Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

18 Mar 2003, 19:17 p.m.

Compare, Contrast, Cry

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2003 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

When I anticipated going to Russia, I worried that people there would discriminate against me because my skin is brown. My fears were unfounded. And now I'm worried about flying cross-country, in my own country, because I'm Indian, and I know it's reasonable!

And if Jon Carroll isn't wearing his flowing ethnic garb, I sure as heck ain't wearing mine.

My mom, to her credit, didn't give her advice until I told her I was worried. She said, "Don't volunteer anything. Answer them if they ask questions, but don't say anything extra. Just be quiet. [pause] And tell them you are a Hindu."

I only wish I could finally take advantage of my religion's history of Muslim-bashing to secure my personal safety! But, as my colleague put it, the typical security guard would respond, "Hindu? Where's that?"

Update: My mother also advises me not to let them see I'm scared. All I can hope is to seem just as nervous as everyone else.