How can a white guy learn to appreciate Indian culture?
September 5, 2011 3:37 PM   Subscribe

How can I make the most of my time in Northwest London to understand Indian culture, cuisine, customs?

I'm a resident of Northwest London and in an Indian dominated part of town, but I'm a white guy. I'd love an opportunity to get to know Indian culture better, but short of walking up to someone who might be Indian (might be Pakistani) and asking "Will you be my friend and tell me all about your culture?" I don't see exactly how I can immerse myself properly. Is there an easy way for an interested white guy to become involved/interested in the British Indian culture?
posted by dougrayrankin to Society & Culture (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I had a (white) friend in college who started taking bhangra classes (just for fun), and became BFFs almost overnight with the entire south Asian population of the school. So that may be an effective method of getting your foot in the door.
posted by phunniemee at 3:44 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: My goodness, the first result for a Bhangra class on google is literally in the town where I live. Sold! (I do dance like a drunken uncle though, this will take some work).
posted by dougrayrankin at 4:20 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I do dance like a drunken uncle though

Well, you'd love Bhangra then.

But seriously, I just came into the thread to say that you need to have Indians in your social circle to do this. And the best way to do so is to get into activities that second and third generation British-Indians are involved in because they too are often trying to get a hang of their own ex-culture. Bhangra classes sound like an excellent starting point.
posted by vidur at 4:27 PM on September 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Maybe a cooking class? Dance classes are also a good idea, or tabla (drums)?

I'm an American born person with parents who came from India, and I can tell you that I have my own sense of identity, but I would be a terrible and unwilling teacher of my own culture. There's a lot that I don't know, and a lot that's specific to my own family and the area we came from.

So making some Indian buds in your social circle might not get you exactly what you're looking for, although you could learn more about their specific experiences.
posted by sweetkid at 6:16 PM on September 5, 2011

Seconding sweetkid above - you aren't going to be bonding with "indian culture" - you're going to be learning more about British-Indian culture, Northwest London Style. The two things have commonalities, but are not the same by any means.
posted by Wylla at 2:12 AM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]

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