What are the challenges of first generation South Asians?


Hi, Hi, Favorite South Asian chick over here. I feel like I am finally getting my shit together after the holidays only to lose it again because my bestie is coming to town for New Years! I was in Vegas last year for New Years and didn’t really think I could top it this year. But Tara coming to town probably will. First, ATL is LIT (insert fire emoji), IDGAF what anyone says. Second, TARA IS LIT AF. We grew up together and went our separate ways as adults, so we are just getting to know each other as adults. She came down for my birthday in June and really brought the party. She is super cute, super crazy and super fun. In addition, she is an #OG YouTube queen. Maybe I can convince her to shoot a viddy with me.

I was lucky to have Tara as a best friend growing up because she loved all things Indian and zealously participated in them with me. I don’t know how I would have overcome the challenge of assimilating into my American environment with a South Asian upbringing otherwise. Having a best friend to share both worlds with definitely made my life more fun and my mother’s determination to teach me Indian culture successful. In my opinion, the top three challenges any first generation South Asian faces are: choosing a profession, choosing a partner and balancing both cultures.

Choosing a Profession

Every first generation South Asian faces immense challenges personally and professionally. My top challenge growing up was picking a profession. All I saw around me where people becoming Doctors, Engineers, Accountants, Business owners and Lawyers. My desire to become a writer was always met with, “Unless you become the next JK Rowling, you won’t make a living.” UMMM… false. It wasn’t until I graduated college I realized there is a whole world out there for every “creative” profession where you can make a decent living. My ex’s sister went into fashion merchandising because her father exposed her to that industry. It wasn’t until I experienced this that I wondered…what all could we do if we were exposed to other opportunities? It’s not our parent’s fault, most didn’t know much beyond the five professions listed above. I can’t wait to foster my kids’ creativity one day and be able to guide them to create a career they can love.

Choosing a Partner

Deepa Berar and I did a hilarious podcast on whether or not as a brown chick we can date without thinking about marriage. My answer was and is no. Now more so because I am 27 and she does not have time to play, no she DOES NOT. But before, I couldn’t get what had been ingrained in me since birth out of my head long enough to NOT think about marriage. I JUST overcame the ultimate challenge and told my family that I will do things my way and be my own person when picking a partner. Honestly, I’ve only ever been attracted to brown guys and Jamie Foxx (but that’s neither here nor there). At 27, I don’t know who else I would be attracted to physically, emotionally and spiritually. It will be interesting to see what life has for me. And then there is caste, religion and language that often serves as a barrier to falling in love. Know you are not alone and it’s only as complicated as you make it. Whether you marry a brown person or not…do YOU.

Balancing Both Cultures

I could write a book on this..maybe I will? I can’t count the amount of times I’ve told my mother, “If you didn’t want me to be American, you should not have had me here.” It’s a challenge assimilating to both worlds and it never feels like you’re enough. But here’s the thing..you don’t “have to” be anything or anyway to be either South Asian or American. You are who you are and your values are what they are. To a certain extent, core values are universal so as long as you focus on being a good human…the rest follows suit. Your environment subconsciously plays a role so no matter what you will be as desi as your environment. You can run but you can’t hide…I’ve tried, LOL.

I leave you with this DO YOU and just trust that both worlds will love you <3

Happy almost New Years (or New Yasss as Tara says),

Xoxo Pri

What’s your top challenge being a first generation South Asian? Comment on my insta. Let’s Chat.

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