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Posted On: 7 February 2009 04:05 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

Have you ever been a victim of racism?

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ame: Mohsen al-Suwaidi From: Qatar No, I have not been a victim of racism because I never put myself in a position to be a target of racism. It is up to you if you want to make yourself unique in the society you are living in; even the colour of skin is not a major factor nowadays and the election of Obama to be the president of a superpower is proof. I don’t say that there is zero per cent racism in the world, but some isolated incident here or there does not express that trend. I visited many European countries and I observed that they are open-minded people in their dealings with others and they are fully respecting other’s religions. You can see mosques there. I don’t say that they are angels but the general trend is so. The minorities themselves are to blame for trying to be unique and sometimes they have an abnormal way of behaviour or dressing and in those kinds of situations they have only themselves to blame. If you allow yourself to intervene in another’s privacy, like it is the way in our countries, so you must endure the consequences and then in fact it is not racism. LOL! So being unique demands racism? Believe it or not I feel racism towards Qataris thanks to another forum related to Qatar on the web. Name: Basel Jawad From: Armenia Yes, it happened to me once in Dubai where I was sitting in a coffee shop with my friends from different nationalities in October 2006 and I was asked to leave due to the background of my country. A group of people asked me to leave saying that I belonged to a desolate people after they realised I was an Armenian from my accent. A heated discussion on the issue followed when I heard from a man that the massacre we faced a century ago would not have taken place unless we were a hated ethnic group - as if he was trying to justify what happened. That event in the coffee shop will remain in my memory for the rest of my life because it is a clear example of racism and it is only a drop in the ocean compared with other compatriots’ experiences worldwide. However, I want to clarify also that the incident was isolated and it represented only the behaviour of a small minority of people. We will never forget how most of the Arab countries sheltered us in their own lands when millions of Armenians moved to escape the massacre. We feel grateful to them especially that they gave us citizenship. We need scholars from all religions in order to fight such phenomena and to bridge the cultural gaps between various ethnicities. Name: Victoria Joy From: Philippines The clearer form of racism which we Filipinas are facing is that most people think that we are an “easy target” for anyone and they also believe that we are easily bribed. In fact this is not true. I know that such a category gives a bad impression about the Philippine community abroad but this is not my mistake. I always wonder why there is no such impression of other Western nationalities. We also, like other nationalities, came here to support ourselves and our families. Large numbers of Filipinos and Filipinas belong to respected families even if we are not financially rich. Personally, I was a nurse in my country and now I am a secretary in Doha working to secure a living for myself with dignity. It happened to me many times that when I dealt with people nicely they misunderstood me and “started” with me off limits, like asking for my mobile number. This is almost a daily suffering and I see this as racism. The other type of racism is a differentiation in salaries. The Philippine community, males and females alike, are well known for their efficiency and accuracy in jobs. Evidently you can see most of us in accounting, restaurants and hotels. But we notice that our salaries here differ in comparison with salaries drawn by other nationalities. This is also a form of negative discrimination. Name: Grace Lisette N Boco From: Benin Yes, I was a victim of racism in 2002 when I went to a local restaurant with my husband and another couple from West Indies to celebrate our marriage anniversary. The four of us waited for almost 35 minutes without any waiter coming to us to take our order. When we asked for a waiter, one of the restaurant’s managers told us that the outlet served only Westerners and that we were unwanted in that place. The manager even called the police to evict us but to save any further embarrassment we walked out before they came. On that unfortunate day, we had neither made any noise nor behaved in any inappropriate manner, but it seems someone there did not like the colour of our skin and decided that we were “persona non grata”. That was one of the worst situations I ever faced and it will remain in my mind for ever as a scar. I hope that no one ever faced such discrimination on ethnic or colour background. Name: Shambu Narayan Das From: Nepal In my very first job after graduation, I felt I had been racially abused. In the beginning there was no, or marginal, difference in terms of salary and benefits among my colleagues. I was a member of a positive attitude team to resolve all sorts of technical issues – the bond was very strong among us. In the course of time I felt I was being sidelined by the management. I was passed over for an opportunity to go abroad for higher technical education by my company. My manager gave me a silly reply that as I was busy in the most critical of work so my name was dropped. He assured me that next year I would be the one going abroad. But after some time, in an informal gathering, he pronounced to one of my friends that the post I had in the company was more than enough for a person belonging to my community. A person from such a community should always be negated for higher technical education. Unfortunately, I was standing behind him when he was telling this. I could not sleep that night at all. I was so worried about my future in that company. The following day I went to the office and tendered my resignation letter to my manager stating that ‘I was not suitable to make a bridge between your community and mine – and you would always feel guilty about keeping me with you. Hence I have decided to leave your ‘empire’. Remember, ILQ has worked hard to support the Anti-Racism movement called Wear something Yellow!