ABCD’s: American-Born Confused Desis

I am an avid fan of National Public Radio (NPR) – and this morning, I heard the story of “Young Indians Abroad Return to Help Better Country” as part of the series on “Climate Connections: Profiles.” The story discusses the growing trend of young Indians who grew up in Britain, Australia and America are now going to the new wild west – India, hanging out with Indian friends, and having conversations about climate change and the environment. Indian-Americans are known as “ABCD’s” – “American-Born Confused Desis”:

“In this broadcast on Morning Edition we talk to a bunch of American-born Indians and their local friends who discuss what it’s like to come “home” and what it’s like to be invaded by Americans who want to rediscover their “Indian-ness”. The locals have a nickname for these Americans —they call them “ABCDs.” That’s an acronym for American-Born Confused Desis. Desi is slang for an Indian guy or gal, and the term basically means kids from America who return a little mixed-up about who they are. “The conversation, as you’ll hear, explores all kinds of issues: the advantages of an American accent in India, the value (and limits) of Western experience in attacking pollution and poverty, the importance (or not) of movies and popular culture in creating social change, and why Indian woman (some of them) like beef-eating men.”

NPR interviews a local Indian man, who says he doesn’t like ABCD’s, since with their Western education and non-Indian accents, are highly sought out for better jobs, status, etc… as well as the fact that ABCD men can get local Indian women easier – as he had read in Maxim India (supposedly because ABCD’s eat more meat and are bigger, etc..) – which made the NPR reporter laugh.

To be honest, the Indian man’s complaints kind of reminded me of the perennial debate of Asian women dating white men. :-). After the laugh, the Indian does say that these ABCD’s do provide different and “amazing” perspectives and insights that are helpful. Anyways, I was amused by the ABCD acronym. As a Taiwanese-American, I’ve heard the term ABC – American Born Chinese quite often. I did know one person at college who referred to himself as a CBA – Chinese Born American, to emphasize the Chinese part of him, even though he was born in America. Finally, someone in my dorm referred herself as an ABCDEF – American Born, Culturally Deprived, Egyptian Female. I thought that was clever and got a big kick out of that.

Thanks for rating this! Now tell the world how you feel - .
How does this post make you feel?
  • Excited
  • Fascinated
  • Amused
  • Disgusted
  • Sad
  • Angry

About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
This entry was posted in Current Events, Observations. Bookmark the permalink.