Cultural Diversity: The Asian-Indian Contribution Although the first documented Asian Indian arrived in the United States in 1820 (Chandrasekhar, 1944), the passage of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 and the information technology boom of the 1990s were the key events that spurred large scale immigration. It is important to note that the ... Article
Article  |   January 01, 2007
Cultural Diversity: The Asian-Indian Contribution
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Yasmeen Faroqi-Shah
    University of Maryland College Park, MD
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Professional Issues & Training / Articles
Article   |   January 01, 2007
Cultural Diversity: The Asian-Indian Contribution
SIG 10 Perspectives on Issues in Higher Education, January 2007, Vol. 10, 14-17. doi:10.1044/ihe10.2.14
SIG 10 Perspectives on Issues in Higher Education, January 2007, Vol. 10, 14-17. doi:10.1044/ihe10.2.14
Although the first documented Asian Indian arrived in the United States in 1820 (Chandrasekhar, 1944), the passage of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965 and the information technology boom of the 1990s were the key events that spurred large scale immigration. It is important to note that the term Asian Indians, otherwise known as South Asians, refers to persons who trace their origin to the Indian subcontinent, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Most of the demographics mentioned in this article refer to Indians, who form the largest group.
Today, Asian Indians represent the second largest growing ethnic group in the United States (second only to Hispanics), with a growth rate of about 38% in the last 5 years and 110% in the last 10 years (Camarota, 2005). It is estimated that the number of Asian Indians in the United States exceeds 2.5 million, and that about 75% of these individuals were born outside the United States (Camarota). These large numbers may seem surprising. In fact, Asian Indians are often called the silent immigrants, because they receive less attention during discussions of immigration laws, English language proficiency, and federal funding for social services. Demographically, Asian Indians are a unique immigrant group, with the highest educational qualifications among all ethnic groups in the United States (nearly 64% having graduated from college compared to 28% nationally), a higher average household income (over one and half times the national average), a proportionally large presence in the fields of science, engineering, medicine and academia, even winning two Nobel prizes (Ministry of External Affairs, 2005). This is not to say that Asian Indians are free from stereotypes, such as the convenience store owner in The Simpsons TV show, or from racial animosity, such as the 1907 Bellingham, WA, riots and the 1987 killings by the so-called Jersey city dot busters (The Pluralism Project, n.d.).
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