Every coin has a flip side -Part 2

DISCRIMINATION AND IGNORANCE

Everyone who visits/ lives in a foreign country faces discrimination. There are days when I get so annoyed at America. My masters cost me $40,000 (20,00,000RS). It doesn’t cost an American citizen that much. I had a very high score in TOEFL, (,university entrance test,) but I was never offered a scholarship because I am not a citizen. I was given an on campus job with hours that citizens would not work. It is illegal to work an off campus job, so I have to get all the money from India and $1=50RS. Now it is 60RS. (Talk about not being able to stretch the money). My professors used to tell me that I was the best in my class, but when I asked them for a scholarship or better paying job, they could not help me. I graduated my class with 3.75 GPA and never found a job, where as people who graduated with a 3.4 GPA found one.  It’s almost impossible for me to be a surgeon or OB, and I have to settle for doing Internal medicine or Family practice. It really doesn’t matter how high of a score I have on my test. The only thing that matters is I am not a citizen. Why do American patients not like desi doctors? It’s because they cannot understand their accents, and they cannot relate to them. D’s step mom hated when she had to see a desi doctor instead of an American doctor because she did not understand his English.

What about the language argument? Doesn’t America need the non-English speaking immigrants to speak English? Don’t people say stuff like you are in America so you have to dress like Americans? Weren’t Sikh’s harassed in America after 9/11? Sikh’s are from the state of Punjab. Indian military is mostly made of Sikhs. They are the people that defended India from terrorist attacks for decades.  9/11 was caused by terrorist. The same terrorist that Sikhs fought against for so long. Then why were American people so ignorant that they could not tell the difference between a Sikh and a terrorist? The members of Sikh community need to be revered for their sacrifices not punished. Why did France ban hijab?

I went on a vacation in June this year to hocking hills. I have seen a park ranger asking a Muslim family for their identification. The lady was wearing a hijab and she had a less than 1 year old baby with her. There were also two men with her. Why would the ranger be only interested in them of all the people? I could hear him say, “you need to come with me”.  I also heard her say “Why me? What have I done?” The cop kept saying, “Ma’am, you need to come with me.” How is it legal that a person is being racially profiled at a state park? Everyone was watching this, and no one was willing to say anything. Maybe because they thought it would be obstruction of law or something.  I thought it’s their country, it’s their rules, and we need to obey the rules if we want to live here.All I am trying to say is we made a choice to put ourselves in a foreign country, so we cannot expect to be treated as equally as their citizens. I mean, the government has a responsibility to take care of its citizens.

Talking about equality:  What about September 29th, 2011 when the President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, was stopped at JFK airport in NYC for private screening. I refer you to the following Wikipedia link under criticisms and controversies

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._P._J._Abdul_Kalam#Criticisms_and_controversies

For Pete’s sake, he is the President of India and a great man. He is an inspiration to millions of youngsters in India. You say there is no VIP treatment in America, but since when is it right to treat the president of another country like that. What would America’s reaction would be if Obama gets treated the same way? I know, declare it as an act of war. After this, I think there is no point in even discussing the SRK issue when he was treated in a similar way at an American airport. Doesn’t that look like racial profiling? When we go to a foreign land, we have to follow their rules and respect their culture. It’s easier for a single person to adapt than asking the whole community to adapt. Respect, trust, and equality are earned and do not happen overnight.

The flip side of this: Americans are very friendly and generous. They like to know more about different cultures. Some are so naïve when it comes to immigration. I saw a video on youtube, (I cannot find the link now,) this lady was saying “oh they are so poor. What’s wrong if they make some money?” I also heard someone say “Americans are so gracious. They give you a visa so you can come and marry their daughters.” (In context of desi man marrying American woman. Lol.) But that’s true. Which country allows so many immigrants to pursue their dreams? After all, it’s the land of the opportunity. They give huge sums of aid to lot of poor countries around the world. They also give a lot to private charities, send toys for Christmas to kids in developing countries, and take up projects for rebuilding a community after a disaster. On a personal note, I was hospitalized twice while in the US. I had no job, so I was able to apply for aid. I received it and ended up not having to pay anything for my medical care. I am so thankful and look forward to the day I can repay the community which took care of me when I needed it. They are very genuine when they express their feelings. They will question their government if injustice is done even on a foreign land. (I am sorry if my readers are from other countries. I cannot write much about your country’s flip side. I have not experienced it yet. But I am sure every country has a flip side)

MY OPINION: When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Right now, I am homesick, so everything about India seems to be good, and everything about America seems to be bad. I catch myself complaining about Americans a lot these days. Then, I think “Will I feel the same love for India if I permanently move back?” The answer is “no”. Why? Because then I will start searching for the negative stuff about India. I mean, why would I move to the US in the first place if I thought my life in India would be so rosy? Every country/ culture comes with good and bad. Embrace the good and ignore the bad if you want to live in peace with your surroundings. As humans we are programmed to focus on bad and not good. If we can channel our energy to see goodness, we will have a happy life. I wish the world would be perfect, and everyone is treated justly. That is not the case. The world is flawed, and everyone is not treated justly. This is the sad reality.

– to be continued…

-R.

P.S.- Thank you if  for reading. Please share your thoughts.

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11 Comments

  1. Don’t worry you are not alone, I also had to pay double for a US college even though I’m from Canada it was still considered to be international, and couldn’t legally work except work-study program which at the time only paid $5 per hour! We all had to work under the table just to survive…but I luckily did end up getting a scholarship which was helpful, maybe that was because it was a private college? I don’t know…
    And yes, the Muslims are treated so poorly in the US, especially at the border crossings. We were once behind a family, and the US officer said that the women could go through, but the men had to wait 4 hours while they checked their papers with Pakistan. It was ridiculous. There is just so much fear and ignorance in the US towards Muslims, especially after the Boston Bombers.

    Reply
    • Raina

       /  August 6, 2013

      Thank you for reading all the flip side posts. I was actually going to write only one post but the words were just flying and I could not stop.
      “D” said its better I capitalize and put all my conclusions in the beginning. If some one does not have the patience they will just read my conclusions.
      I did not like that because some of these are such sensitive issues. I did not want anyone to go through my final opinion and not know how I evolved there? It is not a good idea to leave room for misunderstandings on a global platform like internet.

      Reply
      • Just write what you feel and don’t worry about offending people…you can’t please everybody. People will get offended at anything, even that Manny mental patient got offended when I said “I love India”. As long as you say it respectfully, I wouldn’t worry about offending. It’s just opinions, that is all!

        Reply
  2. The question of desi doctors can be summed up in a few things, accent, communication and bedside manner as well as being able to relate.
    Often people are wary of doctors in any circumstance, they don’t want to be made uncomfortable or to feel stupid or ignorant and I know personally I like to build rapport with my doctor so that I can discuss all matters of my health.
    In my experience accent is not an issue for me as I have been to India, but communication, bedside manner and being able to relate are. Often Indian doctors can be arrogant, impatient and not the easy going doctors that westerners are used to…
    I am sure though with your English capabilities, exposure to Americans and kind heart this will not be a problem for you, once you do get to practice! I feel your pain though, my husband’s parents coughed the same amount up or his qualification which has proved useless, but like you he found love with a citizen – so at least has something to show for his studies!

    Racism happens everywhere, in Australia, in the US, in India…. It hurts us no matter where we go, even in India we are only safe in our region, only safe in Northern India and that too not from everyone and everything. On the anniversary of the Oak Creek shooting I am especially aware of the realities for Sikhs and I feel it as I have been there, with my husband seeing the ugly side of racial abuse…
    You know what though, it is so much worse in India for a foreigner, when we leave home I am leered at, called out to, I hardly go places far from home alone because it is a real safety issue… Even walking my son in our lane and the next in the darkness of evenings I fear what could happen as groups of men pass me by. Obama has done more to acknowledge the plight of the Sikh community than even our Sikh Prime Minister, and our Indian authorities only jump to action to mitigate any media storm after another rape or assault in Northern India… We both know of the North VS South India debate and the racism between the too as well… Fact of life that people will segregate, separate and try to belittle things different to them – we know better though, so we do better!!

    Anyway, I hope this doesn’t sound too anti-India or anti-anywhere, just throwing in some rambling counter perspective!!!
    Chin up and visit India… You have a new friend in Amritsar! 😀

    Reply
    • Raina

       /  August 6, 2013

      I am hoping my American last name can give me some browny points when I practice. I will be Dr.(american last name) so my patients will not know I am Indian until they see me in person. lol. Yep you are totally right on not being able to relate, body language and accent. I went with “D” to his school tour. We met one of the heads of the department, he is from India. I was amazed how his accent and body language is so much like an Indian. He probably lived here long enough because he is the head, but still was not able to integrate. “D” left his first school because he was not able to understand the accent of his middle eastern professor.
      It is not anti- Indian to say your personal experience. People who are the reason of your bad experience are anti- Indian because they forgot what being an Indian means. They are anti-Indian because they forgot “athidhi devobhava”. They forgot that India is a land where women are not only respected but prayed to. They forgot that India is a land where mother is above all.
      Thank you for living in our country and dealing with these jerks. Hopefully they will realize soon and change their attitudes.

      Reply
    • Raina

       /  August 6, 2013

      Counter perspective is always welcome.
      Can’t wait to come back one day but till then little me homesick eating Indian comfort food. lol.

      Reply
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