Pluralistic in nature, the United States has traditionally been a multicultural society with numerous ethnic and racial minorities. In this diverse climate, the emergence of Indian Americans as an ethnic minority group has been a phenomenal one. The term ‘model minority’ (Petersen 1966) has been affixed to the larger Asian American group, resulting in the overwhelming perception that they are educationally and vocationally successful. In the case of the Indian Americans, this is poignantly so. However, there are silent pressures for the silent minority, the major one being intergenerational conflicts.
Indian American parents have high academic and social expectations from their progeny, but existing societal expectations cause cultural conflicts in these students. Major philosophical differences that cause conflicts are parental aspirations, sociocultural practices like parenting styles, marriage and dating, independence and career choice, and those between Indian traditional allocentric values and the idiocentric values espoused by the American society.
This is a part of an ongoing research in NY City, and the qualitative part is reported. Participants were students in USA since at least the first grade; their parents had immigrated to the US at least 10 years ago. Demographic questionnaire semi-structured interviews focused on the values and issues espoused at home and school. The Indian-American Self-Identity Acculturation Scale by Suinn-Lew, was also administered.
The studies revealed that there are conflicts. In reality, there are silent pressures for the silent minority, and the identity is questioned. Caught between high parental expectations and academic pressures, and the existing societal needs, the identity of these youngsters seems to be lost.
|Keywords:||Identity, Intergenerational Conflict, Multicultural|
Associate Professor, Childhood Development, Curriculum & Instruction, Ruth Ammon School of Education, Adelphi University, Glen Cove, New York, USA
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