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‘Privileged’ Indians

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Racist attacks are on the rise against Indians in what may be described as formerly ‘white’ countries across the globe. This runs parallel to the political rise of people of Indian origin in mostly English speaking nations. Interestingly, in many cases, the attacks are not by members of formerly dominant communities but mostly the working class, some who may not even have experienced what is described as ‘white privilege’.

Interestingly, not much of such behaviour is seen against the Chinese, another section of immigrants that is rapidly on the rise in these countries, although the racial prejudice is very much there. The reason for this is partly that Indians are seen to be ‘stealing’ jobs that locals feel are theirs by right. Not a day passes when there is news of some Indian taking over as the CEO of a major corporation and getting paid an enormous salary. From here down to being more successful at running small time businesses, the Indians are rapidly getting ahead. They excel at the new type of jobs such as in the software industry, while traditional factory jobs that ‘locals’ depend on are tapering out.

There is resentment against the Chinese also, particularly in countries like New Zealand and Australia, for buying up real estate, thereby raising property prices for locals. However, this does not reflect in open racial attacks because the Dragon is looking over their shoulder from not very far away. Also, there is great dependence on Chinese products and trade. In contrast, Indians are seen as a ‘soft’ target mostly everywhere because of their mild personal attitudes and accommodating nature. Nobody thinks that troubling the Indians is going to have any serious repercussions.

There are two ways the Indian communities can correct this situation. First, by launching publicity campaigns to correct their image by making available hard data about the value-addition they have made to the host nations. Secondly, like the Parsis in India, they should practice philanthropy as a community and not just at the individual, unostentatious level. The Sikhs do this but others should also climb on to the bandwagon. The resentment will disappear if there is such ‘inclusive’ activity involving the less privileged local communities. India, as a nation, should also take a hard stand at the diplomatic level against the targeting of its people.