Since I’ve briefly wrote on an experience a couple months back (can be read by clicking here), I’ve been purpose-driven to tackle the barriers put in front of myself and future first and second- generation individuals.
I’ve grown to realize when working in organizations, it’s tough for individuals like myself to stand up for ourselves and what we believe in due to certain gaps – cultural, generational, egotistical, etc.
Whenever I work or volunteer for an organization, I contribute my skills and my experiences in a professional matter. Since that incident, I’ve been working to stand up for what I believe in (in this instance, it would be the organization’s mission), and working diligently without hesitation.
I have openly disclosed that being a South Indian First-Generation American has it’s struggles. I’ve spoken about the temporal and spatial difficulties we face and how effort is somewhat required to balance a foot in each world. The world “bi-cultural” has been thrown around to describe this group, which is accurate, but not as simple as it sounds. Indian and American cultures do not come together neatly in every way, and even as someone that confronts both Indian and American culture in everyday life, I find that I, more or less subconsciously, try to compartmentalize those two parts of my identity rather than integrate them…
So, why is it so hard to stand up for myself? As a young woman, it’s dawning on me that it’s not just in the American society where I have to work to prove my worth, but my very own cultural society. It’s discouraging when you pour your heart and soul only to be disrespected and disregarded.
As a woman, Indian-American identity can be even more difficult to negotiate, because we are often expected to be a protectors and defenders of Indian culture – traditional, religious, modest, even submissive. I’m fortunate enough to have a relatively progressive family and community, and I rarely encounter outright sexism, but I still experience it subtly on both the “American” and “Indian” fronts.
First/Second-generation girls and women experience the cultural battle more potently than anyone, as they have been raised in a public sphere that experienced Second-Wave feminism, and simultaneously raised in a private sphere where they are expected to embody traditional Indian femininity.
Well, to answer the question posed – it is because of lack of support and/or responsibility of those whom I associate myself with. I, for some reason, have relied on individuals from both cultural norms to back me up on my stances and beliefs in hopes to make a point. In waiting, it was almost as if I was literally keeping my mouth and mind shut.
Enough is Enough.
This will no longer be the case. No longer will myself and other First/Second Generation ABPDs be silenced. We will stand up for what we believe in because we carry self-respect, we carry confidence, we carry world-view points that will challenge whatever less than admirable thoughts you may have. We are not push-overs, we are strong, passionate and independent. We are ABPD’s.