A family friend asked me what I think are the biggest misconceptions Americans have about Indians. Good question, I told him. No one had asked me this before and I drew a blank. I really didn’t know how to respond. Sometimes in the course of conversation people reveal their biases or preconceptions, but they are often veiled. So I asked my husband and other family & friends to answer this question. What are the biggest misconceptions Americans have about Indians?

1. Indians don’t speak English. My husband identifies English as his mother tongue, and many of our other relatives are most comfortable speaking English.
2. All Indians do yoga. Just not true.
3. Indians live in villages with little exposure to western culture. According to some estimates, there are 20 million people in Bombay alone. We enjoy many amenities and modern conveniences available in the West. Of course, many people have limited access because of education, finances, or social status.
4. All Indians are vegetarians. Most Hindus and Jains do not eat meat. Muslims and Jews avoid pork, but will often eat other meat. Christians generally eat anything.

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