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Indian vs. American Cultural Heritage and Traditions Essay

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Updated: Jun 6th, 2021

Introduction

There is hardly any society that would be composed of people belonging to only one ethnicity. Usually, the representatives of different races and nationalities enter countries that are not their native, adding diversity to the homogeneous people of that state. However, irrespective of where one lives, cultural heritage and traditions are highly crucial for everyone. Even after settling in a foreign country, people tend to support their own values and combine them with those of the new location.

Main body

I was born and raised in India, so this country’s traditions occupy a rather significant place in my life. I am thirty-four years old, and I have two siblings: an elder sister aged thirty-seven and a younger brother aged twenty-two. Our family may be characterized as belonging to a middle-class. My mother and father, who are sixty-nine and seventy, respectfully, had moderate-income upon completing higher education. Everyone in the family has a traditional sexual orientation, and no one has disabilities. As children, we were raised in an atmosphere of love. At the same time, our parents taught us to be respectful toward older people and national culture.

We all believe in and follow the Hindu religion, which worships Krishna as the highest deity. Our family is highly spiritual, and we always observe the national holidays of India. One of the most important ideas of Hinduism is karma, the concept which presupposes that there is a close association between one’s past actions and present well-being. Also, we believe in reincarnation: the idea that after death, one’s soul reappears in a different shape and body. Depending on one’s karma, this may be the body of good or bad nature. In Hinduism, we have high and low realms in which the person’s soul exists between reincarnations.

The aspect that makes me most proud of my cultural heritage is that no matter how far away from our native country we are, we can always find an opportunity to gather and practice our religion. I know many Indian families living in the USA, and we frequently meet to celebrate some holidays and offer any help to one another. I think that this feeling of belongingness is what makes me happy about being Indian.

While I support my culture’s values, I never miss an opportunity to learn something about other nations’ traditions. Before moving to the USA, I heard much about this country’s cultural background. I learned that its culture was primarily Western, but it had also been affected by a variety of social and cultural features brought to it by numerous immigrants. The USA’s religion is known to be highly diverse, the major trends being Catholicism, Christianity, Protestantism, and Baptism. I heard that Americans were open-minded and easily engaged in activities aimed at defending their opinions or rights. When I came to this country, I realized that everything I had heard was true, but there were also many other aspects that I discovered.

Comparing my family values with ethnicities differing from mine, I could conclude that each of them has some peculiarities, but there are also aspects in common for all people. We have become close friends with some American and Chinese families here. The things that are strikingly different include religion, food, national holidays, relationships between family members, and some personal characteristic features.

For instance, in our family, the father always makes major decisions, while in our American friends’ family, everyone’s voice has equal importance. In our Chinese friends’ home, the last word also belongs to the father. Americans prefer going out to eat, buy cooked meals, or order something from delivery services. Meanwhile, the Chinese and Indians enjoy cooking traditional meals at home and eating together.

What is common among the three families in question is their view on the role of education. In all of the three families, parents believe that children need to obtain high education so that they could provide for themselves later. However, the opinion on children’s gratitude differs in each family. Our American friends do not practice very close ties between parents and children. After graduating from school, their son went to college and then university and has hardly ever visited his parents since. Meanwhile, in Chinese friends’ family, as well as in ours, it is a common practice when children help their parents financially when the latter are too old to provide for or look after themselves.

Media coverage is one of the most powerful sources affecting various cultures’ perceptions. The concept of mediatization occupies a significant place in building the relationship between media, society, and culture (Hepp, Hjarvard, & Lundby, 2015). From my experience of American media coverage of immigrants from India, I can notice that it encourages some stereotyping and discrimination of my nation’s representatives.

Frequently, Indian men and women are pictured as not capable of performing work requiring special skills or education. The image of Indian females is most often perceived through TV series, which present a wrong portrayal (Somani & Doshi, 2016). Meanwhile, a study on Indian employees reveals that these workers are not void of professional qualities and are good at communicating in workplace environments (Pooja & Kumar, 2016). Thus, it is crucial to encourage US media to stop portraying Indian immigrants in an unpleasant light. That way, people who have Indian ethnicity will stop being judged by stereotypes and will start being valued for their professional qualities and knowledge.

Those who manage work in multicultural working environments need to implement effective inclusion strategies to moderate the impact of media on workers and promote inclusion in the workplace. The primary approach for managers to use is getting rid of unconscious bias and evaluating people not for their nationality but for achievements and dedication (Boekhorst, 2014). Rather than suppressing inclusion initiatives, a good leader supports them, which leads to arranging a suitable working environment for every employee. By creating an atmosphere where every worker feels belongingness to the organization, a manager will eliminate communication problems, and the company’s work will become more efficient (Boekhorst, 2014).

Another viable solution is arranging cultural venues for the organization’s employees. Research indicates that people who feel like valuable members of the firm and know that their efforts are appreciated tend to perform better and gain more productive results (Brimhall et al., 2016). The possibility to exchange cultural experiences will allow people from different backgrounds to feel needed and interesting in their colleagues. Such events will increase the level of understanding and trust among workers and will decrease the negative effect created by media.

Conclusion

People from different ethnic groups can and should cooperate on a regular basis without being afraid of prejudices or misunderstandings. Being an immigrant from India, I realize that some of the American citizens may feel skeptical about my skills and treat me with bias. However, I believe that inclusion strategies at a workplace can eliminate negative issues among employees. I feel proud of having Indian heritage, but at the same time, I am happy to live in the USA. Successful management approaches are needed to make any person feel safe and comfortable at work.

References

Boekhorst, J. (2014). The role of authentic leadership in fostering workplace inclusion: A social information processing perspective. Human Resource Management, 54(2), 241-264.

Brimhall, K. C., Barak, M. E. M., Hurlburt, M., McArdle, J. J., Palinkas, L., & Henwood, B. (2016). Increasing workplace inclusion: The promise of leader-member exchange. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance, 41(3), 222-239.

Hepp, A., Hjarvard, S., & Lundby, K. (2015). Mediatization: Theorizing the interplay between media, culture and society. Media, Culture & Society, 37(2), 314-324.

Pooja, P., & Kumar, P. (2016). Demographic variables and its effect on emotional intelligence: A study on Indian service sector employees. Annals of Neurosciences, 23(1), 18-24.

Somani, I. S., & Doshi, M. J. (2016). “That’s not real India”: Responses to women’s portrayals in Indian soap operas. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 40(3), 203-231.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Indian vs. American Cultural Heritage and Traditions." June 6, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/indian-vs-american-cultural-heritage-and-traditions/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Indian vs. American Cultural Heritage and Traditions'. 6 June.

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