OVERCOMING STEREOTYPES

Overcoming Stereotypes

My African-American father told me that while a I was dating my Indian boyfriend, Sachin that he may evolve.  Evolve how? He may become militant/domineering, expect me to be subservient, and want me to cook Indian food daily after we are married.

At the last statement, I almost choked on the gum I was chewing as I started to laugh hysterically.  You know the laugh that ensues  when something is so funny to you that you laugh and you cry at the same time. Yes that was this laugh.

My dad asked me what was so funny as he started to laugh too. I told him after catching my breath that although Sachin is Indian he was raised in the U.S.  Yes he did grow up eating Indian food daily while living with his parents, however, he has been exposed to other cuisines and he loves them all.  He is a true “FOODIE” that can sit in front of the TV and watch the food network all day long.  The only cuisine that I knew he could exclusively eat daily given his fondness for the food is Mexican food.

DISBANDING STEREOTYPES

My dad then said, “well that is what I’ve heard Nikita” and I retorted dad those are all stereotypes. Akin to the stereotype that all black people love watermelon, crap.  I then told my dad that once you get to know Sachin you will find that all those ideas are the furthest from the truth.  My dad agreed to find out for himself with an overly protective and non-optimist shrug.
Was he right about Sachin?  No
Did he overcome these stereotypes that he applied to Sachin just for being Indian?  Yes!

If so, how did he overcome these stereotypes?
He simply got to know Sachin better by spending time with him and us as a couple.  And also by meeting Sachin’s family in the U.S.  In time, my dad even told Sachin jokingly that he had stereotypical thoughts of him early on and knew he was wrong.
Has Sachin changed since marriage?  No, he is still the same.

What are other tools for overcoming stereotypes like these outside of being aware they exist?
Here are 4 additional tools we’ve used to diffuse and overcome stereotypes:
1.) Get to know someone of the ethnicity via work, school etc;
2.) Read books about the culture;
3.) Get exposed/join social media platforms that cultivate awareness on this subject;
4.) Travel. Traveling helps you see the world in a bigger picture instead of the myopic box that stereotypes live in.

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    This was my mom when the discussion came to marrying someone from her own culture. While stereotypes exist and some people seem to live to them, it’s usually just on the surface. People are far more than their stereotype. They have to be! So glad your dad took the time to get to know him and I love your tips on how to help make that happen.

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