5 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SOUTH ASIANS/INDIANS DEBUNKED
It’s almost humorous that I’m writing this post. However, it has become justifiable. And hopefully it will be eye opening for many of you that are curious and/or open to learning more about South Asian/Indian culture. I know you must be thinking, say what? What happened?
BEING A MULTIRACIAL AND MULTICULTURAL FAMILY
As a multiracial and multicultural family (African-American and South Asian), I want to say that we thought we had heard it all when it comes to: race, ethnicity, and culture, but unfortunately we hadn’t. What am I talking about? Since starting this blog we have heard a plethora of notions and ideas about South Asians/Indians that are just unfounded. Yes, plainly put hysterical, sad, and at times down right ignorant comments.
Hence, I aspire for this post to provide a bit more clarity on South Asians/Indians and to debunk some of the preconceived ideas too. Here are our top 5 misconceptions about South Asians/Indians debunked!
5 MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SOUTH ASIANS/INDIANS DEBUNKED
1.) Misconception: All South Asians/Indian people are the same.
Truth: No, South Asians/Indians are a diverse population of people with differences in food, clothing, traditions, language, religion etc.
“The culture of Asia is diverse. The different kinds of cultural heritage of many nationalities, societies, and ethnic groups in the continent of Asia. The continent is more commonly divided into more natural geographic and cultural sub regions, including Central Asia, East Asia, North Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia. Culturally, there has been little unity or common history for many of the cultures and peoples of Asia. Asian art, music, and cuisine, as well as literature, are important parts of Asian culture. Eastern philosophy and religion also plays a major role, with Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam all playing major roles.”
2.) Misconception: India is its own continent. India is in the Middle East or Africa, right?
Truth: No, India is a country not a continent. India is located in Asia, South Asia to be exact. Hence the term South Asian is used for Indians that reside in or that are from India. For some reason, per a CNN report 70% of Americans don’t know that India is in Asia.
“India, officially the Republic of India (Bhārat Gaṇarājya), is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country (with over 1.2 billion people), and the most populous democracy in the world. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast. It shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Myanmar and Bangladesh to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives. India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.” Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India
3.) Misconception: All South Asian/Indian women and children wear head coverings.
Truth: Head Covering are primarily worn by South Asian/Indian brides on their wedding day. “The covering of one’s hair is considered as a mark of respect for a married women. Married women, depending on their family background, religion etc use a ghoonghat or head veil in front of elder male members of the family. In very traditional and rural areas, women use their sari to completely cover the face and neck, concealing their identity to males.”
Children do not cover their heads. In my husband’s family (his family is Hindu) head coverings are not worn daily.
4.) Misconception: South Asians/Indian women wear mehendi everyday.
Truth: Mehndi is the art of painting the body in ornate designs with henna. Henna is a dye that comes from the plant, Lawsonia inermis. “Mehndi, is traditionally worn by a South Asian/Indian bride and her family and friends on her wedding day. It is not worn daily and takes a lot of work to do and waiting for it to dry.”
“Associated with transformation and transcendence, Mehndi is a beautiful and mysterious art form
that has been used for centuries to heal, to adorn and to bless. A paste is made from the crushed leaves of the henna plant mixed with other natural ingredients, such as eucalyptus oil, lemon juice, and black tea. The paste is applied to the skin,
and when removed several hours later, it leaves beautiful markings that last from 1 to 3 weeks.”
5.) Misconception: All South Asians/Indians are vegetarian.
Truth: More South Asians/Indians are non-vegetarian than vegetarian. “According to the 2006 Hindu-CNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey, 31% of Indians are vegetarian, while another 9% also consume eggs (ovo-vegetarian). Among the various communities, vegetarianism was most common among the Lingayat, Vaishnav Community, Jain community and then Brahmins at 55%, and less frequent among Muslims (3%) and residents of coastal states. Other surveys cited by FAO and USDA estimate 40% of the Indian population as being vegetarian.”
What misconceptions have you heard about South Asians/Indians? Feel free to comment below! Like our content? Subscribe! Have a question for us? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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