Life of an Indian Immigrant in the USA | Stereotyping

Slumdog Millionaire ruined it for all of us!

Let us not confuse it with racism – we will talk about it later on in the series. However, Indians are so wrongly stereotyped here – it is funny now. Yes, I am a regionalist when it comes to comparing people from different parts of India. I have stereotyped few, based on large sample size, but I DO NOT make them the base of my conversations! My husband is from Kanpur, and I don’t think I would have ever married him if I imagined that his cheeks are so chubby because they are always filled with pan masala. 

Let me jump straight into the examples of some super condescending yet funny (yes, that is how you have to take them, else survival is mentally taxing) 

  • One of my manicurists asked me that if India has the culture of salons where you can get all beauty services? Yes, Karen, we all live in slums near the railway tracks where we hardly get anything to eat.
  • In their head, we are all poor, like we have lived in the deficiency of all the basic necessities. Yes, a significant population of India is still impoverished – but the portrayal of India by the media is unfortunate.
  • I have been asked thousands of times how my English is good? I grew up in India and went to a school which taught me both English and ‘Hindu’. And this is very surprising for these people! 
  • One of the many facts you will learn about yourself here – Indians speak Indian. Not Indian languages, just ‘Indian’. And also, ‘Hindu’.
  • Complaining about spicy food, as an Indian, in the restaurants here is a sin. Yes, we have been fed curry and only curry while we happily snorted Indian spices.
  • We work in IT. All of us. 
  • Indians are misers. Well, I have talked about it too in this post, but not all of them are! One of the ladies I happen to know here is very annoyed by her Indian neighbours who keep their temperature controller switched off. Now, that is very Indian – switching off the AC to save electricity! 
  • I have been asked n number of times if my marriage was arranged by my husband! Guys, it’s 2020! And well, yes, it still happens. 

These are few of the top- of- mind stereotypes. I, too, have developed some stereotypes about the Americans. Ah well, we shall talk about them some time else! 

Featured Image: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

  1. I faced some too. In my kid’s school, teachers ask how you manage crowd, traffic and over population. But we Indians never felt crowd is the biggest problem ever! Also, many are surprised that we stick to our partner from arranged marriage for so many years.

    1. Yes! I mean sometimes I feel the problems that people talk here about India, they never existed in India we lived in! I so blame the media for this image!

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