Is it true? Nope. Not at all. What some people don't understand is that American culture, like many other "western" cultures is not void of cultural aspects at all. They are just different from desi culture. The most simple way to put this is that desi culture is eccentric while many western cultures are just the opposite.
Let's compare and contrast some of the differences:
|Mixes bright colors||Mixes monochrome tones|
|prints are common||solid colors are common|
|playing loud music is common||has laws against loud music|
|Arranged marriages are prevalent||Love marriages are prevalent|
|People are greeted based on their religion||People are greeted in similar manner without religious affiliation|
|Believe in using spices for health benefits||Believe spices incite specific feelings|
|The concept of ahimsa/tolerance||believe in fighting for basic individual rights|
|More apt to speak negatively, rarely smile||Generally always positive, smiling, etc.|
|Has a heirarchy system among all citizens||Believes in equality regardless of social status|
|Respect is demanded based on relation and social standing||Respect is mutual - you get as much as you give|
|Overt caste system||Implied caste system|
|Family oriented||Goal oriented|
|Tasks are completed hastily and often in the spur of the moment||Tasks are planned and organized|
|Prefers stability||Prefer mobility|
|People rely on others for most things in life||People are independent and self-reliant|
|Do not live by the clock||Consider time as a valuable commodity|
|Are highly competitive in all aspects of life||Somewhat competitive but more concerned with fulfilling their own needs rather than beating others|
|Prefer verbal communication||Prefer written communications|
And now let's look at some similarities:
- Both countries are structured on religious principles and concepts.
- Both have stories and folklore used to teach and raise children with societal values.
- Both have specific cuisine shaped by the immigrants that have come to the country. (Indian spices originated from Portuguese cuisine and a lot of American foods come from Dutch influence for example.)
- Art is shaped by the human mind and reflects a lifetime of learning from the environments around them. Thus India's artwork centers on Hinduism and festivals often and American art centers around the Christian church or the battle of good vs. evil in both countries.
- Both have media that misreprents the majority of the country, it's lifestyle, etc. in the interest of becoming popular with others or inciting strong and exaggerated emotion in the people.
- Both have developed and augmented their languages over time with words from foreign languages.
- Both have specific styles of dance that are unique to the country (both historic and modern)
- Both have an unspoken North/South divide
- Both have extremely diverse demographics
I've both seen and heard that it is very easy for an Indian to integrate into American culture because of the similarities I listed and also because our differences are not difficult to adjust to. What is your thoughts on that? Has your desi partner had difficulty adjusting to life here? With what aspects?
Are you Indian? Did you have trouble adjusting to American culture? What are some cultural aspects that you prefer about American culture?
For my pardesi readers, what things did you find easy to adjust to in Indian culture? What are some cultural aspects you prefer about Indian culture?
Those of you married to or from other desi cultures, what are some differences you noticed and were they easy to adjust to?
Share your thoughts in the comments!