I chose the topic of assimilation because not only has it had a positive effect in my story, it has also had some challenges along with it. Let’s start with a few definitions so we are all on the same page.
Assimilation means “the process of taking in and fully understanding information or ideas. It is the absorption and integration of people, ideas, or culture into a wider society or culture. The process of becoming similar to something”.
Then there’s the aspect of “forced assimilation”. This is an involuntary process of cultural assimilation which basically shows a complete disregard of one’s ethnic and cultural background and the expectation that a person becomes like the culture they live in, in it’s entirety. To put it in simple terms, “do as we do and you will fit in”, “be like us in every way and you will fit and prove you belong”. (real statements from my story).
Those of us that are immigrants understand this concept better than most. I was an immigrant from India to Canada at the age of 5 and then to the USA in my early 20’s for marriage. I have definitely assimilated to the USA in many ways, and as of last week I finally became a US citizen. The greatest assimilation of all.
Shortly after moving to the USA, and through a series of events and situations in my life, I began to notice that I was losing sight of who I was created to be. That is the painful reality of assimilation and many people don’t talk about it. Sadly, when we do try to reclaim some of our cultural roots we have been met with disdain, raised eyebrows or blank stares. There are some people that accept our differences out of obligation while others are genuine about their interest.
Before you think that this is only based on my narrative, I assure you, it isn’t. I know countless numbers of fellow immigrants who have struggled to fit and belong and be heard. Hopefully this interview will help you hear yet another person’s perspective and help you not only appreciate an immigrant’s story but how you might also be part of the solution in helping one assimilate in more healthy ways
Since many people don’t really understand the culture or “water they are swimming in” they are living in, the topic of assimilation has little or no effect on them. But for the immigrant, it begins to shape their reality and how they see themselves. I encourage you to connect with an immigrant and learn about the impact of assimilation. Let’s connect.
In the meantime, I would like you to meet my friend and fellow immigrant, Theodore Glave, who is originally from Jamaica.
Theo, as many of his friend’s call him, was born and raised in Jamaica and is a graduate of Clarkson University in New York, NY where he studied Chemical Engineering. After working at a variety of companies as the Food Safety and Quality Engineer, he is currently the Senior Quality Assurance Manager at Pret a Manger.
Theo is also the founder of the “The Priority Process” which seeks to help professionals navigate corporate culture, tackling work optimization and career advancement. The Priority Process is an online course, coaching, blog, and newsletter that focuses on getting ONLY the important things done. Theo champions the belief that success is accomplished when we prioritize the many inputs in our daily lives.
Currently, Theodore lives and works in New York city with his wife, Tia, and their dog Apollo (who you will hear in the interview). In his spare time, he enjoys collecting records, watching movies, and traveling.
The Priority Process Online program: https://www.thepriorityprocess.com/
Here’s to Growing Forward Together as we learn to understand culture and promote inclusion by helping others assimilate in healthy ways.