving father to our two children.
I don’t speak it that well, I speak poorly, but I can understand. Like I want to talk about adult things but I can only talk about them like a 12 year old. There was this Ashton Kutcher incident awhile back when he was a spokesperson for popchips. Growing up in Queens, me and my brother were very aware of racial dynamics from a super super young age.My parents don’t use forks” — he talked candidly with us about racial dynamics in Queens, why his relatives in India think he and his brother, Hari, are singers and lawyers, and why he’ll probably never leave New York. One of my parents is from Andhra Pradesh and one is from Telangana. Like, “I’m Indian and I think you should stop being a crybaby.” It’s such a classic Indian move of hedging your bets and aligning yourself with mainstream sentiment. It was Long-Island-y white people, if you know what that means.My dad is from a more rural farming background, one of nine kids. If you don’t know what that means, I’m not going to say it.Ashok Kondabolu, the Indian-American podcaster, personality, and former hype man for Das Racist, a groundbreaking not-at-all-racially-ambiguous rap group, sat down for lunch with The Mash-Up Americans. Me and my brother and another dude were the three people who really made it an issue and forced an apology. There was the classic “Stop being so sensitive, quit being the PC cops.” Basically white guys who were like, “I hate when people complain about racism and I want to say what I want to say.” I expect that and I don’t take it personally. We started out in Jackson Heights, where being white wasn’t a cool thing to be.Despite being self-conscious over using a knife and fork — “Dude, I never used knives growing up. I think he was very briefly in a place called Independence, La., with his brothers. Then he came to New York and lived in Brooklyn Heights and then Elmhurst. My mom came in 1981, and my brother was born in 1982. The thing that I should have expected and will always expect from now on was the huge amount of Indian backlash, which was exactly in line with the mainstream white response. But then we moved deeper into Queens, to Floral Park, which is on the border of Nassau County that was pretty middle-class Jewish at the time.