In an earlier post dated: “Desi Love…or Lack Thereof”, I posited a great many questions arising from various interactions that I have had with Indians. In response to my post, one of my new pals posted some of her thoughts about the situation. And in the spirit of great minds, I say, let’s keep the conversation going!
R, I agree that there is a strong drive, perhaps unconscious, to “fit in” when people from other countries emigrate to these here United States. It is quite natural to want to blend in and not make any waves when you go somewhere new, especially a country that is populated by nearly every culture in the world. And so it makes sense that immigrants, especially those from the Asian subcontinent, would want to ascribe to mainstream beliefs, including those that denigrate certain people.
However, in attempting to fit in, one often has to shave away and mold one’s beliefs to those of the dominant culture. This is sometimes a very good thing, as in the case of men who are raised to see woman as bed-warming, baby-popping, soup-cooking, house-cleaning mules to be seen, never heard and often smacked around as the situation deems fit. However, in other cases, it’s worse as in the case of my young friend and his family. Perhaps if I had been the stranger in India, his parents would still have forbidden us to play but I don’t have that psychic ability to predict the could-haves and if-onlys. What I do have is the experience of blatant disregard for another person’s humanity. Much like you have of the little blond girls who decided you weren’t worth respecting. Why did the turbaned Sikh have his culture shredded? I don’t know.
And R, this brings an interesting point which was so aptly portrayed in the movie “Crash”. If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend it as a holiday break must-see! There is a scene in which a Persian store-owner is insulted by a white gun-shop owner and eventually roughed up when he and his daughter go to buy a gun that he plans to keep in his store for protection. You can imagine the type of insults that flew there! But before you know it, you are presented with another scene in which the Persian store-keeper insults a Hispanic locksmith when the locksmith informs him that though the lock has been changed, he will have to find a new door. Because the Persian does not completely understand English, he begins disrespecting the Hispanic locksmith who in turn tries to be civil but is met with shouting and insults. The Hispanic man, tired of being yelled at, yells back that he needs to fix the door and then throws away the receipt–telling the storekeeper that he won’t even charge him.
It is marvelous scene given what we know of the Persian’s prior interactions. It would seem that the dumped upon turn around and dump on others. Perhaps that is what it is all about? The big monkey beating the middle monkey who turning around smacks and steals the banana from the little monkey? The turbaned and bearded Sikh tells his son he can not play with the little black girl because of what she represents?
Or is more that within the Indian psyche is this almost obsession with the superficial? With the way something represents itself–with ’saving face’? Beauty/power/success is found within the white? The engagement parties that cost a year’s wages? Or the weddings where fathers, uncles and brothers bankrupt themselves so their daughters, nieces and sisters won’t be ashamed and the mothers demand lavish spectacles of gold and silk sarees? Now Rekha, with that concept; am I walking on hot coals? After all, who am I to cast aspersions on the entire country?
Well, who cares if I am walking on hot coals? I am calling it as I see it…what do you think? What does anyone who reads this entry think? A little conversation is good for the soul…