Due to scheduled maintenance, parts of MNHS.org will be inaccessible on Monday, November 24.
Minnesota Historical Society M-Flame Logo

If you choose to interview a person who has another culture, you're getting like two people.: Becoming Minnesotan

Nirupama Misra, c.2006.
  • Name - Nirupama Misra
  • Gender - Female
  • Generation - First Generation American / Immigrant
  • Date of Interview -
    06.27.1997
    09.25.2004
  • Ram Gada, Preeti Mathur and Godan Namburdiripad, Minnesota History Center, 2002.

    We Are Here
    Contributions

    Essential Question

    We Are Here: What does it mean to this immigrant group to be here in America?

    Contributions: How is America better off because of this group of immigrants?

    Words to look for

    perspective
    tolerance
    liability

    Background Information

    Many Indian immigrants struggle with their “dual identity” as Indians and Americans.  These young people have grown up with two different sets of values, and have faced the challenges of discrimination and adjusting to life in a new place.  Although their childhood is sometimes difficult, some would argue that they are better for it and this was a positive experience that shaped their lives for the good!

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

    • Chapter 1

    Download Nirupama Misra 9
    1:45 Minutes | 1.67Mb

    Transcription

    Narrator: Nirupama Misra (NM)

    NM:  I have been real involved with the India Association in the past, and now we have this Indian women's group that I'm chairing, and so I'm sometimes invited to go speak places on - you know, when they do their diversity program, and they need someone to speak.

    So one of the things I tell people is, especially in professional settings, if you choose to interview a person who comes from another background, who has another culture besides an American culture, who has two cultures, you're getting like two people. You are getting so much more than you are when you hire somebody who has one set of perspectives and skills. You're hiring someone who has the ability to draw skills in the areas of understanding, of listening, of tolerance, and these are not things you can ever teach someone. You just can't, a grown-up age, teach someone that.

    The ability to see things from different perspectives is in many, many professions a tremendous skill. You know, even in the sciences, it's a tremendous skill, and I do think it's why so many of us who are given opportunity, and have two cultures, do really well. It's because we just have so much more to draw from. And, you know, that's just one thing I keep trying to point out to people, is you're getting a lot more out of people like this, and so don't see them as a liability. Maybe it might take you a little longer to carry on a conversation, maybe it makes you think harder, but, you know, consider that an opportunity, too.


    Related Glossary Terms

    chair

    Verb:  To act as chairperson, someone who presides over a meeting, board, etc.  (chairs, chairing, chaired)

    culture

    Noun:  The arts, customs, and habits that characterize a particular society or nation.

    diversity

    Noun:  The quality of being diverse or different; difference or unlikeness; variety.

    involved

    Adjective:  Complicated.

    liability

    Noun:  A handicap that holds one back.

    opportunity

    Noun:  A chance for advancement, progress, or profit.

    perspective

    Noun:  Point of view.

    professional

    Adjective:  Describes a specific field of work that requires above average education and a specific set of skills.

    Noun: A person who works in a job that requires a lot of skills or training.

    tolerance

    Noun:   The ability or practice of tolerating; an acceptance or patience with the beliefs, opinions or practices of others; a lack of bigotry.

    tremendous

    Adjective:  Awe-inspiring; terrific; extremely large or great.

    Citation

    Minnesota Historical Society. Becoming Minnesotan: Stories of Recent Immigrants and Refugees. September 2010. Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Date of access]. http://www.mnhs.org/immigration
    nid: 637