To Be Or Not To Be An ‘ABCD’

Let’s make things official by saying…this is the first ‘official’ post of this blog/journal/rant place that I have constructed.

Now that that’s out of the way…let us dive in to what really matters.

What does it mean to be an ‘ABCD?’ The literal translation of the phonetic letters is an ‘American Born Confused Desi.’ This term seemed to be coined as a derogatory term for Indian children who act more American rather than being true to their Indian roots. How I see it is that the first generation born child of Indian immigrant parents go through an identity crisis. I recall growing up, my parents being immigrants from South India did not really know how the educational system was here, or much about America in general. It was up to me as a first generation American Born Malayalee/Desi to discover what it was and face whatever was put in front of me, without any real guidance. Yet, the trust conflict was that my parents, wanted me to be the traditional Indian girl they desired, however, if I were to be what my parents desired, the kids at school would question me or mock me.

Do not get me wrong here, my parents are the people who have raised me to be the woman I am today, but there is that generation gap that needs to be understood from both parties, and as a child growing up, this may feel a bit overwhelming. A child during the younger phases of life needs those closest in their life to be understanding and comprehending. It is indeed the most crucial time for shaping their identities which is to discover the purpose and meaning of one’s unique self. To comprehend what you are as an individual, along with what it means to have another cultures tradition rooted in oneself may cause a sense of confusion for the child. If one is feeling that they have no one to really relate to, to look up to, to have the open communication amongst another (hopefully within your own family), one will slowly start to lose themselves in society, hence why the term ‘ABCD’ has been formed.

When it comes to culture and diversity, it is not just the mere idea of being inclusive to one another, but rather, to encourage competency amongst those growing up in a multi-cultural environment. This begins with our leaders, our communities and organizations to take responsibility in regards to creating an aura of acceptance and comfort to each individual on this planet.

To start, we must first differentiate as to what is culture and what is diversity as they are often times intertwined with each other. Culture is to be defined as, “The beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time.” This means that culture is along the lines of customary beliefs, as well as materialistic traits of racial religious or social groups. Basically it may be defined as a shared set of values and goals. With diversity, its relatively along the same lines, however it is precisely known in being; “The state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.” It may also be known as the various forms, types, ideas, uniqueness that one may have to offer (Merriam Webster). As you can see, these two terms coincide with each other for the very reason that it deals with the term ‘uniqueness’-a person whom is perhaps a shade lighter than the next is considered ‘unique’ or ‘diverse’ because they are different. They stand out. That is what diversity means, and when cultures are looked into, we consider cultures as something very new and unique to the world.

I shall end with the question as to what you believe needs to change with the term ‘ABCD’… what about culture and diversity has intrigued you and how has it affected your life? What change do you believe needs to happen in our world today?



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