I am asking some of you old timers, the Gen-Xers, to take a breath and see how far things have come. When we were kids our parents forced us to be doctors or engineers. When I have a kid I am going to force him/her to be a governor.
—Abhi, blogger for Sepia Mutiny
Do cultural identity and role models have a different form between generations? I had to wonder after reading this article from The New York Times about Indians in U.S. politics. Nikki Haley, the Republican nominee for governor of South Carolina, and Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, are both of Indian descent. They both converted to Christianity in their early 20s. Governor Jindal changed his first name from Piyush to Bobby, after the Brady Bunch character.
The reaction is mixed within the Indian community. Many are asking whether they should celebrate the increased visibility of Indian Americans within politics, or lament their conversions that mask or downplay their South Asian heritage.
But Abhi’s quote above might point to a difference in generations. It seems the younger generation of Indian Americans views their identity as diverse and more fluid. Thus, they are more willing to revel in similarities, whereas the older generation might be more rigid in their definitions of identity. What do you think?
Shubha Bala, associate producer