Growing up in a typical Armenian family, assimilation continues to be a primary concern. My question is: How much longer are we going to fight this? Even if I don’t assimilate, I know my children will. If I invest tremendous amounts of effort to prevent my children from assimilation, then their children eventually will do it. Therefore, if it is bound to happen anyway, what point is there in stopping the inevitable? Should we embrace this culture and become part of America’s melting pot? My father always says that the Armenian community is the only reason numerous families continue to live in Los Angeles. It is the reason why there are Armenian schools, churches, cultural centers, monuments, stores, etc. The question is however, is our community any different from the ones that previously existed throughout the United States that also spread, moved or assimilated? What makes the Los Angeles Armenians any different from the rest? It is a fact that the community which exists today isn’t going to be the same 50 years from now.
Yes, we do have Armenian private schools. But how effective are they in preserving the language? I don’t see many students coming out of Armenian private schools hurrying to buy Armenian books from local bookstores. Many don’t even converse in Armenian with their friends and language is a dominant aspect of one’s culture. What will happen to the generations to come?
Am I an Armenian American or an American Armenian? I don’t know which is more dominant yet. I feel loyalty toward this country which has nurtured and opened doors to many opportunities throughout the past ten years that I’ve lived here. I attended public schools, college and am currently continuing my education at a university. I have embraced all the democratic and liberal values of American culture. In many aspects, I may think more like an American than an Armenian. However, Armenia is my motherland. I can feel it in my veins and it is where my “yan” is buried.
I am constantly struggling with my two identities.
Where can I find a balance? I shall live and see.