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Old 03-15-2011, 06:26 PM
 
261 posts, read 439,823 times
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This may be one of those questions that has no straight or correct answer but as we are house-hunting and checking out prospective towns, I keep coming back to it: What does diversity in a town really imply?
My background - I am Asian Indian. I love the fact that New Jersey has its own "Little India" and I've been far less homesick here than other places in the rest of the US.
Now we are considering moving. The towns such as Edison/S Brunswick/Plainsboro which are known to have large Indian population don't fit our bill (location not convenient. And several friends told us Edison schools are overrated and getting crowded/kids not getting enough attention?)
The other day I was with 2 friends at a kiddie play area. An American lady approached our group, spoke exclusively with the American in my group for 10 minutes (they hadn't met before either) and she studiously ignored me and my other friend (also Asian).
Now I found this incident mildly annoying but annoying nevertheless. What if I picked a town that is not known to be "diverse" or I see the statistics say 3% Asian population? I don't want to deal with such annoyances all the time and hate the town itself! And if parents behave like this what values are they passing on to their kids?
I could be overreacting but this is not such a simple or easy issue, is it? I don't want my child to be left out of playdates, for example..
Just thought I'd see what my fellow forum members thought of this. We can research the towns online, drive around, check out the schools but how do you rate friendliness. So I got to think, are some towns not that diverse because they don't want to be? Should we just not ignore the "herd mentality"?
Thanks for reading patiently. Good advice needed!
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Old 03-15-2011, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia,New Jersey, NYC!
6,967 posts, read 17,695,650 times
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don't move to cali
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Ashburn, VA
466 posts, read 1,267,662 times
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The kind of attitudes you are talking about are rare in New Jersey. Indians are very much accepted here.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:50 AM
 
Location: Center of the universe
24,757 posts, read 32,766,291 times
Reputation: 11780
Quote:
Originally Posted by amazin09 View Post
This may be one of those questions that has no straight or correct answer but as we are house-hunting and checking out prospective towns, I keep coming back to it: What does diversity in a town really imply?
My background - I am Asian Indian. I love the fact that New Jersey has its own "Little India" and I've been far less homesick here than other places in the rest of the US.
Now we are considering moving. The towns such as Edison/S Brunswick/Plainsboro which are known to have large Indian population don't fit our bill (location not convenient. And several friends told us Edison schools are overrated and getting crowded/kids not getting enough attention?)
The other day I was with 2 friends at a kiddie play area. An American lady approached our group, spoke exclusively with the American in my group for 10 minutes (they hadn't met before either) and she studiously ignored me and my other friend (also Asian).
Now I found this incident mildly annoying but annoying nevertheless. What if I picked a town that is not known to be "diverse" or I see the statistics say 3% Asian population? I don't want to deal with such annoyances all the time and hate the town itself! And if parents behave like this what values are they passing on to their kids?
I could be overreacting but this is not such a simple or easy issue, is it? I don't want my child to be left out of playdates, for example..
Just thought I'd see what my fellow forum members thought of this. We can research the towns online, drive around, check out the schools but how do you rate friendliness. So I got to think, are some towns not that diverse because they don't want to be? Should we just not ignore the "herd mentality"?
Thanks for reading patiently. Good advice needed!
While I do believe the woman in this case was rude to you, Indian people have done the exact same thing to me. While NJ will be, is, needs to be, welcoming to folks coming in from India, folks from India need to accept Americans and not just stay cliqued with other Indians while they are here in America.

An allusion to your second paragraph that I bolded: My children happen to have names that are not typical for North Americans. My youngest actually has a name that comes from India. He often gets invited to parties by kids in his class whose parents are Indian. The kids play very well together, but the parents are often aghast that my little boy happens to not be Indian. They're the ones who are uncomfortable, not me, not their sons, and certainly not my son.
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:43 AM
 
Location: NJ
15,764 posts, read 10,859,258 times
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Default Relax, its all ok!

Believe it or not you have expressed a racist attitude when you use your percieved experinece in one situation with one 'American' woman to cause you to conclude your child will be shunned by other 'American' children. Relax, it all ok!

Consider each of us, despite race or ethnic derivation, has a personality that manifests itself quite differently in social settings. Some folks won't eat lunch in a cafeteria setting. Others are will not want to talk to the person seated next to them on a plane. There are extroverts and introverts and everything in between. There are folks who live by some code of social grace who become offended if not reciprocated, other still, have no clue as to rudimentry social behavior. Social skills run the spectrum of isolationists to the over gregarious.

I would have expected your 'American" friend to introduce you to the woman. Perhaps she didin't speak to you because she was waiting for an cursory intro. Perhaps she felt you were being standoffish by not contributing to the conversation. If you didn't speak, wore traditional clothing perhaps she thought you didn't speak or understand English?

Maybe she was racist? The possibilities are endless and to conclude it was your race that caused her to not speak to you is egocentric and or ethnocentric.

We intuitively bridge information voids by creating 'myths' in order to understand situations or problems. When new facts or consideration are introduced we hopefully update our 'myths' to make our conclusion more valid and in line with reality.

Consider that language is an isue in many instances as previous experineces may make one shy away from engaging in conversation. Even when a person whose primary language is foreign, speaks English, there often is a huge gap in understanding what is said because of residual pronunciation, speach patterns or speed. Even though the words may be in English', the listener maynot understand what is being said. Especially with fast speach you end up nodding politely hoping all your nods were appropriate or you constantly ask for the person to repeat what they said which makes the listener very embarassed. So even though you didn't speak, she may have been concerned with the ability to communicate.

Please do not take this not as a defense for the woman accused but to recognize that there are an infinite list of why you experienced what you did and why you interpreted as you did.

Relax, you are not in an homegenous society where there are hard social rules. Consider that 'Americans' are made up of an infinite dilution of ethnicities that manifest a great spectrum of personalities and behaviors.
Language is the glue that holds any society together, without it you end up with enclaves and hard divisions that weaken a country.

Relax!
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Old 03-18-2011, 06:54 AM
 
20,979 posts, read 15,543,987 times
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More diverse does = more tolerant.

Of poor behavior.

There was a bleeding heart story in the Philadelphia Daily News last week about an area in Philly called Oxford Circle. They raved about how all of the neighbors accept each other and sit around singing kumbya.

In reality, the violent crime rate has gone up 1000%. The streets are now trash strewn. There are boarded up windows and overgrown lawns. What once was a great neighborhood is now a place to stay away from.

It was primarily Jewish and middle class white until section 8 got hold about a decade or more ago. It was very safe. Very low crime rate. Very good quality of life.

Today it is "diverse".

This doesn't go for all diversity. Many towns in NJ became diverse with Asian communities. They are good, safe areas. The difference? They pay their own way. They value education.
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:56 AM
 
261 posts, read 439,823 times
Reputation: 109
Thank you everyone. I am only too happy to accept I sound wrong and paranoid even. But you know, picking our next house is a long term decision for us, one that we will have to really live with for next n years! I just want to be sure we are not misfits there, wherever that happens to be. The instance I quoted is in no way a generalization of what I have experienced. But it rankled, you know? Because we were out there with our kids. I guess it is more of an insecurity raising a child where I myself didn't grow up. Hence these kind of questions.
Please educate me, do many people consider population ethnicity, as a factor, when they pick a town? I have seen some questions like that on this forum. To me this is just like considering, say, average income level in a prospective town. The basic idea, is that we want to make sure "we fit in" and we are comfortable, isn't it?
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Old 03-18-2011, 08:47 AM
 
Location: NJ
22,485 posts, read 28,346,141 times
Reputation: 14443
try to develop an english (UK) accept. everyone loves anyone with a uk accent. i know i do.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:23 AM
 
1,527 posts, read 3,480,423 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazin09 View Post
Thank you everyone. I am only too happy to accept I sound wrong and paranoid even. But you know, picking our next house is a long term decision for us, one that we will have to really live with for next n years! I just want to be sure we are not misfits there, wherever that happens to be. The instance I quoted is in no way a generalization of what I have experienced. But it rankled, you know? Because we were out there with our kids. I guess it is more of an insecurity raising a child where I myself didn't grow up. Hence these kind of questions.
Please educate me, do many people consider population ethnicity, as a factor, when they pick a town? I have seen some questions like that on this forum. To me this is just like considering, say, average income level in a prospective town. The basic idea, is that we want to make sure "we fit in" and we are comfortable, isn't it?

Honestly, I think it's more about money now. Rich people want to live with rich people, most people try to live in the richest town they can, which translates into "good" school districts, that kind of thing.

A rich (insert race here) family in a rich town will be just fine.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:40 AM
 
14,776 posts, read 34,297,887 times
Reputation: 14278
I think Ann77 had the right angle on this. Racial diversity tends to not be nearly the same issue among people and in towns as economic diversity. I think people tend to purposefully seek out towns that match their economic profile, I know I do. There are generally far more apparent differences between people of varying economic circumstances that would lead to two people not getting along or being resentful than there are among racial or religious differences. I would be more concerned about being the rich guy in the poor town or the poor guy in the rich town then I would about being the only Asian Indian guy in town.
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