New Roots in America's Sacred Ground: Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in Indian America

New Roots in America's Sacred Ground: Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in Indian America

New Roots in America's Sacred Ground: Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in Indian America

New Roots in America's Sacred Ground: Religion, Race, and Ethnicity in Indian America

Synopsis

"A ground-breaking contribution on the racialization of religion.... An essential book in the study of Indian Americans, second-generation immigrants, and Asian American religions."-Paul Spickard, coauthor of Colorism in Asian America "A detailed analysis of second-generation Indian Americans and identity, New Roots provides a stimulating and lucid argument about the integral role religion and religious oppression play in race and ethnicity in the United States." --Jigna Desai, associate professor of women's studies, University of Minnesota "This beautifully crafted and admirably empathetic study rightly fixes its gaze not on abstract collections of beliefs and practices but on the actual lives of specific Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. Along the way, it teaches us much about race and religion in American life." --Stephen Prothero, chair, department of religion, Boston University In this compelling look at second-generation Indian Americans, Khyati Y. Joshi draws on case studies and interviews with forty-one second-generation Indian Americans, analyzing their experiences involving religion, race, and ethnicity from elementary school to adulthood. As she maps the crossroads they encounter as they navigate between their homes and the wider American milieu, Joshi shows how their identities have developed differently from their parents' and their non-Indian peers' and how religion often exerted a dramatic effect. The experiences of Joshi's research participants reveal how race and religion interact, intersect, and affect each other in a society where Christianity and whiteness are the norm. Joshi shows how religion is racialized for Indian Americans and offers important insights in the wake of 9/11 and the backlash against Americans who look Middle Eastern and South Asian. Through her candid insights into the internal conflicts contemporary Indian Americans face and the religious and racial discrimination they encounter, Joshi provides a timely window into the ways that race, religion, and ethnicity interact in day-to-day life. Khyati Y. Joshi is an assistant professor at the School of Education at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey.

Excerpt

The post-1965 wave of immigration—the largest in U.S. history—has brought an infusion of color that is challenging traditional understandings of race and racism, the so-called straight line assimilation theory of ethnicity, and the normative place of Christian traditions in society and religious scholarship. After nearly half a century during which immigration was available only to people from the predominantly Protestant regions of Europe, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 opened the gates for a wave of immigrants from beyond the Judeo-Christian pale. Indian Americans were a major segment of the first wave. Alongside the growth in racial diversity that followed the 1965 Immigration Act has come a dramatic increase in America's religious diversity. The increasing presence of followers of non-Christian faiths such as Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism has reverberated nationwide in urban, suburban, and rural America. The influx of new immigrants and "new" faiths requires us to reconceptualize the relationship among ethnicity, race, and religion and the impact of each on the individual. Moreover, every immigrant generation is followed by a second generation, born on these shores but raised in the ethnic home environment, in the dominant society of neighborhood and school, and in a space of their own in between. This book addresses second-generation religious experiences and identities not in a vacuum but rather in the specific and unique context of ethnicity and race in the United States.

America is changing how it categorizes people. Throughout history, those who were different—the "them" as distinct from "us" (the majority)—were made an "other" and had their differences racialized. The Irish and the Jews, to name two major constituents of the last great wave of immigration, were thought of as racially different, until this view was finally overwhelmed by the force of white skin and social mobility. Nearly half a century after the Civil Rights Act was passed, more than half a century after Brown v. Board of . . .

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