Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

Abstract

In this master's thesis, I examine the lives of young second generation Malayalee Christian Indian Americans. I focus on their religion, racial as well as their ethnic identities. My main findings centers on the thesis that my participants as brown Indians are dually marginalized not only because of their race as brown Indian Americans but also because of their presumed religious identity of being a Hindu. Drawing from detail interviews and participant observation with thirty young second generation Malayalee Christian Indian Americans, I find that my participants are struggling to frame their Christian identity in America. Participants described being racially labeled by their peers' during high school years, including being called a Hindu. In this paper, I argue along with their racial-ethnic status of being brown and Indian, the presumed religious status of Indians as Hindu `dual marginalizes' my participants. I find that my participants work towards affirming their American Christian identity while navigating through their religious, racial and ethnic identities, Here, I argue that by objecting to their imposed, assumed Hindu identity, my participants counter prejudice in America.

I situate my study within the discourse on how religion and race operates in the United States. My study shows that similar to race, religion is an important interactive analytical category when understanding the lives of ethnic racial minorities in the U.S and how they are positioned within the U.S. racial hierarchy.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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