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padnar
04-09-2009, 09:28 AM
Hi ,
Sorry it is not personal. I am not a rascist. My character is an Indian who is brought up in USA, I want to know whether she will be discriminated because she is brown in school and colleges.
Thank yu
Padma

alleycat
04-09-2009, 09:45 AM
A couple of thoughts . . .

Thais would depend a lot on the location, time period, and other factors (for example, is there an Indian community in the area, or is she the only one?). Also, for someone younger than college-age, there can be problems that aren't really discrimination. Kids often pick on other kids for all sorts of reasons (anything that makes a kid different can be a source of teasing for others; sometimes this is relatively mild, at other times it's tormenting). I think most kids gets picked on for one reason or another.

For a character in college, set in present-day, there probably wouldn't be much of an issue with discrimination at the official level, but there could be misunderstandings within a community. There is also a bit of a backlash at the moment against Indians because of companies outsourcing their call centers and tech support to India itself. This might not have a thing to do with your character since she grew up in the US, but it could be a source of some friction. I think just about everyone has a story about trying to get tech support from someone in someplace like New Delhi and finally giving up in frustration.

I don't know that that answers your question completely; I was just throwing out some things for consideration.

Summonere
04-09-2009, 05:51 PM
Depends upon the time period, and whether you mean "native American" Indian, or "East Indian," (those aforementioned natives being, presumably, western Indian). Not too far back, I imagine that anyone who did not at first glance appear American (white and western) probably found themselves discriminated against. In terms of the native American Indian types, well, there's a long and disappointing history of discrimination, there. But as recently as, oh, say the 1970s, when I was a wee tyke in school, we Indian and partial Indian kiddos were pulled out of regular classes for special ones a few times a week so that we could learn about native American Indian heritage. Why this was apparently unimportant to the other school kids I'll never know, but I can now twine yarn around some sticks like nobody's business to a make an interesting variety of household knick-knacks. Now, was this discriminatory? Not really. At least not in the way that we usually mean by that word. I just saw it as a happy opportunity to get out of the usual classes and do something different. But in my grandfather's generation, or even his father's? At one of those points or the other, they weren't allowed to speak their native lingos in school and were subject to punishment if they did. That seems pretty discriminatory.

Fast forward to my high school and college experiences, and I saw no significant discrimination whatsoever in the classroom toward E-Indians (where is Shusmita, nowadays, I wonder?), or W-Indians, or blacks, or Hispanics, or Asians. What I did see was the usual kid-like nonsense, at least in high school, that was honest ribbing of kids being kids. The few instances of what we call "discriminatory behavior," or, now, "hate speech," almost always came from those colloquially said to possess rough and questionable character.

Those things said, I do happen to have grown up in the cultural center of the universe*, so that may explain my mild experience.

----------------
* SOURCE: Hoyt Axton, Pizza Hut commercial

shokadh
04-09-2009, 06:09 PM
I grew up in an area where there were quite a few Russian immigrants and they were willing to work for the lower paying jobs, had very unique style of dress and did not (for the most part) speak anything but Russian. I had very little personal contact with them, but my grandfather, who obviously came from an older generation, lived next door to many of them and he was quite vocal about his prejudices and made fun of their culture, mannerisms and inferiority (as he saw it). Even as a child, this always appalled me and I really did not understand why he was so bigoted. I could try to explain it away as the era he grew up in, but at some point I believe we all need to take a look inside ourselves. In this sense, he never did.

As far as doing mean things to them physically--no, he never did anything like that. It was all just vocal prejudice spoken to family members, I think.

WriteKnight
04-09-2009, 06:23 PM
Not enough information to answer your question accurately. As others have stated, it will depend on the era, and the region of the US. "Brown" is a subjective description as well.

"Outsiders" and "Newcomers" to a community always have a hard time. Sometimes its their race that makes them outsiders - sometimes it's their religion, politics, nationality (NO IRISH) - whatever.

In a broad sense, racism is just a form of 'tribalism'. The root of many people's prejudices lies in the very human need to provide for their 'own'. This is tied to survival instincts - and the reason why so many people are reluctant to let go of their fears and prejudices - because it seems to serve their need for survival. Understanding the root of the need is necessary to addressing the problems.

So if your character is percieved as 'different' from the locals, then she might be welcomed as everything from a curiosity to a threat. Hard to know without more information about the setting and time period.

padnar
04-09-2009, 10:35 PM
Thanks for the response. My mc is of recent times.She is born in India . Her parents adopted her and that is why I would like to know about it.
padma

Izunya
04-09-2009, 10:41 PM
Not only do time and place matter, as other people have pointed out, it depends on whether you're talking about official or unofficial discrimination.

Here and now, with civil rights laws and a culture that considers racism a bad word, the college administration is unlikely to tell your protagonist, "No, you can't do your work-study in the AV room, you're an Indian and you might steal the equipment." They could get sued until they bleed, and they know it.

Rejected by a sorority for mysterious and unspecified reasons? Rather more possible, I'd say.

And grade school is a whole other animal. Again, the administration and the teachers are probably not going to do anything overtly discriminatory. (Probably. School systems in the US are insanely variable, and you always have the guy who became Vice Principal because he enjoys petty power-tripping.) The students are another matter. I remember that elementary school students tended to make fun of anyone with a different name; a guy named Cyril was constantly called "Cereal," and so forth. At least one time in her elementary school career, your protagonist is going to be asked something like, "What sort of a stupid name is Rani? Is that like Runny? Runny Nose?" (Adjust as appropriate for whatever her name really is.)

There will also, I suspect, be weird incidents based on profound ignorance but no particular malice, like someone who wants her to translate Spanish for them under the assumption that straight black hair and brown skin means that she's Mexican. For that, though, you'd have to ask someone who's actually a minority living in the US. I'm white; I have no direct experience with this.

Izunya

Keyan
04-09-2009, 11:10 PM
Thanks for the response. My mc is of recent times.She is born in India . Her parents adopted her and that is why I would like to know about it.
padma

If her parents are white, then she may have issues around that - be extra-sensitive to racial differences that an Indian kid with Indian parents wouldn't have. There could be identity issues to resolve, depending on how well her parents handle it.

If she's living in a big city, and it's contemporary, she's likely to face very little discrimination, though maybe get teased about difference as others have said.

If she was adopted in the 1960s or 1970s and/or lived in a small town, she probably would experience discrimination. Even things like people asking "Where are you from? Why did you come here?"

Tiger
04-09-2009, 11:28 PM
Most of the kids I grew up didn't care if I was all-Asian, or part-martian... But, there were other elements of within the public school system to be sure.

I used to get called "chink" a lot--this was back in the 70s. I'm ethnically Japanese, but I'd find that most racists were remarkably unsophisticated with regard to their perceptions of most things. Usually around December 7th, they'd start at least getting my race correct.

I would think that some kids these days might express racism based upon neither knowing nor appreciating the differences between Indians and an Arabs--let alone Muslims and Hindus--and/or, a terrorist's son or daughter from a physician's.

Just my 2

Tsu Dho Nimh
04-10-2009, 02:22 AM
Hi ,
Sorry it is not personal. I am not a rascist. My character is an Indian who is brought up in USA, I want to know whether she will be discriminated because she is brown in school and colleges.
Thank yu
Padma

When and where is the plot happening?

WriteKnight
04-10-2009, 02:33 AM
Location is an important element. Help us help you. America is a HUGE country, and much will depend on where the story is set. Small town? BIG city? Community College? State University? Private College?

We can't be of much help unless you give us more details.

Fullback
04-10-2009, 04:35 AM
The answer is "yes." Overt and surreptitious racism by white Americans occurs in every area of the US, so location doesn't matter. It may not be overt toward your character in the classroom, but it would certainly be part of the background and white characters would say and do racial jokes, mocking and teasing among themselves.

WriteKnight
04-10-2009, 04:47 AM
Location does matter.

Not all white Americans are racist.

Not all racists are white.

Not all racism is aimed at 'brown' people.

Not all racism will manifest itself in 'discrimination' - which in the OP's post is an undefined term.

Racism is not an "American" problem... all nations suffer from it.

hammerklavier
04-10-2009, 07:16 AM
Thanks for the response. My mc is of recent times.She is born in India . Her parents adopted her and that is why I would like to know about it.
padma


In what I've observed she would have very little trouble, especially at university. And speaking fluent unaccented English would certianly help her 'fit in' even better.

padnar
04-10-2009, 07:18 AM
Thanks for yur wonderful response . Great .
I am writing a script . There are three sisters.
Of course orphans . One is adopted in USA and the other in UK.
I am researching for my script . I always tend to write partly real and fantasy.
Padma

FinbarReilly
04-10-2009, 07:40 AM
Not only do time and place matter, as other people have pointed out, it depends on whether you're talking about official or unofficial discrimination.
However, as regards Asian Indians, there was less discrimination in the 80's than there is currently, due to outsourcing.


Here and now, with civil rights laws and a culture that considers racism a bad word, the college administration is unlikely to tell your protagonist, "No, you can't do your work-study in the AV room, you're an Indian and you might steal the equipment." They could get sued until they bleed, and they know it.
The AV department is a bad example given Bollywood influence and Indian cinematic history. An Indian student would be seen as a godsend, especially as most film students would have already had experience, even in the 80's. No offense, but the academic situation was rather good for Asian Indians. Now, if the student was looking for work-study outside the college, or even in the non-academic areas, you would be right-on...


Rejected by a sorority for mysterious and unspecified reasons? Rather more possible, I'd say.
Yep. However, the reason was more classism than racism; worth noting, but a lot of women would have been rejected for not being legacies, not coming from money, or just not having the right breeding. Of course, if the Indian girl came from a family of influence and acted it, you would see a lot of those closed doors open very wide...

[Your other points re: elementary school and being mistaken for another race are right on the mark. It's interesting how many of those incidents there are.]


Izunya

FR

FinbarReilly
04-10-2009, 07:48 AM
Thanks for yur wonderful response . Great .
I am writing a script . There are three sisters.
Of course orphans . One is adopted in USA and the other in UK.
I am researching for my script . I always tend to write partly real and fantasy.
Padma

Location is something you serious need to consider. The UK sister is going to encounter the most racism; Indians suffered horrendous racism; they were considered inferior due to only recently becoming a world power, due in large part to colonialism.

In the US, you're going to find more racism the further inland and south that you go; you would also find the East slightly more racist than in the West. The quicky version is that the East tends to be more classist, whereas the inland is going to be more xenophobic. The South simply has an interesting history (putting it nicely). The West tends to be more of a melting pot, as well as more of pioneering spirit; there are some advantages to not having longstanding traditions.

If it helps...

FR

Dommo
04-10-2009, 09:58 AM
Midwest isn't so bad racism wise. If you end up in a smaller town it's usually a brief bit of skepticism/curiosity, then everyone's pretty friendly. What typically gets you into crap in the midwest is if your family is known as being a bunch of bums or criminals(small towns have VERY long memories). It has less to do with race, and more to do with history. When you come here without any established history the people, while friendly, are typically a bit more distant until they see what type of person you are.

That's been my experience anyway.

padnar
04-12-2009, 06:16 PM
Thanks to all.
Padma

semilargeintestine
04-13-2009, 02:19 AM
Not only do time and place matter, as other people have pointed out, it depends on whether you're talking about official or unofficial discrimination.

Here and now, with civil rights laws and a culture that considers racism a bad word, the college administration is unlikely to tell your protagonist, "No, you can't do your work-study in the AV room, you're an Indian and you might steal the equipment." They could get sued until they bleed, and they know it.

Rejected by a sorority for mysterious and unspecified reasons? Rather more possible, I'd say.

And grade school is a whole other animal. Again, the administration and the teachers are probably not going to do anything overtly discriminatory. (Probably. School systems in the US are insanely variable, and you always have the guy who became Vice Principal because he enjoys petty power-tripping.) The students are another matter. I remember that elementary school students tended to make fun of anyone with a different name; a guy named Cyril was constantly called "Cereal," and so forth. At least one time in her elementary school career, your protagonist is going to be asked something like, "What sort of a stupid name is Rani? Is that like Runny? Runny Nose?" (Adjust as appropriate for whatever her name really is.)

There will also, I suspect, be weird incidents based on profound ignorance but no particular malice, like someone who wants her to translate Spanish for them under the assumption that straight black hair and brown skin means that she's Mexican. For that, though, you'd have to ask someone who's actually a minority living in the US. I'm white; I have no direct experience with this.

Izunya

Not necessarily. I remember in grade school, there was a teacher who constantly gave me detention and yelled at me because I was Jewish. She didn't dare fail me because that would be extremely obvious, but everyone knew why she was doing what she did. Also, sometimes I'd hear things like "Jew em down to four dollars" or the like, but it didn't bother me any more than when people say "that's so gay" to mean stupid. It is what it is, and I just feel sorry for ignorant pricks like that.

EFCollins
04-13-2009, 06:22 AM
Discrimination happens everywhere, yes. But, there are locations in the US, and every other country, where the occurrence is heavier and some where it is a rare thing that shocks everyone. That is not to imply that there is not racism in the communities where the evidence is slim. It's not the nineteen sixties anymore. There are very few who take it to the extremes some groups once did. It's become more political (not saying IN politics, such as rallies and talk radio shows: like something a political party would do to gain votes), and even more inconspicuous. There are fewer outward displays and more snarky comments behind closed doors, talk of things that will never come to pass. There are extremists everywhere. Most times though, you have to look for it. And even then, you don't see. I learned a lot about the subject researching for a book. The people I met ranged from junkies to bikers to lawyers and doctors. And I didn't only speak to white Americans. It's in everyone, in some way or another. Racism is just another word for hate. It can be for the prettier girls, or the bigger boy whose shirt won't cover his stomach, the girl who doesn't wear the right brand of sneaker, the boy who wears glasses or the girl who was adopted from another country. It's all still just hate with its makeup on. It happens to everyone. So yes, to answer your question Padma, your character may get some comments from some simple, close-minded people. She may be made fun of. Or she may not. It depends all on what type of region she lives in. Some are more covert in their disdain. Some don't care to let fly with any comment they can think of. If you are writing a book, you can make that something she has to deal with and it be believable. It's not unheard of. But, you have to get it just right. Hope this helps some.

Peace and love
~Ellen