NOTE: Since I wrote that last post, I had some time to think and I decided to open up this issue with a few people. From my conversations, this is what I think…
I realize that I may have gone a bit too far when I accused the people of India of being ‘racist bullies.’ By definition the term bully refers to an act [by the bully] that is intentional [towards the victim]. I honestly do not think that the actions [i.e. stares] of the Indian people are fully intentional. Rather, it is conditional.
Although each Fulbright ETA works in his/her own school, it helps a lot that we have each other to talk to about different techniques/our frustrations, etc. One night, Carolina [ETA] and I started talking about the different idea and issues we want to incorporate within our lessons for our students—to help make them more aware about different issues. I told her about my bullying lesson and how it personally affected me. Before I go on, I will say that as a Hispanic, her experiences have been totally different too. All Indians associate Carolina as an Indian native as opposed to a Hispanic all because of her skin tone. It can also be frustrating when a society acknowledges you as something you are not based on looks (i.e. hair/skin color).
Going back to our conversation: following my response Carolina mentioned that for so long Indian people have been conditioned to only acknowledge people who are like them (i.e. looks/skin color). When the British colonized India, they established a mindset where lighter (whiter) skin is equivalent to wealth and power while dark (black) skin is associated with manual labor and poverty. Although the concept of the caste system is deemed extinct, this mindset still lingers because people from higher classes are lighter than those from lower classes. Additionally, people from higher castes automatically have access to better jobs and education than people of lower castes.
Even with the British gone and the caste system officially ‘abolished’ this issue/ignorance is still apparent. While Carolina talked, I could only think that despite whether one is conditioned to be a certain way, can they change? What do YOU think? What would be the process for how people can change?
*Note: Once again, I apologize for this long post. After this, I promise to go back to posting more pictures and telling you all more about interesting things that I do here in India.