ⓘ American-Born Confused Desi


ⓘ American-Born Confused Desi

American-Born Confused Desi is a term used to refer to South Asian Americans born or raised in the United States, in contrast to those who were born overseas and later settled in the USA.


1. Neologism

"ABCD" or "American-Born Confused Desi" has become a polarizing factor in the Indian and other South Asian diaspora in the US, with first-generation immigrant parents and young South Asians of second or later generations. According to some, the term has "perpetual foreigner" connotations. It has been noted that the term differs from existing patterns of immigrant designation in American English. For example, Peter Thiel is considered a "German-born American," and Elon Musk is considered a "South African-born American." In both of these cases, the first demographic word refers to the persons citizenship at birth, and the second refers to his citizenship at present. Though the term was originally coined in reference to Indian-Americans, it has been adopted by the South Asian community at large. The term "desi" comes from the word des homeland in several Indian languages. The word has its origin in Sanskrit "desha". "Desi" means "of the homeland" and denotes anything or anyone from South Asia. The term has been commonly known since at least the 1980s. The term "confused" is used to describe the psychological state of many second-generation South Asian Americans who struggle to balance values and traditions taught at home with attitudes and practices that are more conducive to the majority white culture.

The longer and lesser known form "American Born Confused Desi, Emigrated From Gujarat, House In Jersey" is also occasionally seen; playing on the alphabet theme, it has been expanded for K-Z variously as "Kids Learning Medicine, Now Owning Property, Quite Reasonable Salary, Two Uncles Visiting, White Xenophobia, Yet Zestful" or "Keeping Lotsa Motels, Named Omkarnath Patel, Quickly Reaching Success Through Underhanded Vicious Ways, Xenophobic Yet Zestful". The former version of the A - Z expansion was proposed by South Asian immigrants as a reaction to the latter version that derogated them.

"Confused Americanized Desi CAD" is a related term, which refers to people of South Asian origin who are both born and living in the subcontinent but tend to follow western lifestyle and values. Coconuts is also a term used which basically refers to people who are "white from the inside and brown from the outside".


2. Cultural implications

Among South Asian Americans, the term may be considered divisive, as first generation South Asian Americans use it to criticize the Americanization and lack of belonging to either Indian, Asian or American culture they perceive in their second-generation peers or children. Writer Vijay Prashad describes the term as "ponderous and overused" and notes it as one of the mechanisms by which new immigrants attempt to make second-generation youth feel "culturally inadequate and unfinished.".


3. Movies

The term American-Born Confused Desi first appeared in the movies ABCD 1999 and American Desi 2001. ABCD: American-Born Confused Desi is a 2013 Malayalam language movie released in India. The film narrates the journey of two young American Malayalees to their motherland, Kerala, with the title based on the term "American-Born Confused Desi". ABCD – American Born Confused Desi is a Telugu language movie that is remake of the Malayalam film.

  • ABCD American Born Confused Desi is an Indian Telugu drama film starring Allu Sirish and Rukshar Dhillon in prominent roles. It is directed by Sanjeev
  • ABCD: American - Born Confused Desi is a 2013 Malayalam comedy film directed by Martin Prakkat, produced by Shibu Thameens under the banner of Thameens films
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