Culture Clash

Tara Geigel, Staff Writer

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Growing up watching horrible Bollywood films to dramatic novelas, I’m proud to say I’m of two completely different cultures. There are also times where I didn’t belong to either group. The worst part is having to deal with the stereotypes associated with being both Indian and Puerto Rican.

These are several stereotypes my own friends had assumed about me.

  1. “You must be really good at math”

Reality: NO I’M NOT. Math is seriously my weak subject and it’s annoying when people assume I’m a human calculator because I’m Asian.

  1. “OMG can you speak Indian?”

Reality: I usually have nothing to say to this simply because that’s not even a language. I try to forgive people’s ignorance when it comes to that but it’s still annoying.

  1. “Let’s give Tara the spiciest food because she’s used to it!”

Reality: Seriously. One of my best friends asked me this and I was about to disown her. Just because I’m Indian doesn’t mean I even like the food because I don’t.

Those are just several comments I get on a regular basis and have become immune to it by now. I used to hate being two different cultures because I never felt like I belonged to either of them. But over time, I’ve learned to embrace the two diverse cultures I grew up in. Plus, this helped me to widen my perspective on so much more.

Perks of being multi-cultural.

  1. Bollywood.

Have you ever watched a Bollywood film? If not, you need to watch one, it’s hilarious. Many Indian movies are blatant rip offs of Hollywood films. BUT the best part of the movie is the song-and-dance sequences that literally come out of nowhere. While the films are lengthy, it’s still a treat to watch the ridiculous stunts and music.

2. Indian Weddings.

I can’t even describe how insane these events are. For starters, the wedding usually stretches to three days if not more. The ceremony is beautiful (even though I’m clueless through most of it) but the best part is the party. I’m not a fan of the food but the desserts are to die for. My favorite part is guessing whose getting married next. The only annoying part is having to hear from various family members about having an arranged marriage because that’s just backward and I’m not into Hindu to begin with. Overall, the experience is amazing especially being surrounded by the sweet cadence of Hindi and seeing family from all over the world.

3. Learning Different Languages.

Growing up, my parents didn’t speak their respective language to me so I actually taught myself through osmosis on how to speak both Spanish and Hindi (okay, my Hindi isn’t great but I’m working on it). With Spanish high on the list of spoken languages in America, I’m able to have more job opportunities being bilingual. The best part of knowing how to speak Spanish is that no one knows I’m mixed so they never know that I’m actually eavesdropping when they speak in rapid fire Espanol so I always get to hear hot gossip.

4. Wider Perspective.

Growing up in two different cultures awarded me with a wider view of life. I know some people may have difficulties connecting to others outside their ethnicity. Luckily, I’m able to be more open minded when it comes to connecting to others of different cultures and their view on things.

Despite all these amazing pros of being mixed race, I still struggle with figuring out how to identify myself. Am I more Indian or Puerto Rican? Or none? I simply consider myself American. My Indian side freaked out when they found out I have several piercing and tattoos since that didn’t fit their mold of the ‘perfect Indian daughter’. My Puerto Rican side thinks I need to more outspoken. Personally, I don’t care about fitting in a certain way to please my parents. I’m extremely comfortable being mixed and definitely wouldn’t change it.