Cultural Diversity in the US: Indian Perspective

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Culture refers to the complex accumulation of knowledge that takes a long time to develop. Culture is the accumulation of characteristics of a group of people defined by things such as religion, lifestyle, and language. Human beings cannot survive without being in a cultural group because they need some minimal interaction with others. Culture is collectively a way of life of the human members of the cultural group. Culture impacts people’s life and the way they act and behave. Culture can be impacted by the environment, which means that the way of life changes as the environment around the society member changes. Therefore, culture gives human beings uniqueness. I am interested in learning about different cultures in the world because some cultures are really interested to learn and practice when needed. I believe that everybody needs to know more about other culture, not only their own but also other cultures. When somebody travels to another country and does something that might seems abnormal to the people of the country, but to the person its normal.

The culture in America is extremely different from India. The values, the relationships between people especially within the family, people’s mindsets, their dressing sense, and the cuisine obviously. People in India are very family oriented. They live with their families until they’re married, and most guys live with them after that as well. The idea of “moving out at 18” was completely new for her. The way they interact with people is also quite different. For instance, interactions between guys and girls are much more restricted in public in India. Even schooling was different in a sense that here they care more about getting a basic and strong foundation on every topic. In India, they’re supposed to know everything in detail which often leads to a basic understanding.

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My uncle came to America in the 1980 and sponsored for all his brother and sisters. He filled for us in 1995 and we got visa our in 2011. We came to America in 2012. It was extremely different when we first moved here. Although we speak English, it was quite difficult to grasp the accent, especially when people speak really quickly. I was able find friends quickly, as I we went to a diverse school back home. Yet at the same time, I felt as though I was confined to just that group of people because I wasn’t comfortable talking in front of others as I was conscious about their English skills. I dressed a bit more modest than most of my peers which also added to the sense of ‘difference’. It was difficult for me to adjust to a new school at first. I hated going to school and not knowing how things work and embarrassing myself due to that. However, living in a diverse environment really helped overcome this struggle. Quickly, I met people who belonged to my culture and my religion, who helped me transition into this new culture. Since my teachers were accustomed to dealing with a diverse crowd of people, they were extremely welcoming and accommodating, which made the transition even easier. However, I realized this may not be the case for most people. For instance, my parents had a harder time adjusting here and finding a job. However, the diverse environment at the school and in the community provided me a smoother experience. After being placed in ELL courses, I took advantage of every opportunity that I got to prove to my teachers that I was capable of enrolling into the mainstream courses. I dedicated hours towards excelling every assignment, personally talked to them on a daily basis, and within 2 weeks, I made it happen! This journey from ELL to AP Literature has taught me more than 4 years of schooling.

I grew up in an area of India, which was quite secluded. The people of that place were so sheltered, that every citizen was immune to any kind of outside influence. They adopted their own culture. I was Fifteen when me and my family moved to Chicago. It was the evening of October 31st, widely known as Halloween. Growing up in India, I was completely unaware of the culture and absolutely clueless as to why people were dressed up in peculiar costumes and constantly ringing the doorbell. My parents were out to get some necessary supplies, so I was left alone with my sister, who was even more bewildered and petrified. We spent much of the evening huddled together under the bed, with all the lights off, completely terrified. Later, we decided that we should open the door, just to check if it was our parents. To our utter surprise, there were kids our age, yelling “Trick or Treat”, holding out a bag full of candies. She thought this was their way of welcoming her to the new neighborhood. Later when I asked my cousins about it they explained to me about Halloween and what people does.

I had to Interview Angela and compared my culture. I have noticed her culture is similar to mine as we do similar activities in our daily lives. We essentially follow the same routine – wake up, work out, shower, go to school or work, homework, cook dinner, study or relax, and sleep. My mom has always put a big emphasis on health and fitness so I grew up with that and now value that as well and make it a priority. She always wake up at 5am and go for workout I also started going with her when I worked for a couple years after college. It’s definitely a daily activity in some shape or form. The main difference I have noticed in my religion and her religion is eating religious restrictions what we eat. Muslims not allowed to drink alcohol as it is prohibited according to our faith. Also We don’t eat pork and we are not allowed to eat all kind of meat we specifically eat halal meat. Comparing to catholic religion they don’t have any restrictions except during lent. During Lent they don’t eat meat on Fridays and fast on good Friday and Ash Wednesday. Angela doesn’t follow these rules super closely.

Family is important in everyones lives. I have a joint family my dad has three brothers and three sisters. We all used to stay in one house when we were in india. It’s important to have a family because you learn a lot from your family. Family supports you for everything even if we achieve something small or big they are always there for you in a bad time and good time. I have noticed same thing with Angela for her family is more important. She has 2 brothers including her they are three. Both her parents work full time. She is really closed to her parents and brothers. Her mom worked and helped her dad through law school and they switched when he graduated and started working. She is really close with extended family like cousins aunts uncles, second cousins.

  • Thanksgiving – my great aunt and uncle (who is a deacon) rent out their church hall and everyone on my mom’s side brings a dish. This is the biggest holiday we celebrate because everyone comes in from out of town and they don’t always for Christmas. They have been going to the same church hall (because there are so many of us, we won’t fit in one house) since before I was born.
  • Christmas Eve – go over to one of my dad’s relative’s houses or we have people at our house. It switches every year whose house we go to.
  • Christmas – spent with immediate family (parents and brothers). My mom makes French toast casserole every year and we open presents. Then we go to my aunt’s house on my mom’s side for a little and then go home. Sometimes we see a movie after.
  • Easter – we don’t usually do anything to celebrate, we used to go on vacation when all the kids would be on school breaks.
  • Saint Patrick’s Day – I grew up in Cleveland and this is a huge parade and celebration on SPD. Cleveland has a ton of Irish Catholics (like myself, but they’re more Irish even) so it is really fun. We always had off school and would go to the parade.
  • Ramadan is a Muslim culture we fast 30 days we eat before sunrise and eat after sunset and after 30 days we celebrate Eid. On eid day we wear new clothes and my mom cook variety of dishes and desserts. We go to my cousins house and greet them Eid Mubarak and eat dessert. We all meet at our house and eat dinner together and give each other gifts.

To conclude, by comparing two different cultures, Indian and Catholic, I recognize that there are some similarities and differences between our cultures. The ways we practice our daily lifestyle and rules seems close but religion and language made us different from each other. The thing was interesting to me the holidays, I got to know how holidays are celebrated differently from what I have been seen in the USA.

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