Sometimes we make our kids live in two different worlds.: Becoming Minnesotan

Deep Shikha Gupta, c.2006.
  • Name - Deep Shikha Gupta
  • Age at interview - 50
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview - 06.23.2005
  • Family Fun Fair, SILC, Como High School, St. Paul, July 24, 2002.

    Essential Question

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

    Problems in America: What could have helped this person’s adjustment in the U.S.?

    Words to look for


    Background Information

    Many Indian immigrants struggle with their “dual identity”- especially young people growing up in a different place than their parents did.  Their parents have more memories of growing up in India, and more of a connection to that country, which they often still view as home.  They often form friendships with other Indians.  However, the younger generation often feels more "American" than "Indian", and they grow up surrounded by friends and classmates who are not Indian.  Young Indian-Americans often try to continue the Indian cultural practices of their parents, but they also become more Americanized as they grow up in the U.S. 

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

    • Chapter 1

    Download Deep Shikha Gupta 2
    1:58 Minutes | 1.89Mb


    Narrator: Deep Shikha Gupta (DG)

    Interviewer: Polly Sonifer (PS)

    PS:  When you talk about the challenges facing the Indian community, do you see other challenges besides this fracturedness?

    DG:  Yes.  I think other challenge to the Indian community, sometime, is also the generation gap between kids and parents.  By generation gap, I mean that parents, to a large extent, know who they are, which identity group they belong to, like I said, I come from India and I got all my values from there, and I came here, and I sought the Indian community because I knew I was part of it.  That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t interact with American community, but I have an identity group to hold on to that’s the core of my being. 

    PS:  Right.

    DG:  It’s harder for kids, because their identity group is different.  They don’t have that same solid base that we have to hold on to, to grab onto, and say they are Indian because they are not.  They are really Indian American.  They grew up here.  They speak…their mother tongue is English.  They read American history.  Sometimes, knowingly or unknowingly, we make our kids live in two different worlds.  That is, when they go to school we want them to excel in studies, to play in sports, and to excel in everything and to be better than everyone else in the class.  When they come home, we want them to forget all about that, be the nice little Indian kid.

    The girls are not allowed to date.  The boys are not allowed to date.  Or they are supposed to do what we did in India. 

    That confuses our children and, sometimes, creates an identity crisis, where they don’t know which identity group do they belong to.  I think that is also a problem. 

    Related Glossary Terms


    Noun:  A group of people who share a common understanding of the same language, manners, tradition and law.


    Noun:  A crucial or decisive point or situation; a turning point.  (plural: crises)


    Verb:  To do much better than others.  (excels, excelling, excelled)


    Noun:  The space, area, volume, etc., to which something moves to, stretches, or encompasses.


    Noun:  1. A period of around thirty years, the average amount of time before a child takes the place of its parents.  2. A group of people who are of approximately the same age.


    Noun:  The difference or character that marks off an individual from the everyone else; selfhood; a name or persona by which one is known; knowledge of who one is. 


    Verb:  To engage or communicate with others.  (interacts, interacting, interacted)


    Adverb:  With full knowledge and consideration.


    Noun:  A collection of guiding, usually positive principles; what one deems to be correct and desirable in life, especially regarding personal conduct.


    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access].
    nid: 627