Understanding Cultures: South Asian Indian and Hispanic A. Introduction This study is purposely meant to explore and understand the cultures of South Asian Indians and Hispanics to pave the way for a greater appreciation and acceptance of their cultures with the ultimate purpose of making it useful in building a harmonious multi-culturally diverse school and society…
Family is universally accepted as the basic unit of society. Hence in understanding culture, studying family life is important. Specifically, the study centres on family structure, roles, and ideals. Similarly, studying their holidays and festivals is also important, because this manifests their beliefs and values. In fact, holidays which could be religious, political, or cultural in nature are observed because people find some things important, memorable, or sacred on them. The primary interest of the study here is to understand the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ in order to know their beliefs. Lastly, studying their language is also important because this manifests the diversity of the culture and the origin of the people. Here, the study generally centres on the questions of ‘what’, ‘who’, and ‘from where’. B. Two Cultures Studied 1. South Asian Indian Culture India, as described in India’s official government portal, My India My Pride (2012)– a secondary source for the study of the Indian culture – is among the world’s oldest civilizations with rich culture and heritage it has gained from its more than 4000 years of existence. Comprised of 28 states and seven territories, India, according to a secondary source for the study of the Indian culture, Zimmerman (2013), is unsurprisingly South Asia’s largest single nation. Its society is sharply hierarchical, known for its caste system. Hierarchy, as explained by Jacobson (2004) – the primary source for the study of the Indian culture, is determined mainly by gender and age. Hence, the male is higher than the female and the older male is higher than the younger male. Hierarchy is very evident not only in caste groups but even in family and kinship groups. It is based on this hierarchy that family members are accorded with respect. The high regard of Indian family in hierarchy makes family in India more fascinating. Family life. Traditional Indian family structure is best described as closely knitted, extended, and patriarchal. Indians regard the family to mean not only the father, mother, and siblings as commonly understood, but also their grandparents with all of them living under the same roof, working, sharing common income, eating, celebrating, and worshipping together. As the family further expands they divide into smaller units and become joint families continuing the same patterns of family life. (Jacobson, 2004) The father heads the family. This does not simply mean that the father is the bread-winner of the family. Rather to Indians, this also means that the male family member sustains the extended family. Hence, a married Indian male brings home his wife to be part of his natal household. Thus, the wife has to live with her in-laws together with her children. This also means that the transition of leadership goes from the father to the eldest son, and not to the mother. While the eldest male heads the family, his wife is in-charged to supervise their daughters-in-law and younger children. Thus, the older generation takes good care of the younger generation, which the latter repays in return. Such family roles put boys at higher esteem than girls. Besides, marriage in Indians is traditionally decided by the socio-economic status of the girl. (Jacobson, ...
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