Hyphenated Identities: Deepti Pradhan

Deepti Pradhan was born and raised in India. She is now living in the United States for the last ten years. Deepti completed her doctorate in International Psychology and her dissertation was on Stigma of depression in youth of India. She currently practices as a psychology associate at her private practice named NeuroThrive in Baltimore. Her work focuses on rehabilitation of cognitive impairments. Deepti enjoys travelling and learning about new cultures. She loves animals and is attached to animal organizations that rescue and work towards policy change.



Hyphenated Identity- An Act of Balancing and Conflicting Identities (from a larger article by the author on the same topic)

We carry carnage of mining, droughts, floods, genocides
We carry dust of our families and neighbors incinerated in mushroom clouds
We carry our islands sinking under the sea..
We carry our hands, feet, bones, hearts and best minds for a new life
We carry diplomas: medicine, engineer, nurse, education, math, poetry, even if they mean nothing to the other shore..
We carry railroads, plantations, Laundromats, bodegas, taco trucks, farms, factories, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, temples…built on our ancestors’ backs..
We carry old homes along the spine, new dreams in our chests..
We carry yesterday, today and tomorrow..
We’re orphans of the wars forced upon us..
We’re refugees of the sea rising from industrial wastes..
And we carry our mother tongues..
As we drift…in our rubber boats…from shore…to shore…to shore… “THINGS WE CARRY ON THE SEA” BY WANG PING, 1957

Hyphenated identity refers to situations that arise due to conflicting and balancing between two cultures. It appears from the implications of having a dual culture and analyzing which side of the hyphen or the dual culture that the person belongs (Easa 9). The most common impression is that people with hyphenated identity oscillate between two cultures. Immigrants who have a strong identity with multiple heritage must balance the influence of the new society and aspects of their native traditions and practices (Singel 3). For instance, immigrants’ off springs feel the pressure to be loyal to the old world where their roots are and at the same time strive to be fluent in the new world. Often, immigrants who have settled in another country strive to be approved by either side of the hyphen.
When Indians and other immigrants move to a new country, they experience radical changes in their social and cultural surroundings. Principally, the new dynamics of intercultural contact cause an acculturation process resulting in both psychological and behavioral changes (Salam & Abualadas 54). The result triggers a change in an individual's social network, juxtaposed with the need to create new relationships while compromising and even dissolving the old. An individual is required to either diminish or consolidate the existing connections, thereby affecting the person's identity. The level of integration between the current and the old norms, values, and perspective influences the unique character of a multicultural individual.
 Cultural identification and interaction with people of different cultures affect an individual's personality, since most individuals' reactions depend on the cultural knowledge acquired. When the ideals of one culture are not connected to another, custom generalizations about a character may arise. Persons with a bicultural identity need to fuse aspects of two or more cultural paradigms. They need to incorporate the ancestral tradition with the new tradition to give rise to an identity that does not necessitate them to choose either culture. As a result, bicultural people strive to incorporate traits of both cultures.  Incorporating both cultural attributes is not easy, and in most cases despite rich heritage, Indian immigrants never feel entirely Indian or American. Instead, they accept both of their identities and try to pass both cultural identities on to their children.
Works Cited
Caneva, Elena. "Identity Processes in the Global Era: The Case of Young Immigrants Living In Italy." Journal of Youth Studies 20.1 (2017): 79-93.
Easa, Khalid. "The Impact of Exile on the Formation of Hyphenated Identities in Abu-Jaber’s Crescent." European Journal of English Language and Literature Studies 8.2 (2020): 1-9.
Jobgen, Amanda Haddad. Hyphenated Americans: Christian Arab-Americans’ identity Struggle. Diss. 2018.
Salam, Wael, and Othman Abualadas. "Cultural Authenticity Versus Hyphenated Identities: Transnational Modes of Belonging and Citizenship in The Inheritance of Exile: Stories from South Philly." CEA Critic 82.1 (2020): 52-68.

Singel, Leslie. "How to practice Irishness: Hyphenated Identity at Irish American Cultural Centers." Quarterly Horse: A Journal of [brief] American Studies 1.3 (2017).

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