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Child of Two Worlds

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"You will always be a child of two worlds. I am grateful for this, and for you."
Sarek to Spock, Star Trek (2009)

There are two separate, perhaps opposing, communities. There is an individual who somehow claims membership in both communities. This could be because:

This gives the character a dual identity. It may be that he sees himself as a member of both communities, or he may identify more strongly with one community but potentially claim/be claimed by the other.

There are various effects this can have on the character:

  • They experiences uncertainty about their identity.
  • They are expelled from or unable to fit in both communities.
  • They try to bridge the gap between the two communities.
  • They must seek to learn about one of their communities.
  • They may reject one side of themselves entirely, and struggle to deny its influence.

The case of total rejection is a common origin of a Hunter of His Own Kind, especially when one half is Always Chaotic Evil or there are deeper issues with one parent, but isn't exclusive to this situation. For instance, a Proud Scholar Race character raised by adoptive Proud Warrior Race parents may seek to prove themselves by becoming the most ruthless and violent warrior of the tribe.

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A Hermaphrodite in a society in which two distinct sexes are the norm might experience this, but the converse, an anomalous single-sexed being in a society in which hermaphroditism is the norm, would be a different matter.

Note that this trope is not just about identifying with multiple communities. Hobbit, Jedi, and Starfleet Officer are all identities, but a hobbit Jedi Starfleet Officer doesn't fit this trope unless his mixed identity gives him some kind of advantage, disadvantage, conundrum, or purpose in life.

Note also that this trope is about people who have dual identities due to accidents of birth or circumstance. Someone who chooses to join a community in order to enhance their diplomatic credentials would not qualify.

Often Nature Vs Nurture debates (whether in-universe or not) will come into play.

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Compare Mighty Whitey and Going Native, Mixed Ancestry, Half-Breed Discrimination. See also Wainscot Society.


Examples:

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     Anime & Manga 
  • Wicked City: Taki (human) and Makie (Black Worlder) were intentionally paired up in hopes of conceiving a child that would fulfill the terms of a peace treaty. That the conception of said child turned Makie into a Pregnant Badass was an bonus.
  • Blue Exorcist: Okumura Rin is the half breed bastard Son of Satan who was raised by an exorcist and chooses to be one himself, while struggling with both sides of his heritage and accepting both sides. The fact that a lot of people want him dead just for existing does not help.
  • Soko from Ao no Fuuin is the Queen of the Oni, but more identifies herself as human and wants to be just that. But the Oni depend on her as their leader, so she often isn't sure which side of Humans VS Oni she should be on, as both sides are not right and she is important to both of them.
  • Literally the case with Goku of Dragon Ball fame. Dragon Ball Z establishes that he was born to a savage warrior race called the Saiyans before being sent from his home planet Vegeta to conquer Earth, and that as a baby he possessed the violent temperament common to most Saiyans before a head injury turned him into the All-Loving Hero we all know and love. While he places his allegiances firmly with Earth and fights to defend it against a Saiyan invasion that includes his long-lost brother Raditz, he nonetheless makes peace with his heritage during the Namek arc, and unlocks the Super Saiyan transformation that defines the rest of the series.
  • Being a half-demon, the titular Inuyasha spent most of his early life being persecuted by demons (including his half-brother Sesshoumaru) for being weak and humans for being dangerous. While he's much more sympathetic to humans overall, trying to find acceptance (and unlock his full potential) makes up a large part of his story.
  • Sailor Moon, due to reincarnation, was raised both in the ethereal aristocracy of the Moon Kingdom and (many years later) the mundane freedom of Earth. The series ends with her choosing to remain a mortal individual instead of being subsumed into the blissful original light from which stems the moon and her magic...but this doesn't mean she's just human, either.

     Comic Books 
  • Superman:
    • Superman was born on Krypton and raised on Earth, and for a while believed he was the last Kryptonian. His struggle to reconcile both sides of his heritage would take a significant part of his history. In Man of Steel, Jor-El expresses his hopes that Superman will, in time, become the bridge between two worlds.
    • Unlike Superman, Supergirl spent most of her formative years in Krypton, and often she feels like she kind of belongs to both worlds but fits in neither. In Supergirl Vol. 5 issue #30 she mutters "[She] barely understands [Earth] and barely can remember [Krypton]". Though, in the New Krypton arc she realizes she's become more human-like without realizing, and has nightmares where crowds of Terrans and Kryptonians demand her to pick a side.
      Lana Lang: So what's it like over there?
      Supergirl: On New Krypton? It's... different. Our people are happy there. The planet itself is beautiful, too, but... It's weird, but being around other Kryptonians like my mother, I'm really starting to feel... well...
      Lana: Alien?
      Supergirl: Some of them are so different from humans, Lana. They think differently, they speak differently, they... react differently. I've been on Earth so long, it's been hard for me to fall back into being "just another Kryptonian".
    • Kon-el has some serious personal conflicts due to his biological nature as being created from Superman and Lex Luthor's DNA and the contrast between his strange early upbringing by other Cadmus manufactured beings and his later "teen" years living with the Kents in Smallville.
    • Superman's son Jonathan Kent is also one, being a half-Kryptonian, half-human child.
  • In Young Avengers, Hulkling is a half-Kree half-Skrull child of an affair between Captain Marvel and a Skrull princess. Both the Kree and Skrulls want him to lead their faction. For extra fun, the Kree and Skull despise each other and have been trying to wipe each other out for thousands of years.
  • Marvel's Asgardians have a thing to end wars with these. For example:
    • Angela and later Laussa daughters of Odin (Aesir) and Frigga (Vanir) were born to symbolize the unity of the Aesir (people of Asgard) and Vanir (people of Vanaheim) after the Vanir wars. Angela also got abducted and raised by an Angels of Heven making her a child of three worlds resulting in a lot of issues as when her true heritage comes out and the Angels unceremoniously exile her. While the Asgardians take her in gladly the ideals and thinking she brings from the Angel society clash with theirs so badly she cannot integrate herself.
    • Adopting Loki as a symbol of their victory over the Frost Giants. Let's quote him how he feels about this:
      Loki: I may have been born in Jotunheim, but I was raised in Asgard. And yet I am neither Jotun nor God. Not truly. So what exactly does that make me? For many years I pondered that question before finally realizing the answer: I am... Loki.
    • Thor himself is literally this trope as his birth mother is none other than Mother Earth herself, Gaea.
  • Kamala Khan, the second Ms Marvel, was conceived in Karachi and born in New Jersey. Her Pakistani heritage and customs make her an outside in America, but in an issue where she goes to Pakistan, she stands out by being too American. And then there's her latent Inhuman heritage...

     Fan Works 
  • Empath of Empath: The Luckiest Smurf is born a Smurf but raised as a Psyche from infancy, and thus struggles with who he wishes to identify himself as when he finds out the truth of his actual parentage.
  • Edward and Alphonse are half Ishvalan and half Amestrian actually Xerxian in Son of the Desert but fully identify with their Ishvalan heritage and are proud of it despite fearing that they will killed for it and going against cultural taboos by practicing alchemy.
  • The Child of Love: Asuka is half American, one quarter German and one quarter Japanese. She chose a Western name for her child and she gave Shinji chocolates in Valentine's Day because it's the tradition in Japan.
  • In Jacqueline Lichtenberg's Kraith stories about Spock finding his place in traditional Vulcan culture, his name means "communicates a blended tradition". It also implies "a founder of dynasties" because the ancestor for whom he is named was that.
  • A running theme for the "Junior Trinity" in the Teen Titans Our Own League novels is they are each the children of three worlds. Robin is an Al Ghul, a Wayne and (by adoption) a Kyle, Superboy is an El, a Kent, and a Luthor, and Wonder Girl is three-way hybrid of human, Amazon and Titan. Aqualad is a more traditional case, as a half-Atlantean raised as a human.

     Films — Animated 
  • Eggs from The Boxtrolls is one of these, according to his biological father at any rate: he was born a human, but raised by the boxtrolls after an attempt on his birth father's life.
  • Played with in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea. While Melody is half-mermaid and half-human ('Never been seen, never before!'/'A child is born of sea and shore!') and ultimately brings the human and mermaid communities together at the end of the film, the reason Ariel cut ties with Atlantica was because she thought keeping Melody ignorant of her mermaid heritage was the only way to save her from Morgana.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Godfather, Tom Hagen was born into a German-Irish family but raised by Sicilians. As an adult, he often acts as a buffer between the Corleones and their WASP colleagues.
  • In Thor, Odin hopes Loki will become a bridge between Asgard and Jotunheim. Instead, Loki utterly repudiates his Jotun heritage, going so far as to attempt genocide against his birth people. The fact that Odin kept it a complete secret and let Loki believe Frost Giants were monsters didn't help matters. It takes Loki several years until he can accept his heritage, portraying his adoption in a positive light in a stage play or calling himself the Prince of Asgard and the rightful King of Jotunheim in the same sentence.
  • In Blood In Blood Out, Miklo is a man of Mexican and Caucasian ethnicity, living in a Latino community but having white skin, blond hair and blue eyes. Due to this, when he joins the Mexican gang inside the prison, he convinces the gang leader to make him an infiltrator because he can blend in with the rival Aryan Brotherhood gang and go to places that are off limits to Latino and black inmates.
  • Aurora in Maleficent. As a princess, she is the rightful heir to the human kingdom's throne. However, she is raised in the woods and grows to love the fairy kingdom, and the revelation that she is a princess leaves her conflicted over which home she belongs in. In the end, she chooses both realms, and Maleficent crowns her Queen of both humans and The Fair Folk.
  • In The Namesake, Nikhil/Gogol has a complex about this that goes right down to his name. He is a Bengali born and raised in the U.S., although with strong Bengali family and cultural ties. Confusing things still further, his name Gogol is a gift from his father, a huge fan of Russian author Nikolai Gogol. His entire story reflects aspects of the experiences of young ABCD people.
  • Godzilla: In the Heisei films of The '90s, Godzilla Jr. is introduced in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II being brought up by the humans who found his egg before eventually going to live with the adult Godzilla. Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla vs. Destoroyah portray him as being much friendlier toward humans (particularly Miki Sagusa) than other Kaiju, with Vs. Destoroyah in particular showing him going out of his way not to make landfall and hurt the people onshore like his father would.

     Literature 
  • In the Earth's Children series Ayla literally dreams that her son Durc (half Clan, half Cro-Magnon) brings the two disparate communities together, but it never happens as far as we know. The series concluded in 2010 with the subplot about Durc completely unresolved. In the meantime she herself, a Cro-Mag raised in the Clan, is the catalyst for the two tribes learning to have not quite so terrible feelings towards one another.
  • One of the Star Trek Novel Verse books (I believe it was Vulcan! by Kathleen Sky) mentioned that "Spock" meant "The Uniter" in the Vulcan language. His father was, after all, the ambassador to Earth and expected his son to follow in his footsteps.
  • The title character of the Jani Kilian series was born human, but went through an idomeni religious school as part of a cultural exchange and later was rebuilt using idomeni genetic material. One of Kilian's jobs is serving as an intermediary between human and idomeni communities, and she's involved in troubleshooting problems affecting both sides.
  • Captain Carrot from Discworld is this between humans and dwarfs, being a human raised by a dwarf king. He occasionally acts as mediator between extremist factions of either. He once described himself as "the Brothers united," the Brothers in question being the legendary first man and first dwarf.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • King Benedict Justman was born from parents of House Blackwood and Bracken, two houses which share one of the most intense rivalries in all of Westeros. Both houses initially despised him, but he eventually won them over and they became his first supporters.
    • Brynden "Bloodraven" Rivers is a child of Valyrian and First Men ancestry, where said relationships are a allegedly a rarity in Westeros. And he's the one who shows how powerful a child of Valyrian and First Men heritage may turn out. He's in fact an immensely powerful greenseer and skinchanger. One could wonder how it'd be if Targaryens ever bred with Starks, and it's a very good question.
    • Theon Greyjoy was born to Balon Greyjoy of the Iron Islands, who leads a raiding people, but after his father's rebellion is put down, he is given to Eddard Stark to be raised as a ward (read, hostage), where "Ned" Stark and his house are a very honorable people. Much of Theon's arc over the books (and television show) is coming to terms with his upbringing versus his birth family.
  • In Dune, Jessica and her son Paul Atreides are both Harkonnens as well, since Jessica is really Baron Vladimir Harkonnen's daughter. Combining the Atreides and Harkonnen bloodlines was a necessary part of the Reverend Mothers' plan to sire the Kwisatz Haderach.
  • Mowgli in The Jungle Book is a human boy raised by wolves at a very young age. He winds up being cast out of the wolf pack and a human village, leading him to live by himself in the jungle. The song he sings after his victory over Shere Khan describes his liminal nature and the conflicting emotions it brings him.
  • Tarzan of the Apes: Tarzan has a story similar to Mowgli. He was born into the world of man, but raised in the wild. The Disney adaptation even has a theme song called "Two Worlds".
  • Töne Förk in Noob. He was initially groomed to take the Coalition leadership. One of his political rivals set up to make him a Puppet King at best, outright kill him at worst. Seeing a Face–Heel Turn into the Empire as the Lesser of Two Evils, he eventually decided he was the one with the best chance of uniting the two factions due to having seen the war from both sides.
  • Maia of The Goblin Emperor is half elf, half goblin, born from a loveless political marriage. While the goblins of this world are not an Always Chaotic Evil race, and rather similar to elves except for their skin colour (black opposed to the elves' white), there is some racist prejudice, and the cultures are different in some aspects. His parents' marriage failed as an attempt at diplomacy, however, Maia himself is very interested in building bridges.
  • In Warrior Cats:
    • Fireheart and his nephew Cloudtail struggle with this in the first series; Fireheart was born a kittypet but joined the Clan when he was young, and he brought Cloudtail to the Clan shortly after Cloudtail's birth. Both have to deal with prejudice from Clanborn cats, Fireheart feels torn between loyalty to his kittypet sister and his loyalty to the Clan, and Cloudtail struggles with the allure of kittypet life while learning to become a Clan warrior.
    • In the prequel series Dawn of the Clans, Thunder is the son of Clear Sky, the leader of the group of cats living in the forest, but when Clear Sky refuses to raise him, Thunder's uncle Gray Wing takes him in and raises him in the moor group. As Thunder grows he feels loyalty to the group he was raised in and views Gray Wing as a father, but also wants to earn Clear Sky's approval and feels more at home in the forest itself than on the moor, so he tries living in each group. Ultimately his relationship with Clear Sky remains rocky and he forms his own group in another part of the forest.

     Live-Action TV 
  • On Falling Skies, one of the Espheni overlords plants his genes into a pregnant Anne Glass, causing her to produce a half-human, half-Espheni daughter that the Espheni hope will bring peace between the two species. It doesn't quite work — the humans see Lexi Glass-Mason as a Creepy Child and turn against her after she starts displaying her alien heritage.
  • On Earth: Final Conflict, two of Liam Kincaid's parents are human and one is a Kimera, an alien race connected to the Taelons. Being part alien makes Liam more sympathetic to the Taelons and helps him to win Da'an's trust. He brings Da'an and the human resistance together, and tries to encourage co-operation between the two species.
  • Game of Thrones: Jon is the son of two dynasties, Stark and Targaryen, who never shared a marriage. The Starks are descendants of the First Men and former rulers of a Grim Up North kingdom. The Targaryens are descendants of a civilization of dragon riders, who came from Essos to conquer all the Seven Kingdoms. Thus, Jon is the son(g) of ice and fire, which almost fills the title of the book saga letter by letter.
  • Worf, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, is a Klingon who was raised among humans and is an officer of Starfleet, but who is strongly connected to his Klingon roots in spite of growing up far away from any of his kin. He is loyal to Starfleet and Captain Picard, but also adheres strictly to Klingon teachings of honor.
  • Ziyal wants to be a mediator in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. She's the daughter of a Bajoran woman and Gul Dukat, the Cardassian prefect at the end of Bajor's occupation, and there's still a lot of bad blood between the two species. Since her artwork has visible influences from Bajoran and Cardassian artists, she thinks it can highlight the similarities between them. She's killed before any of this can come to fruition.
  • The Law & Order episode "Pride" had a gay conservative who was trying (and somewhat succeeding) to make both the gay community and the ultra-conservative community happy.

     Music 
  • Irish folk song "The Orange and the Green" is all about this, with the singer being the son of a Protestant ("Orange", as in the Loyal Orange Institution, a Protestant fraternal order) man and Catholic ("Green") woman, and how he had to balance both religions as he grew up, attending both services each Sunday and being called a different name by each parent, along with being homeschooled because neither of them could agree on which type of school he should go to. For his part, the singer remains strictly neutral, not choosing one over the other.

     Theatre 
  • Elphaba Thropp of Wicked is word-for-word called this near the end of the show when it's discovered that while she was born in Oz to an Ozian mother, her biological father is the Wizard, who is from earth. Elphaba ends the show with no idea of her heritage at all, but this does affect her biological makeup (such as giving her green skin) and is the source of her great magical powers.

     Video Games 
  • Rune Factory 3: Micah is half-human/half-monster. Because of this, he is able to be accepted by the (mostly) humans of Sharance Village and the monsters of the Unvir settlement and help reunite them. Which was Aquaticus' plan all along.
  • Zidane in Final Fantasy IX was born an Angel of Death to cause death and destruction on Gaia but was abandoned on Gaia by Kuja so he grew to love the place and defy his creator, while still saving his kindred.
  • In Final Fantasy X, the Al Bhed are a shunned group since they freely use technology (which the rest of the Yevon-worshipping world rejects) and have spiral-shaped irises. Yuna, who is half Al Bhed, eventually brings them both together by exposing Yevon as a Scam Religion, ending its reign.
  • Discussed in Xenoblade. When plans for an alliance between the races of the Bionis (Homs, Nopon, and High Entia) surface, Melia proposes herself as a potential ambassador, since she has the privileged position of being both regent of the High Entia and of half-Homs heritage. She doesn't take the position though, and instead continues to be part of the Party of Representatives.
  • In World of Warcraft, the heir-apparent of Ironforge has the blood of the rulers of the Bronzebeard Clan and their mortal foes the Dark Iron Clan.
  • In Fire Emblem Fates, the main character Corrin was born into the royal family of Hoshido, but was raised in the court of Nohr as a member of its royal family as well, leading to the decision of which side they fight for in two of the three campaigns. Corrin is in fact the heir of a third kingdom ruled by his/her (now evil and insane) dragon god king father. Azura is in a similar position as someone born into the royal family of Nohr but raised by the Hoshidan royal family after being abducted in retaliation for Corrin's kidnapping.
  • Battleborn's Mellka is a literal one as her human father was born on Penarch while her Aelfrin mother was from Eshteni, both worlds of which were tragically darkened. Mellka's background and upbringing also makes her a child of two worlds in character. She chooses to both embrace aspects which are more nature attuned such as Eldrid beliefs of things like the fabled Old Sentinel, and her bio-gauntlet; and aspects which are less nature attuned such her clothes, gun, and hairstyle.
  • The Legend of Zelda: There have been subtle hints ever since Ocarina of Time established her nursemaid and Parental Substitute Impa as a member of the Sheikah tribe that Princess Zelda also associates with and honors the Sheikah despite being a Hylian. She spends much of that game disguised as a Sheikah, she wears a robe with the Sheikah eye emblem on it in Twilight Princess, and she is enthusiastic about researching ancient Sheikah technology in the backstory of Breath of the Wild despite the Sheikah having been banished from Hyrule prior to that point for their association with said technology.
  • In Mortal Kombat, Kitana is a princess of the realm of Edenia, but was raised as the daughter of Outworld's warlord emperor Shao Kahn. In her tower ending in Mortal Kombat 11, Kitana uses the power of Kronika's Hourglass to restore her home realm of Edenia, only to find it and its culture completely foreign to her, and realizes that while she may be an Edenian by nature, she's an Outworlder by upbringing. Kitana decides to return to ruling Outworld, but using Edenian ideals to do so.

     Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue has Junior, who is the product of Tucker (human) and "Crunchbite" (alien). Later on in Recreation, Tucker mentions that he and Junior have been working as negotiators of a sort.
    Tucker: We're like the ambassadors here or something. Humans and aliens seem more comfortable with us, since we're kind of, you know, in between.

     Western Animation 
  • Zuko of Avatar: The Last Airbender is the great-grandson of both the Fire Lord who began the Hundred Year War (on his father's side) and the Avatar who tried to stop it (on his mother's). His uncle Iroh believes that this makes him destined to reconcile the Fire Nation with the Avatar and, through him, the rest of the world. He does.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Spike is a dragon who was raised by ponies. Although he still has some draconic instincts, notably Greed, he's culturally an upper-class pony, treats Twilight Sparkle as kin, and has a serious and long-lasting romantic attraction to Rarity.
    • "Surf and/or Turf": In the wake of the 2017 movie, the Storm King's defeat has removed the threat that forced the hippogriffs of Mount Aris to use a magical pearl to transform into seaponies and hide beneath the ocean. Many have taken this opportunity to go back to their old lives, but others opted to remain underwater as seaponies. The exception to this is Terramar, a young boy who is unable to decide between the two adjoining worlds, as his mother chose to be a seapony and his father and sister to be hippogriffs, and now feels torn between the two worlds.
  • The eponymous hero of Steven Universe is a Half-Human Hybrid born from a Gem mother and a human father. He lives on Earth and interacts with the local human community and his father and is raised by his late mother's friends and comrades, the Crystal Gems. This has given him the unique advantage of being able to empathize with and befriend people from both races.
  • Season 8 of Ninjago reveals that the First Spinjitzu Master is one of these, being half-Dragon and half-Oni. This also means that Wu, Garmadon, (the First Spinjitzu Master's sons) and Lloyd (Garmadon's son) are also part Oni and Dragon.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: Prince Lotor is introduced to whispers of his half-Galra, half-Altean nature. His hand-picked female generals are also half-Galra. We find out during Season 6 that Lotor considers himself Altean and actually hates the Galra. Though how much of the latter reveal was spurred on by Quintessence exposure is unknown.

     Real Life 
  • George Takei's father had a unique position in the Japanese internment camp he was sent to along with his family after the Pearl Harbor attack. At the time, Japanese immigrants were divided into "Issei" — the first generation who'd grown up in Japan and emigrated to the USA as adults and the "Nisei" the second generation who'd been born and grown up in the USA never having lived in Japan. George's father was unique in that he straddled the two generations as he'd lived in Japan until he was twelve before he emigrated to the USA and spent his teenage years in the USA. This gave him the ability to see things from both generation's perspectives and enabled him to act as a mediator between them in the stressful conditions of the camp.
  • Ricardo Montalban was proud of his Mexican heritage but also grateful for the opportunities that the USA gave him though not blind to the stereotyping Latino actors were often subject to. He established the Nosotros Foundation to promote the cause of Latinos in the entertainment industry and gave this memorable address on stage at the Ricardo Montalban theater about the goals of the organization:
    "Mexico is my mother; the United States the best friend I will ever have. And so I dream of the day when my mother will say, 'Ricardo, you have chosen a wonderful friend.' And the day when the friend will say, 'Ricardo, you have a sensational mother.' That is why it is very important to bring us together. Brothers and sisters, love thy neighbor as thyself. And this theatre, I think, can be a little grain of sand towards that end. Here we have opened the doors not only for the opportunity of young talent to develop writers, directors, actors but also in coming together as a group in this society in which we live. Let's open a hand of friendship and love and brotherhood. That is my dream. I'll never see it complete while I'm still alive, but I think this is the beginning, and that is what makes me so happy to see this come to fruition."
  • Children of immigrants, whether they were born in the country their parents moved to or were born in the old country but moved to their new home at such a young age they don't really have any memories of their former residence, are frequently children of multiple worlds. In contemporary America those of Chinese or Indian descent are so common they have their own acronyms — ABCs (American-born Chinese) and ABCDs (American-born Confused Desis) — chiefly because their largest waves of mass migration have come relatively recently after the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished race-based quotas and made it much easier for those other than Western Europeans to immigrate. An ABCD's upbringing becomes even more complicated when you consider that India is an amalgam of hundreds of extremely different cultures, religions, languages, and creeds. It is entirely possible for an ABCD to be a child of three or more cultures at once if their parents were both from different Indian states, different religions, or both.

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