Sunday, July 05, 2009

Why are Indians targetted ?

I am writing this article in response to the article of same name in "Times Life" (a section in the news paper Times of India) dated July 5th 2009. Most of the ideas are borrowed from this article.

Let us first enumerate what could be the major reasons why Indians are targeted:
  1. Racism and jealousy
  2. Cultural and Behavioral habits (the "Herd" mentality)
I would like to ignore the first reason and want to focus on the second reason only. Here are the points that support my assumption:
  1. Serenity Prayer
  2. My experience in Gainesville, Florida suggests that most people are comfortable with working in a multi-cultural society. Some people may not like some sect of people, but it is usually due to personal preference rather than racism (It is important to note there is a difference. Just because I am from different race or ethinicity doesnot mean the other person has to like me. It is only when the other person starts humiliating you, it is racism).
  3. Whenever there is a inter-relationship problem, it is better to start identifying the problem in yourself first and try to improve it rather than finding problems in others and blaming them for the situation.
Statistically speaking, I have seen most Indians hanging out with only Indians. There are several reasons for that:
  1. We do not want to put extra effort to understand the cultural diversity and to come up with a harmony of both Indian cultural system and the host cultural system. For example, most jokes we share with our "Indian" friends might not be funny when we share it with people from different race.
  2. Fear of rejection/intrusion: We do not take up the initiative to talk to a "non-Indian" colleague and bond with him/her. By bonding, I mean come up with a level of comfortableness, where both you and him/her can enjoy daily discussions (say sports, politics, family, etc ..). Usually, people take this initiative only when both parties have to spend a lot of time with each other as colleagues.
  3. And many more ...
The bottom line is this ... Assume non-racist environment and ignore few "racist" wise-a**. It is very important to understand and respect the host culture. Put effort to find out common trivia regarding politics, sports, etc which might be a topic of daily discussions among peers. Participate in some (host-cultural) social events, such as going to a bar, bbq, etc. Always respect the host law. And be a good guest (i.e. make the host comfortable around you) !!!

This article does not in any way suggest changing your value system. I am proud to be an Indian, and I will never change by values (eg. respecting elders, praying, helping others, etc ..). But it doesnot mean only the Indian value system is the best and all others are inferior. I think I could learn a lot from US and it is necessary to put effort to learn the host culture.

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