Pioneer Asian Immigration to the Pacific Coast

 Diaspora - Becoming American

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There is a an ongoing controversy even in the minority community of what side minority non-white immigrants should take with respect to integration into the majority community. My personal opinion, not to be taken as the result of systematic study, is one of close integration of the Sikh immigrant and descendants into the majority culture, but not to the extent of the Sikh losing what is precious to their religion and equalitarian values. In this respect, I favor some "accommodation" of the minority community to the majority culture. In the long run, whether we call it assimilation and accommodation, is a matter of degree.

Two excellent books explore the stresses imposed by the majority community on a minority non-white community, such as the Sikhs, and how individual Sikhs have chosen to cope with challenges in this society. The first, by Margaret Gibson, is a result of a two year study of a northern California Sikh community and how high school Punjabis actually succeeded to a superior degree, not in spite of their minority origins and traditions, but because of them.

The second essay, by Ranbir S. Sandhu describes the stress of ambivalence of the Sikh individual wanting to be accepted by the majority culture but yet needing to retain essential elements of their traditional way of life, which, in important ways define their identity as persons.

P.S. Please email me the interesting stories to go on the website.

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Contact T.S. Sibia
tssibia@sikhpioneers.org