Exposure Therapy: Vishwa

Vishwa Madhusudhanan, Guest Writer

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I get a racist comment thrown at me every single day. If it’s not a comment, then it‘s an action. This has happened all my life. I have gotten used to it, though it will always make me feel uncomfortable and out of place. The hardest thing that I have faced through racism is friends. White ones specifically. When you’re a kid, it’s easy, but keeping them, in the long run, is harder as you get older, especially if you have nothing in common. I am a social person, and it has been easier for me to make friends, but I still know of other Indians, and non-white people, who have never had a white friend. 

Stereotypes come with the comments. The amount of  “Indian accents” or the number of times someone tried to call me a generic Indian name makes me angry, frustrated and overly self-aware which basically ruins the entire day for me. Those are just to name a few.

Worst of all is ignorance. Some of my close friends are remarkably ignorant of their racist comments or of their ability to recognize that something someone else has done is racist. 

When I have brought up a few things with friends, they don’t see it. They say it doesn’t make sense that speaking to me in an Indian accent was insensitive. It’s the worst to see how ignorant people can be, especially if they’re the ones protesting for equality.

Not only do friends and strangers make school life difficult for non-white kids, but staff can often be equally ignorant and even outwardly racist. Teachers fuel stereotypes nearly as much as students, and their small comments provide justification for every racist student in the school. Staff, just as students, have made generalizations, painful assumptions, and blatantly biased decisions to me and in my presence. Students should feel safe around staff, not persecuted. 

Not being white has too many downfalls. If people were kind, respectful, and self-aware, I would definitely be more comfortable in school. 

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