Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bigotry Today

Blatant prejudice is something I have limited experience with. The worst situation I ever found myself in was in a London pub as a college student. I knew from the moment I walked through the doors of the establishment that something was not right; it wasn’t the typical friendly neighborhood pub I was used to. Surrounded by angry white men, my hair was grabbed and someone hissed in my ear, “go back to the temple, you sand n---er!” I was paralyzed with shock when my friends pulled me away from my nemesis’ grasp and we ran out of the pub unscathed. They were all appalled at what happened, and I was bewildered but calm. I assured everyone that I was fine and explained how contradictory my perpetrator was. After all, “go back to the temple” attacks Hindus, and “sand n---er” refers to someone of Middle Eastern descent, but I am neither Hindu nor Middle Eastern. He saw my brown skin and Indian features and unleashed his hate, with the help of alcohol. I will never forget how blatant he was with his emotions.

Lately, I find that bigots today are much more subtle when expressing their hatred of people they don’t like the look or sound of. One of the bus drivers on my regular bus expresses her racial dislike by not responding to me or anyone who looks like me when they say “thank you” or “good night.” I was on the bus with my mother and brother recently when we noticed how she responded to a Caucasian passenger when he exited the bus, but not to us. My mother was incensed, but I brushed it off. As long as she doesn’t say or do anything derogatory that I witness, I won’t report her. When I think about it, the bigoted bus driver is being careful when expressing her racist feelings.

Racism is expressed in various ways by people of all races, religions, and cultures. What are thoughts on bigotry today?

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