No matter who you are, you see or experience some form of racism in your life. Chances of such experiences for people who travel are high.
Below I am sharing some racist experiences I have had in the past.
Location: Sydney, Australia back in 2010
I was part of a business delegation from India to Australia. We traveled to Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Perth. My friend (CEO of another Technopark company) and I decided to stay in Sydney for two more weeks for finishing up some meetings and discussions. It was a daily routine after a long day of meetings, we meet in the evening at the hotel lobby and go for dinner together and have a drink or two. Of course, we tried different cuisine but the bar of choice to have a beer or glass was the same for past three days.
As usual, we had our dinner, walking to the bar in Sydney CBD. We were stopped at the front, and a man asked
“Do you have a reservation?” I humbly replied, “No, we are just heading to the bar.” Same time the man asked a guy standing next to us a caucasian white, and he also replied: “No I don’t have a reservation, just heading to the bar.”
Next question sparked interest for me “What is your Nationality?” (Even today I swear to god, he should have asked for an ID than this dump question)
My friend and I replied “We are Indians,” the guy next to us said “UK.”
Then the most obvious – “We cannot let you in, sorry”; turning to the UK white man, please go in sir.
My friend and I walked backed to the hotel, of course, we found another place to have a beer. But I had a lot of unanswered questions. It’s stupid to believe one person’s racist mind is a country’s voice. But this incident influenced me to settle later in the United States, set up the subsidiary of Confianz in the US and never travel to Australia. My friend, of course, started his subsidiary business in Australia and he is successful in that country.
Location: Charlotte, North Carolina 2012
I am having dinner at a restaurant close to the Freedom Park. NBA games are on all the LED screens. I like football but not a big follower of basketball. Past few months I am having food from this restaurant, I see this senior every day sitting there and having a beer, while I eat. I just asked him – “do you like NBA or NCAA more??”
The answer was “No, I hate both of them because there are black people in there.”
I froze for a second listening to his reply but boldly asked him “That is a fucking racist, do you know that?.”
He just smiled !!!
Location: Belmont, North Carolina 2015
I am living in Belmont for a few years now. It’s a small beautiful city, and almost everyone knows my family and me, what Confianz do, etc.
I walked into the restaurant for a meeting, a friend of mine introduced me to a new guy. I still remember the introduction was like – This is Anoop, Originally from India, he runs a global computer software business, he is always busy.
I offered this person a handshake and introduced myself. The first question that came out of his mouth was “When are you going to Afghanistan to be part of fucking Taliban?”
I took two steps backward, looked at his face one more time and just smiled and walked away. In the following days, the same question he asked me, maybe three times in total. I told the owner of the business and the manager I am not happy if he ever asks that question again. The problem was fixed by some of my local friends here, and he came and apologized to me.
Funniest thing is, people think Racism exists only in Western World. But truth be told, Asian countries are worst.
In fact, I am not ashamed to say that India is one of the most racist countries in the World. The only difference is, it is not just skin color, it is how much money you have, what car you drive, your cast, how clean your dress is, what is your profession, etc.
Try this experiment, go to a city where people doesn’t recognize you. You dress well in both occasions; the only difference is on day one you reach there in a beat-up old Maruti 800 and day 2 arrive there in a Mercedes S class Benz. See the difference in treatment you get.
This article by an African-American who visited India is an eye opener.
Unfortunately in India, if you are a foreigner and if you are white, you get a lot of respect from people. But if you are dark colored, it’s entirely different.
Location: Dubai Airport Immigration Department 2010
I have been traveling for some time for business purposes and visited Dubai to meet a customer. At the immigration, this officer is giving me a hard time, first of all, his retina scanner device is not working properly, and he is yelling at me. I was wearing a jeans and buttons down shirt. Somehow I cleared the immigration, and I was feeling crazy.
Next trip to Dubai, I made some differences.
Origin Airport – JFK, New York
I dressed up in a suit and tie for a 17hour flight.
I went to immigration, the moment they found I am a businessman and lived in the United States, I am getting VIP treatment. The officer was so curious to know whether I am planning to setup a subsidiary of the US business in Dubai, even suggested where I should go. The same happened to me in many Middle Eastern airports, when you are visiting from the United States, or carry a US passport you will be treated very well.
The purpose of this blog post is not to insult anyone or say bad about any country; rather I am documenting every interesting thing that happened during my travel. Apart from work, my only other hobbies are reading and writing.
But I hope, Someday the human race will treat each other a lot better and equal, in spite of religion, cast, sex, color, wealth, etc.
Next blog will be on “Funny and nasty things people do inside a plane.”