What Ferguson means to an international student in the US

You approach the immigration counter at the JFK airport. The black immigration officer looks at your passports and starts talking about smelly Koreans, Indians, and Mexicans. He seems repulsed with the fish that the Koreans supposedly carry when they try to clear immigration formalities. You and your partner look puzzled and try to smile as politely as possible. After all, you don’t want to bungle up this last hurdle before entering “the land of milk and honey,” as the immigration officer alludes to your aspirations.


You start tentatively and look to make friends among your cohorts, who attend one common course in the first year. This is to build ‘collegiality’ among members of the cohort. You get close to a few male and female cohort members. One day before the class starts, you speak to XXX, a white American female student from the Midwest. She tells you that as many as five Indian men proposed marriage to her because they wanted a Green Card. You are stunned and wonder if you should have mentioned you are already married.


You take a consortium class at Columbia. One day you feel like grabbing a coffee before entering the class. The Starbucks right opposite is packed, as always. You wait in line for your turn. A middle-aged white man pulls close and tells you, “Go back to the fu**ing place you came from.” He leaves abruptly before you can regain your composure. The white elderly woman standing behind you asks gently, “Are you alright?” You wonder if she would have asked you the same if you had decided to punch the man on his face…

Read the whole piece on Cafe Dissensus Everyday

This entry was posted in Caste, City, Communalism, Dalit, India, Indian Muslim, Labor, New York City, US, Violence and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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