The purpose of this article is to break-down the notion of ‘hybridity’ and in turn highlight the pertinency of this word in YOUR day to day life.
Our parents have come far and wide from a native land with morals and ethics that function best within that specific country and into a completely new diaspora where those morals and ethics do not correspond in. Growing up in their foreign country as a second generational immigrant; this NEW country is YOUR home – your personal morals and ethics are created by your new surroundings which in-turn does not resonate with your parent’s beliefs. This causes conflict. Conflict develops into the creation of a hybridised identity.
Still confused..? let’s break it down!
My parents were born in Nepal where they grew up in strict households that did not understand that having a creative ‘right brained’ personality could be equal to being logical and numerical. Growing up in Sydney, Australia – my creativity and love for the Arts seemed to be something that my parents thought was quite peculiar. They would rather see me being ‘studious’ in the terms that math and chemistry were seen to be the ‘right’ areas of interest and drama and English, just avenues for misbehaviour. This was a MASSIVE conflict of interest.
Their upbringing in Nepal had caused them to be cynical where their worldview promoted that the ONE and the ONLY way to success is by being so blatantly left brained. Whereas, My upbringing in Australia encouraged exploring the importance of being creative and emotive. This contextual divide caused the first generation perspective to feel like fish out of water – in their lifetime they had never witnessed anyone wanting to pursue their creative intelligence let alone their own daughter. Being who I am was considered wrong. This made me feel ostracised and I felt forced to become the quintessential image of the daughter my parents had imagined.
As I grew up, however, I felt more and more angry for being me. This caused conflict within my household where I tried to persuade my parents to simply see the beauty in the what was labelled ‘abnormal’.
So, this is where we are at so far…
First generational immigrant; My PARENTS — traditionalist identity
Second generational immigrant; Myself — fluid ‘Australian’ Identity
Living within a household where I wasn’t fully allowed to express myself, I learnt to conjure two identities, ONE – at school where I was free to act as I felt and ANOTHER at home where I attempted to fit into my parents tight and misshapen mould. My parents did the same. ONE identity at home where they practised their dear traditionalist views and ANOTHER at work where their views were alienated by the laid back and forgiving Australian customs. No matter how cool living a pseudo – double life sounds like, it was extremely exhausting to merge in and out of identities.
In my final year of high school, after doing just that for eighteen years – I came across English scholar Homi Bhabha and his theory of the Third Space. Bhabha’s Third Space provides a framework to represent hybridised identities that have emerged in the global age. He says “hybridity does not trace two original moments from which the third emerges, rather hybridity enables other positions to emerge” concluding that the search for identity can no longer be a singular pursuit but rather must divulge into a collision of multiple identities.
By shifting in and out of identities, creating and adjusting to lots of conflict and disagreement, by testing and destroying comfort zones – I am now going to university to study journalism, my lifelong passion. This has to mean something right. It means that my parents have become accepting of my creative onset, and in turn, I have acknowledged and understood the core principles behind their worldview. That through all this a hybrid identity has been created where both parties have taken elements from their native and foreign cultures and created a third identity – a hybrid identity.
This is a common struggle among many immigrant households and it is one that both our parents and us millennials must understand to be able to move past opposite worldviews and forge a third – more accepting hybrid identity.