According to them, I’ve become very Americanized.: Becoming Minnesotan

Bash Singh, c.1995.
  • Name - Bash Singh
  • Age at interview - 51
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 01.12.1995
  • Parvathi Jithendranathan and Sarah Gerdes, IAM Oral History Project Celebration.


    Essential Question

    Becoming Americans: What does it mean to be an American?

    Assimilation: Does a person have to give up part of his/her culture to become more American?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Many Indians keep close ties with their relatives back home in India and return home to visit regularly.  Indian immigrants in the U.S. typically work to keep up their Indian traditions.  However, as they learn to live in American society, it is inevitable that they will become more “Americanized” and begin to think and act more like Americans.  

    To learn more about Asian Indian history and culture, visit our Asian Indian Community page.

    • Chapter 1

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    1:31 Minutes | 1.45Mb


    Narrator: Bash Singh (BS)

    BS:  Actually, the last five years, I’ve gone there [India] three times, which was nice, got to spend some time.  The only thing is that when you go after five years, there are a lot of things which used to be common, they're not common anymore.  According to them, I’ve become very Americanized.  I’m not that Indian any more.  Some of the things are kind of difficult to accept for me.  They will do some things, and I’ll say, “Why did you do that?”  They do it more the Indian way, and I want to do the American way, which is I think sometimes better.  Like, if you go out to eat.  I would like to pay once in a while, but other time we can share.  If six of us go we just split it six ways.  They don’t like that, so then you end up not going because either I have to pay or they have to pay. They don't want me to pay all the time, which I don’t want to pay all the time.  But if he can’t afford it, he says, "No, let's not go, let's eat at home." But then you miss those things.  I tell them, “I like the American system!  What is wrong with that?  You go out and have fun and pay for yourself.  You don't have to pay for me or for my husband or for my kids or anybody.  They will pay for themselves.” I think they have a tough time.  They say, "No, that's not nice.  Why you have to pay and why we have to pay?"  And I say, "No, I don't see any problem there."

    Related Glossary Terms


    Adjective:  Made American, in the custom, culture, or style of the United States of America.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 610