Racism - trying to get some answers !!!

I am not sure if I more humiliated or more angry at this moment, but I am definitely hurt. Nothing too heartbreaking yet not something that can be ignored.

Many a times, I have heard people complaining that they have been targets of racism in a foreign country. And each time I heard stories like these, I was nothing but confused, because I have been in the United States of America from the last 4 years and I don't have a single moment of regret. Never ever in the university that I attended, the places I worked at, or the current office that I am now - I have seen even a fraction of bias because I am a foreigner. Infact the experience has been just too good, totally un-blotched.

However, today at my gym, someone made me realize that racism does exists and it does not have to exist at the corporate or executive level, but even in the most mundane activities, one can be targeted. I see this lady everyday at the gym and in my usual manner (irrespective of whether I know a person or not, I without fail give a smile and sometimes to the extent of leaving the opposite person amused) Anyways, this lady (L) – a complete stranger and I, have been co-incidentally hitting the gym at the same time since the last 6 months and invariably everyday she doesn't not fail to knowingly ignore me. I don't mind if my smile is not returned and also that she would show no sign of recognition everyday is also excusable. I always gave her the benefit of doubt (as taught to me by my friend).But today, when I entered the gym, L was on one of the steppers and the TV was on. She had her iPod on and was gazing into the infinity obviously not watching the TV. I signaled to her asking her if I could change the channel - she took-off her ear-phones and looked at me and pretended to not understand. So I again politely asked her, if I could change the channel and then... she gave me one of the most derisive looks ever and very insolently replied - "No... I am watching it". Even if she wasn't watching it and refused to me, it would have been ok. But after sometime, a fellow-country man walked up to her and signaled at the TV. Apparently she had no problem with that anymore and very willingly handed the remote to him. Now what should I call it?

I am obviously hurt because I have never been rude to her and I can’t think of anything that I have could have ever done to set her off against me. May be I am getting a little extra sensitive here, but now that I think of her coldness towards me, I can put two and two together.

What is happening in Australia is something I totally condemn. If you are unable to give equal respect and acceptance to someone not from your country, then do not give the permission to enter in the first place. In my opinion one of the overbearing cause for these racist attacks, is the social, economic and intellectual affluence of the Indian students abroad, which brings out the inferiority complex in such violent manners.

On the same lines, the curse of racism is not only experienced by foreigners...but how different is India from within when it comes to open acceptance of people from different races? Is everyone getting everything that the democracy claims to be?
Inspite of being One-Democratic-Secular country – pedestrian jobs, college seats, higher posts are all blemished with the bias towards race.

What has happened to the so-called communal tolerance?

Is the concept of “One-World" just a fashion statement?

Is the sense of morality and equality completely non-existent?

The differences made on the basis of color, language, race, nationality, caste, sub-castes are prevalent in some form and some place almost everywhere. Instead of doing anything about it – the media makes the most buck out of this bang and we are silent observers, passive victims or mere loud noise-makers.

Neither of this helps. I am uncertain as to what to do about this, but I am sure to find out.

Please help!!!


  1. I agree with you entirely. I myself have been subjected to such racial discrimination(if not abuse). I have lived in UK( Hampshire) for 3 years and innumerable times i have experienced the difference in treatment over a white. Even our own countrymen do so. they treat us inferior to a white. i have first hand experience.
    i have written something similar.nice

  2. Nice post Neha.. I could perceive how hurting it would be.. But never transform yourself just for that lady's sake..damn! Some ppl are like that and nobody can ever change their attitudes until they experience the same..
    Make her realize what she did by being yourself and stay as sweet as you are..
    It'll definitely work.. Dun be upset..

  3. I feel strongly about the Australian cause as well. And I have been through the same incident as you because I am an Indian. Arabs here too have a lot of head weight. I have nothing to say to you that can make u feel better.

  4. i am not sure about ur case..

    but according to my sources,there is some racisism in states too.

  5. Hi Neha...I understand how you feel...although I have never been a victim of it, at least not in an obvious way...I have sensed a bias, from some...But not all are like that...And that's the key...!

    We having lived in a foreign country know now, how it feels to be in a different and alien surroundings...and how it feels to be treated differently....which is why, we will make it a point to not do that to others...We can't change the world in one day...but ever so slowly, we can be & bring the change we want to see...

    And in the meanwhile...blogging such issues is a good way to reach out, and make people aware...!

    Great post...! Keep sharing...

  6. @ZiLliOnBiG thanks for ur comments...please point me to your post..i would love to read ur experience

  7. @Mia thanks Mia..i understand that L has no importance in my life and it shouldn't bother they say...let barking dogs bark...yet it hurts when ur good actions instead of being reciprocated are being judged because u belong to a particular category...

  8. Very true, i have experienced the same when i was in UK, its disgusting!!

  9. Neha
    I am sure it must have hurt you a lot.( vahan aakar us lady se jhagda karu kya?)
    but I have heard that in US also racial discrimination is there. blacks vs whites and i was told that after certain stage Indians are not considered for promotions to higher posts.( although Obama did give some posts to Indians)
    in India also we have so much discrimination. In assam, Punjab and why go far Anti North Indians moment in aamchi Mumbai.
    every where it is there. A south Indian would prefer one of his own in his office and a Bengali would prefer his own clan.

    people talk about equality but then it is easy to preach then to practice

  10. dude, i m surprised 4 years have passed for you without realizing how prevalent racism is everywhere. Its always the undercurrent, which you have to perceive..Its not always open and overt as in your case; but can be felt everywhere. Just deal with it, We Indians are racist people too (and casteist and communalist..north/south fair/dark exists in India too. in US terms like kallua and chinki are in common used by Desi ppl..) so no use getting angry and wasting energy, unless its proving an obstacle in your path to success..

  11. maybe,but sometimes I feel that we indians are the Baap of racists ourselves.

  12. Hi Neha, I do understand your situation, well after all these years and then yu come acrs sumthing like this, it definitely hurts! But we do ignore a lot of things in life, and my advice is to just ignore this as well. I might be wrong according to some one, but i think we are all Indians and we have plenty of patience and tolerance level than the rest of the western idiocracy.
    Am here in the Uk for more than year now and everytime we play cricket in the park, there are always ppl yellin at us" yu f*** curry retarded people, get outta our country, go s*** yur own sh** " , well thats not just once but quite a couple of times.
    So there is nothing much we can do, and some of the gentle localites said, pls dont worry about those, they are mostly people who have been laid off and made redundant! so its just out of emotional agony.
    all my advice wud be to ignore the bad, as we always it ain't our fault, and there is nothing to feel bad! tak care..and sorry for such a big comment...if yu want to get lighter...just try visitin my blog!


  13. we are indians.. and so show her love even if she snubs you ...

    she myte change

  14. As Chriz said "Show her love"

    so, thodi Gandhigiri kar na, U are a Gandhi, so gandhigiri should come naturally to you.
    she will surely change.

  15. I've been living in the world's most racist country for a couple of years now... I can totally connect with you.

    Ppl here are far too 'nice' to be impolite and rude to foreigners here, but they practise racism by simply exercising exclusivity in public places such as restaurants / clubs / social events!

  16. I personally dont care about these things.... I would rather ignore...There are some people who might have a reason to do this...... but its bad when an Indian looks down to another. I have come across this in an Indian restaurant and that was the last time I visited it.

  17. It hurts when we see all these racist activities happening around the world. This continues despite the fact that the people in every country repeatedly say we treat all people alike and there would be no discrimination based cast, creed, religion etc. I wonder what will it take for people to really practice what they preach.......

  18. Nice post Neha and I am sorry you had to go through such a thing...but I guess all this stems from the fact that "people are different" and by nature humans mistrust anything that is matter where you see, if the number of humans exceed 1 in any place, there are bound to be conflicts..solution? simple...we should all live alone in cabins where nobody gets to see us- like dilbert comic strips, or we should only have one human being and rest of the population must be his/her clone(of course since I am as perfect as humans get I should suggest me, but my greatness lies in the fact that I am kill me, clone someone less perfect)!!!
    Sorry to joke about such a serious issue but I am really fed-up of seeing biases in humans- for being of the wrong religion, nation, state,color,caste, gender, financial status or age....I guess if we want a change, it has to begin with us...we should take an oath to not discriminate against anybody...regardless of what they seem to be!And not to put up with discrimination either...

  19. And forget to add...want me to bash up "L"???:)

  20. Ignore, the only thing to do. Not up t us to teach these thick skinned idiots a lesson, specially when the ugly serpent of racism exists in our own land. But for every dunce who is a racist, there are two more who are not. Lets hunt for them and seek happiness there :)

  21. ty for visiting my blog.
    about racism i have written few articles.will just put here one link for you,in your free time you can visit.

    about your question there can not be one world without end of religion and humanity should become the religion of world.

  22. First time here :) Well, can your episode at teh gym be classified as rascially motivated? Honestly speaking, I dont know.
    But as you said, if you want, you can put two and two together. Rascism does exist and you are lucky that you haven't been subjected to any in your 4 years at a foreign land.
    That being said,if it was an indian who did the same thing, would we call it rascist? maybe its just one of those things that happened and ignoring it may be the best thing because otherwise it can kill you inside.
    Also, you are spot on on being open and tolerant to different races and cultures in india.

  23. Yo Anju! Chill! One person's loss is another one's gain.
    You just continue being you, be smart and stay safe!
    I can understand that you're hurt. Believe me, I'm in Sydney and wary of the neo-hostile attitude towards us due to the recent attacks.
    But you can't change people,so no worries, mate!
    "The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit, it is about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much can you take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done" (Rocky)

  24. oops just came from yo mum's blog and addressed you as Anju! Sorry Neha!
    MEGA BLOOPER! My bad! :)

  25. @Zeba isnt it a pity that such a thing is faced by almost all of us living in an outside country...m sure u must be seeing that is a totally one-race dominated place

  26. @Suree yeah its sad but true...thnks for dropping by :)

    @Shruti at times it is better to ignore...but at some point we have do something ...u r right :)

  27. @Parita please do share ur experience...

  28. There is always an element of racism in life. Even god plays the same with us by creating different colors, race, sex and above all the mentality that forces we human beings to do such an act.

    I will be honest that I have faced racism on numerous occasion in life, but never ever have been hurt so much but for one time. I will perhaps expand on that experience later.

  29. nothing much. ignore it. you can stand up to it. but remember the other person could turn hostile and resort to violence.

    maybe it was not racism but plain and simply that the person is habitually rude.

  30. It's very important to make a distinction here...I think people should know the things which are invariably going to happen when they go outside the country..Yes if it crosses a particular line ..then it sure would qualify as racism....

    Your case ..well it's humiliating..yes ..but it ain't shocking...But that doesn't also mean that one should keep mum...there is a way of handling it tactically ...I hope you find one :)

  31. Neha, well written !

    But you have the answer in your post itself. Also, as Zubin points out, no point crying hoarse as Indians have been racists too in their own ways...

    Charity begins at home. So lets ensure we aren't doing what we blame others for.

    BTW, do you still smile at the lady? :)

  32. Hey Neha.. It pains me when i read what happened at the gym. I would have changed the channel without asking but i know how it is.. too bad we have to go through all this even after adding more than enough to their economy...

  33. Good post....Thought provoking...Ignoring is the best thing you can do...cause rascism will exist wherever you go....Its there so much in India too.......I even resent the phrase North Indian and South Indian.....what is that?????????????We are just Indians....whichever part we are from....

  34. neha,it's not just about racism if you ask me,it's about the lack of acceptance towards other caste or creed or genre..if it were racism towards the foreigners,what can we call the inhumane treatment towards many of us here?not all the indians are treated with same warmth even here.. it's just the lack of tolerance that's making ppl act violently..

  35. Tough call. It is a no brainer that racism exists - some times gross, some times very subtle, and in many cases "cultivated" out of the job losses that get triggered because of the Indian disposition.

    Having said that, we are no better. It is just that percentage wise, there are far fewer foreigners here than over there (acknowledging Gayathri's comment above). Why would the Govt come out with the video awareness scheme titled "athithi devo bhava" now. True, our culture was rooted in acceptance times ago, but it is no longer true.

    And none of this is going away any time soon - so we just need to brace ourselves with what is existing.

  36. What can I say Neha... nothing I say will erase this from your mind. Just ignore such bigots. This kind of discrimination exists everywhere.When you meet her again, don't forget to give her a big smile. Shame her into behaving better.

  37. @ZK ya i know... its odd that i had never tasted racism in my face till recently...and about indians being racist...ohhh yay ya...tell me about it...who better to know that us ourselves :D

    @sayrem u r right :(

  38. @hary hahaha...i am aware of the curry comments u know upto some extent that is true...some people smell of curry all the time

    @chriz mom also says that
    but guess m not like gandhii yaar... not so easy to ignore :(

  39. I am visiting due to meeting your Mom. Your earlier post talked about letting go. The woman ignoring you has the problem. She is rude, offensive. Let it go. You know in your heart that you are most worth of all respect. Only you can bring yourself down. You are an intelligent young woman. Don't let others' sourness, sour you. Blessings

  40. nice post there!

    really racist people should be punished badly...

    and you are again right that we inspite of being a secular state have been the victims of racism...
    I guess its a big issue which needs to be discussed at the higher level... but what we can do is keep away racism as much as we can...

  41. I agree that even in india we do not treat every one equal. Here some people are still more equal than others.
    But dear one thing i will say is, do not stop being nice after this incident. If each one of us starts protesting against this, i'm sure things will change..Well written

  42. Oh so now this is topical.......I mean the spate of attacks have increased in the recent past !!