Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and by Sharmila Rudrappa

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By Sharmila Rudrappa

How does an immigrant turn into an ethnic American? And does American society essentially regulate due to those newcomers?In Ethnic Routes to turning into American, Sharmila Rudrappa examines the trails South Asian immigrants in Chicago take towards assimilation within the past due twentieth-century usa, the place deliberations on citizenship rights are replete with the politics of popularity. She takes us within ethnic associations, a battered women’s look after, Apna Ghar, and a cultural association, the Indo American heart, to teach how immigrant activism, which brings cultural distinction into public sphere debates, sarcastically abets those immigrants’ assimilation. She interlaces ethnographic information with political-philosophical debates at the politics of popularity and redistribution. during this research at the under-researched subject of the incorporation of South Asian immigrants into the yankee polity, Sharmila Rudrappa compels us to reconsider ethnic activism, participatory democracy, and nation-building procedures.

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There was silence. ” I kept quiet. She stumbled into a chair. There was an uneasy silence. I asked her if she was all right, and she screamed back, “You fucking don’t understand. ” I reached out to hold her hand and she burst into tears, saying she was scared. Two Black women jumped her just a block away, threatening to beat her. They let her go minus $10 and her pack of cigarettes. I led Sherri outside to the back porch so that we could talk without waking Nancy who slept on the living room floor.

Some of these associations are defunct now and no doubt new ones have emerged. 39 Just because South Asian Americans come from a particular geographical region does not automatically constitute them into a natural community. Making community is hard, political, and often gendered work—it takes our imaginations, our longings of how we want to be perceived in the United States, the reworking of collective and personal histories in particular directions, casting out individuals and drawing in members, and reinventing traditions to stand as authentic ethnicity.

The more embroiled I became in the shelter and Center politics, the more I tried to disconnect from them. For instance, I write in a subsequent chapter how I try to hide behind my camera during the Apna Ghar fundraiser. Or, I deliberately dressed in jeans and hiking boots at Indo American Center events when other women arrived in Indian clothes. I tried to set myself apart, even when there is no denying I was written into the communities that I theorize about. I frequently got into heated discussions with my supervisors and co-workers, which in Apna Ghar, resulted in public reprimands and disciplinary action that cut my work hours.

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