My Thoughts On Casual Racism As A Northeastern Student In Delhi

Curiosity is by far one of the most amusing terms coined in the nature and history of human beings. It is the reason for great discoveries, inventions, comforts and in many cases, awkward circumstances. And maybe it’s this curiosity that leads to the question asked by many from Delhi: “Kya aap China se ho?” or “Kya aap Nepali ho?”—which roughly translates to “Are you from China?” and “Are you from Nepal?” respectively. (Keeping in mind for those who don’t know that most of the people from north-east India have Mongoloid features unlike the rest of the country). It bears no offence to anyone belonging to any ethnicity, but the question reflects a bunch of things at once, which can begin from the ignorance of people in mainland to the timid nature of north-easterners.

For my stay in Delhi till date I’ve personally faced such circumstances where I was compelled to draw myself off a conversation because of the typical questions asked by the opposite party. I don’t know if they ask the questions with genuine integration or with the sarcasm embedded in it, but I do know that when it comes to personal humiliation things can be neglected, but when an entire community is being harassed or judged solely on the basis of looks, there is a need for some discretion.

“No individual is intentionally bad”, well that’s what I was taught and what I believe as an individual. We’re all simple, naïve, curious animals trying to do things that are convenient to us (more on that in articles to follow). So, keeping that perspective in mind—blaming any particular group only makes me sound ignorant—because when we analyze the given circumstances we see that the few racist lines are in many ways an indication that we are progressing. A progress which was held down by reasons such as lack of communication, scarcity of common interests and a few more.

For the part where I mentioned communication—let’s be hypothetical for a while and say—mermaids and mermen made contact with our world, naturally we’d be curious. Few groups would promote it while few may dislike the idea of living with them; a situation where they are killed for their body parts is equally likely—proving that in the initial state curious reactions are only natural: teasing, questions, suspicion, fear being only a few of the various individual reactions. The intimidating factor here is as always—the perception, the mindset that has progressed in us, the latent potential for any conduct in future.

Featured Image source: Getty
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