Internet is not the only thing that transcends borders and boundaries. People from all around the world are rapidly transfusing and societies are going all the more multicultural. In the wake of this cultural mishmash are its own little troubles that plague the minds of the lesser ones – the lesser ones in this context are the ones hailing from less developed countries, like us for instance and one such trouble is the thing of racism.

This article is particularly inspired by an incident yesterday when a friend at work tugged at the very issue. He is an Asian, struggling for an Australian permanent residentship. He asked me if I have ever encountered or felt discriminated by the so called Aussies. I thought for a while and said it’s a possibility but I couldn’t remember at that moment. Then he elaborated on how his wife who is studying to become a doctor is suffering in her academics due to her racist professor and how she has to rewrite much of her assignments to gain her just achievement through unjust treatment. He deduces that people from the older generation are more racists than their younger counterparts. I sympathised and said that could be possible since older people have difficulty conforming to the idea of modernisation – a super speeding one at that. Imagine you are driving your old Toyota hilux at the required speed limit and you see fancy race cars on either side of your lane vamoosing to the end of the road and beyond. More than the idea of being left behind, people hate the idea of something new encroaching your territory and challenging the established norms.

Then the interesting thing happened. In the midst of our conversation, he told me to wait while an African fellow passes by us and see for myself how badly the “black” guy stinks. That coming from an alleged victim of racism or the husband of one left me gaping but I pretended to busy myself. When the guy passed, he asked me if I smelt it. I gave a stern no and stayed mum. But the guy wouldn’t give up and said my big nose was dysfunctional.

“And did you faint?” I asked him. He was puzzled and asked me what that meant.

“No smell is that bad until it makes you faint”, I said with a cheeky smile, “It’s just body odour and we all have it in varying degrees.” I fumed inwardly at the friend and felt sorry for his victim. This was not the first time he commented on the man’s body odour. The first time he said it, he said the man was a monkey.

This incident left me thinking the entire day on the issue of whether we face racism or we feel racism. We face racism when it happens for real but we feel it even when it does not happen and pretty much of the time, it’s the feeling factor served in proportion by the ever suspicious mind. And come to think of it, who is the real racist in here? It dawned on me later that day that the friend’s wife possibly did not do well in her unit simply because she did not deserve it. When I recounted the incident to my husband that evening, he told me about a certain friend of his who had remarked that racism is an easy game to play. We have it at our disposal to blame everything that happens to us in a western society as an act of racism.

And from what I have seen, it could be true.
3 Responses
  1. Tshering Says:

    What you have posted here reminds me of ethnocentrism within the country. Think of the derogatory remarks used casually or even in anger...think of group friends...Do we realize that some of us are ethnocentric? So, I'm not surprised or shocked...but yes, it's ridiculous that we point it out in others (e.g. Aussies).

  2. Kinga Choden Says:

    Dear Madam Tshering,

    If I wasn't feeling so sleepy at the time of writing this piece, I would have attempted to cover that too. But you are right, somehow discrimination is inherent in all human beings :)

    BTW, I loved your latest creative piece on that handsome and dashing dude. Far too romantic to be real. LOL

  3. Tshering Says:

    You're isn't real...just imagination...the romantic fool that I am at heart.

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