When I was growing up as a young girl and teenager in Texas, my parents would attend and also host dinner parties. I remember that most of the people resembled me, brown in skin tone with black hair. Every weekend would be a repeat of the last, the faces and places blending together. In retrospect, I believe my parents tried to recreate the environment of their birthplace in India. The woman would banter in the kitchen about some recipe, while the men would sit in the living room discussing US politics, debating in broken English and Gujarati (just one of the many languages in India). The kids would hang out in the rest of the house, conversations happening only because the parents insisted that they play. In my memory, the evenings were light, fun and filled with conversations, and nobody cared that it was a replay of the previous weekend activities.
I understand my parents missed their home and looked for the quickest way to transition into their new life in the United States. Of course, because of this lingering homsickness, their close friendships didn’t include many people from other races. Even though they lived in a “melting pot” their relationships were with people who were like them. They didn’t try to move out of their comfort zone and inadvertantly they formed their own clique. As I grew older, I found it a little funny that there was so many different cultures and languages around us, yet my parents were interested in mingling with only people that reminded them of their own culture.
I’ve deviated from this pattern. I am a product of where I am from. I’ve always been home and had the luxury of only “immigrating” from one state to another. I didn’t have to move continents, like my parents.
My circle does include Indian friends, but I also have close friendships with people outside of my own culture. I’ve learned so much from these friends, which I don’t think I’d encounter if hadn’t stepped out of my own Indian comfort zone. The world and the people in it have so much to offer; to gravitate only to what you know is too limiting. We desire tolerance and seek to understand people and want to encourage diversity, but I pose this question, “What color is your circle?”
Image by antwerpenR
Do you have diversity in your friendships? Do you gravitate toward people who are the same as you? Do you think your parents friendships effect your own? Do you think it is important to have a wide diversity of friendships? Is tolerance born from embracing diversity?