Youths Share Experiences with Discrimination
A study published in a recent issue of the journal Frontiers in Public Health offers a revealing look at the ethnic and racial discrimination that young Indian- Americans face in the United States. The research team at Texas A & M University interviewed nine secondgeneration Indian-American adolescents aged 12 to 17 from the Southwestern region of the U.S.
After Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, one youth said that his classmates in sixth grade were “really glad ‘cause they thought that he would build a wall to kick out all the Mexican people and the Indian people... they talk a lot about Indians and how they’re part of ISIS or something.”
Participants recalled how their classmates sometimes mocked their religion and food. Regarding Indian food, “some people have said things like ‘it’s gross’ or ‘it’s weird’ or ‘it smells really bad,’” a survey participant said.
The stereotype of Indians excelling in academics also affects youths, particularly those who fall short of the high standard. One participant reported being hurt by comments such as, “You’re Indian, you’re supposed to be doing good... you’re supposed to have an ‘A’”
The youths revealed that they often struggle with their identity. “If I go out in public in the world, then everyone will look at me as Indian,” one participant said. “They will never look at me as Indian-American.... Me personally, I’m Indian-American because I know that. I know my experiences; they aren’t Indian, they’re Indian American.”
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Compiled and partly written by Indian humorist MELVIN DURAI, author of the novel Bala Takes the Plunge.
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