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Sample Essay on South Asian Desis subculture

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Sample Essay on South Asian Desis subculture


The study examines sections of the subculture, which are specific to the Desis as represented in the cinemas, the subcultures that are universal that are observable in other subcultures. Examples are derived from the ‘Apu’s Brown Voice’, and ‘DDLJ-Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’. These examples are compared and contrasted with my subculture on features such as language, accent and identity, morality, and Gender roles and interactions.


I come from Groundzhou, the southern part of China. I speak both Cantonese and Mandarin. Cantonese consists of Guangdong Cantonese and Hongkong Cantonese, which vary on the accent. However, people with minimum knowledge on China will normally assume that Cantonese speakers originate from Hongkong. These people fail to acknowledge that Guangdong people also speak Cantonese.

My family is quite traditional and still maintains gender roles.. We highly value traditional festivals, as the entire family look forward to the get together on these special days. During traditional festivals, such as sweet dumpling festival (the night of the 15th of the first lunar month), tomb-sweeping day and New Year’s festivals, families prepare to party on traditional foods as they partake necessary traditional rituals. Our family is quite like the Indian family, which assumes responsibility for the entire family. In these cultures, one cannot judge their fathers, and girls have to take after their mothers to be good wives in future. A good wife according to our community is a good mother, a good cook and good housekeeper. Education in my culture is quite important as the whole community entrusts the educated with unconditional respect just because of the acquired Bachelor’s degree, especially to those who have studied abroad. My family focuses more on Cantonese than mandarin and English.

Language, accent, and identity

From the article on ‘Apu’s Brown Voice’, the character is frustrated on falsely posturing as an American both stereotypically and culturally. Apus goes ahead and obtains an illegal ID card to avoid deportation as an illegal immigrant. Apus is representing the South Asians in America who acquire a foreign identity, class, and cultural privilege. Although these people acquire these traits, they are inwardly uncomfortable as they value their culture and identity. This is the reason why they become so frustrated at losing their identities in their quest for cultural privilege. From the article, an American accent and acquisition of popular culture affirms American privilege. The article depicts cultural inflection as a variation on cultural citizenship, which further depicts the South Asians as static irrespective of their status in America.

 South Asians are generally undifferentiated in terms of accent and voice, resulting to their uniqueness in the midst of other minority subcultures in America. This can be depicted from the American accent of Indians, which remains inimitable. Moreover, just like the South Asians, Indians are culturally closely knit, value their identities and values. Indian syllables possesses unique phonetic signature where meaning in indicated by the particular words. Indian English has therefore been defined as distraction as it creates an interesting effect due to the pattern of word stress. Just like the Indians in America, my sub culture is exceptional with respect to other citizens even though some immigrant may posture the American culture. Use of the character is essential in pointing out the amorphous and ambiguous physical position my sub culture have occupied in the American racial hierarchies. The effect can moreover be felt in the self-identification of my community by my nationality and province affiliation. The fact is becomes pronounced by the ignorance of the rest of the world in assuming that all Asians speak one language and originate from one place. Even though Indians and South Asians originate from Asian continent, they speak different languages, have varying cultures, and are physically, and historically different. Yet, they have been categorized as the same race in America.

Gender roles and interactions

            Indians just like my sub-culture value our cultural practices. People are categorized in social groups according to their displayed qualities. This is the reason why a graduate from America is highly valued than other graduates from the Asia. Furthermore, males are highly valued than females, especially the older males. This practice is applied even with the immigrants in America as family ties are still honored.

Indians on the other hand practice the hierarchical system where people interact socially within their system. These social groupings commonly dictate the behavior of a member of a community wherever they are. Females are expected to emulate their mothers to become honorable in future, while males are expected to prove their age, power, and authority by assuming their roles. For instance, roles given to parents are valued even in the western world irrespective of the value and academic standards of their children. Parents are to acquire suitable suitors for their children. This role compels parents to acquire for their children partners through media, a fact that has been illustrated in DDLJ. Indian newspapers advertise marriages for students abroad as an approach of managing parental anxiety Parents direct and discipline the romantic aspirations of their children as an act of perpetuating the Indian culture. These roles are attained even as the communities abroad continue to enjoy their marital and professional advantages. From the movie, DDLJ, the protagonist, and the lover were willing to forsake their own pleasures for the sake of their families, an attribute that was heavily criticized by the audience. This scene depicts a reality in the Indian culture where family values and standards are still upheld.

Morality features

            Morals are among the valued cultural practices in my community as well as in India. This is depicted in DDLJ where sexual behaviors and marriage choices are a major focus on the NRI community. Morals aspects in my community uniquely identify my sub culture as a social institution in this globalization period. Since my sub culture has remained firm amidst all the academic and globalized changes, it can be used to define the culture and features of the South Asian’s family values. Just like the Indian values depicted in DDLJ, my family values can be positively correlated with the global achievements.

            Even though our values are still practiced, modernization has resulted to the rise of feminist perspectives. Ideas emanating from these perspectives criticize how gender roles are played and how values are accorded to women, regardless of their world standards. Due to the regard of the learned in our community, graduates abroad have are reluctant to sacrifice their attributes and identities for the American accent and prestige. This is further heightened as the American immigrants are assumed backward and dogmatists as depicted in DDLJ.


            Even though the world is focused on celebrating the popular culture, some sub cultures like the Desis from China and Indians, both from South Asia uphold to their cultures. This is depicted in terms of their morality where males are highly esteemed than the females of equal age groups. Morality and social classes are still upheld and directed by parents. This is experienced largely by the Indian parents who advertize for suitable partners for their children through the social media. Even though some immigrants assume the American accent and language for the sake of the prestige, they inwardly remain uncomfortable due to the loss of their identities through their culture, behavior, and language.

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