I’ve noticed something lately and I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about it. It’s Indians and the word “they.” I’ve noticed that this is used quite often when they are referring to other Indians. From what I have noticed, it’s usually used to talk condescendingly or negatively about fellow Indians. It’s as if the person who is speaking isn’t included in the group they are referring to.
M does it, my Hindi teacher does it, and several of my Indian friends do it. For some reason, this has been blatantly obvious to me as of late. However, I’ve also noticed that by contrast, the people saying “they” don’t use it when referring to the positive things about the same group of people. That’s when they say “we.” For example, I had this conversation with M the other day where he was talking about how he felt Indians were obsessed with money. During the conversation he would routinely say things like “they will do anything to save a dollar.” A little while later he was saying what hard workers Asians are. During this conversation he would consitently say “we” and he ended it by saying “we will put in 16 hour days, without thinking twice.”
Am I the only person who has noticed this? I have my own thoughts about why “they” and “we” are used but I am interested in other opinions. I understand the desire to distance one’s self from things that are perceived as negative and embracing the things that are seen as positive but I’ve not seen this behavior on this level before or at least it’s never been so bad that I’ve noticed it before. I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions. Until the next blog…