Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The true meaning of discrimination

What is discrimination? Let me give you two examples of times when I have felt it :

Incident 1 – I am walking down a very familiar street and someone calling rude expletives from the opposite sidewalk because I am an Indian and I am in USA where I so obviously should not be according to them.

OR

Incident 2 – A very highly educated person and a person respected for their knowledge and their stand on a variety of issues writes a note in my assignment that they do not understand my numbers (large 6 – 7 figure numbers) because I have the comma in the ‘wrong’ place and removing a couple of marks from the total. All this because I am Indian and we write numbers in the British way and not the American way?

So what do you think?

19 Comments:

At March 1, 2006 at 11:25:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both incidents do not constitute discrimination. The first case is just a random hate crime. In the second case, give the guy a break, he is not used to seeing commas placed that way. Discrimination is when you're treated unfairly because of prejudice about race, ethnicity, religion etc. (Ref: Encarta dictionary). I don't agree that you were treated unfairly in either case. For example, I am a UW student. Sometimes, people hurl profanities at WSU students at the UW campus, simply because they feel they don't belong there. That is not discrimination.

 
At March 1, 2006 at 11:29:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, the second case does constitute discrimination, you fool. She has been treated unfairly! And, while I'm at it, UW sucks. Pac 10 sucks. You don't have a single team that is capable of winning the NCAAB championships this year..Looooooooosers

 
At March 2, 2006 at 10:41:00 AM EST , Blogger Meghna said...

Thanks so much, Anonymous.. I must say your comments provide so much insight!

 
At March 2, 2006 at 3:58:00 PM EST , Blogger Meghna said...

Hi once again Anonymous,

Guess what! I do not think either of those is discrimination and I particularly do not care. I have come here for a reason and I will do that irrespective of what any one thinks. But this does tell you a lot about the kind of tolerance one has towards others or rather 'Political Correctness'. Calling someone else style 'wrong' just because it is 'different' --- does not throw the person in a very good light!

 
At March 2, 2006 at 7:45:00 PM EST , Anonymous Aditya said...

I think the second incident was discriminatory - no doubt about it. As long as he gave her only a warning, it would be okay. Since he took off two points, I think it constitutes discrimination. But discrimination is everywhere. Some classes of Indians treat others badly. And before I leave,I think Amitabh is an idiot. He should have given money to some poor kid or family or sponsored medical research the way Bill Gates does.

Coming to the comment of anonymous #2, Pac 10 is pretty good, dude. It has teams like UCLA, Stanford, Arizona, each of which has won an NCAA Championship. In addition, UW is a great school - by the way, anonymous #1 probably wasn't talking about U-dub at all - he never mentions it.

I'll be setting up my on blogspace on msn spaces soon. Will post the link.

 
At March 4, 2006 at 7:25:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where in God's country do you live that you're subject to so much "discrimination"? In one of your earlier blogs too you talk about certain untoward incidents. I've been in this country for 7 years now and my experiences have been pretty positive. Why don't you use this vast amount of space that you have to talk about some experiences which show the americans in better light? Remember that we're in their country and be happy that you're in the US and not in some place like Australia.

 
At March 6, 2006 at 11:54:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, Interesting article. You may want to check out my blogspace too: spaces.msn.com/sachinsucks

-Sachin

 
At March 13, 2006 at 7:37:00 PM EST , Blogger anantha said...

Anon above Sachin: Where ever we live, discrimination is discrimination. Just because "we're in their country" it doesn't mean we need to be silent and bend over to take everything up our behinds. The world is not all pacifist and so we certainly don't need to be that way! But you feel free to do so, if you choose. Each of us use our space to highlight things that stray away from the beaten path, good or bad. If someone is good to you, that's not special, that has to be the norm. There is no need to celebrate decent behaviour.

M: As for your post, while the first incident is certainly something that won't bring fresh plaudits to American society as a whole, the second case should probably be treated gingerly. Depending on whose angle you look from/at, it could either be discriminatory or the quirk of a old (I assume he is older) man!

 
At March 14, 2006 at 1:21:00 AM EST , Anonymous Amit said...

Anti below Sachin, I don't think you've understood what anon above sachin is actually trying to say. He is not asking you to silently take everything that's dished out to you. No sir! In fact, I think he is trying to say that M should probably talk about the good things too and not only the bad treatment meted out to her by Americans. He makes a valid point when he says that we should be thankful that we are in a country where for the most part, we immigrants are treated on par with Americans. How many other countries treat Indians this well? Dubai? No. Australa? Hmmm...no. Heck, even in certain parts of India, south indians are not treated with respect.

The first incident could have occurred anywhere. When north indians hassle south indians, it's not considered racism. come on, this incident is a freak incident. just forget about it and get on with your life. come on, some random guy calls you names and what do you do? immediately go and blog about how discriminatory this country is towards you? if you think these events reflect on the discriminatory nature of the american society, then you don't know squat. if you guys think i was a bit harsh, i'm sorry about it, but i really feel that you shouldn't use the word, "discrimination" lightly.

 
At March 15, 2006 at 9:02:00 PM EST , Blogger anantha said...

Amit: Good things are taken for granted because they have to be the NORM! For example, in India, if I see a government official use the rule book to impose order, I will smile, but his actions are not to be plastered in the front page. You know why? Because he is paid to do so. But imagine if he asks me for a bribe for something that is due procedure, that needs to be highlighted even if I was the only person ever that he demanded a bribe from. I have been in places in the US where the desi community is closeted. Not only are the Americans shunned, but even Indians outside their own community/linguistic group are shunned. On the other hand, I (and M) have graduated from a university where everyone (Indian or American or Turkish or Chinese or Sri Lankan etc.) did things together and there was never a case where we felt out of place. So then when we see something different happening, we feel odd and discriminated. These things don't obviously reflect the nature of the whole American society, but it is still not the community that I would go out of the way to talk positively. I mean, its ordinary and nothing that warrants an award for harmony. So, even if it is for one minute in my entire life, if I feel that someone is showing a negative attitude to my presence, I am not gonna keep quiet, because I don't bad mouth them myself and so dont deserve to be bad-mouthed. And oh btw, about your statement about "When north indians hassle south indians..." - have you sought out South Indians and asked them how they feel about it? Or for that matter, show them the Mehmood sequences from Padosan or the Mithun scenes from Agneepath. However, am not saying that South Indians are above such things. In all those places that I mentioned above (about closed groups of desis), South Indians act in similar fashion. It is all about established (wrong) stereotypes.

M: Sorry for taking over your comment space!

 
At March 16, 2006 at 1:14:00 AM EST , Anonymous amit said...

Anti,
Yeah, probably I feel differently, since I haven't experienced anything of that sort and I guess what you're saying makes sense. Regarding your statement, " ...have you sought out South Indians and asked them how they feel about it? Or for that matter, show them the Mehmood sequences from Padosan...," would you care to clarify what you're trying to say? I didn't get your point.

-A

 
At March 16, 2006 at 12:40:00 PM EST , Blogger anantha said...

Amit: That statement refers to the North-South divide, where all South Indians are refered (rather derogatorily) to as Madrasis based on the stereotypes that Bollywood propogates. I have been in situations where ppl from Bombay (who were otherwise friendly, btw) intend to imitate how I talk to my Tam friends and know what they do? They talk with a faux accent using words like "ayyo" and emphasis on words just like the Mehmood character in Padosan or the Mithun character in Agneepath. I was trying to make a point that our behaviour is based on the stereotypes we know. Which is why I cannot believe if someone says that they have been here for n years and have not seen a case like what M mentioned in her posts, both this one and the one earlier. Its similar to a 25 year old Indian gal saying that she has never been harassed by guys ever. Can't just believe that!

 
At March 16, 2006 at 3:32:00 PM EST , Anonymous amit said...

Well, I've experienced the north indian vs. south indian thing. people make fun of south indians all the time up north. Considering that I've stayed in Delhi, I would know how bad it can be. Surprisingly, I've had it smooth in the US until now. It may have something to do with the fact that in the place where I live, people are very very liberal.

 
At March 16, 2006 at 6:44:00 PM EST , Anonymous amit said...

despite everything you have said, anti - and i don't disagree with you, I believe the word "discrimination" is not appropriate in either context. they were both random incidents and at least one of them could qualify as a hate crime.

 
At April 13, 2006 at 2:40:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Alpana said...

hey sorry, this comment is more thana month late. but it is yourfault really, you post so infrequently.
I agree with Anti. The first is discrimination, the second is not. Actually the first is racism and the second is more in the nature of sticking to a different form. it has to be done. As far as yr prof is concerned, if it is not done their way then it is wrong. Fair enough I guess. I mean you cant expect to drive on the right in the US after all can you?

 
At April 19, 2006 at 10:11:00 AM EDT , Blogger LAK said...

Well you know how profs are. i think you can put it down to his quirk. He should've just commented first and not taken off the points rightaway. or he was making it easier for himself, by taking off the points in the first instance itself so you don't make that "mistake" again!What price MS Word underlining our every other word with red squiggly lines, because we follow British spelling?

 
At June 23, 2006 at 5:19:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comeon guys and gals, no big issues with these two incidents. Indians are the biggest racists and discriminate among themselves. Punjabi won't even talk properly to Madrasi. No intercaste marriages. No intercaste friendships in real. You may be good friend to Madrasi but once a friend finds a Madrasi, he/she will dump you. INDIAN ARE BIG TIME RACISTS....In Indian villages they have hanged the newly wed on the village tree as he married a woman from different village. This happens even now in so called shining India.

 
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At February 22, 2007 at 2:04:00 PM EST , Anonymous Anonymous said...

NSU - 4efer, 5210 - rulez

 

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