I have never really encountered racism before. I grew up in a predominantly white town in central NSW in Australia. No black kids, no latino kids, five asian kids (I counted them). I didn’t think racism was something that still existed.
We have Christmas, the occasional bush dance and the town show, but being from such a bland cultural beginning I craved ritual and tradition and all things foreign. At university I lived in the dorm for foreign kids. I loved the difference. But we were a pretty tight crew living in a university town, not a lot of racism.
Once on a train in Berlin a guy with huge black boots and white laces yelled at me to get out of his country if I couldn’t speak Germany and in the UK doing pub work I got told to go back to my own country and stop stealing English jobs but that isn’t exactly the same as racism.
It wasn’t until I came to Nepal that I actually saw racism. Its ugly. When someone is filled with so much hate over something so insignificant their face is changed. It hurts to look at. You can almost feel the black cloudhanging over them.
There are three types of racism here in Nepal. The first type I face a lot, the “you are foreign and therefore you must an easy woman with plenty of money”. Mostly I get this from men in stores who are simultaneously trying to charge me three times the local price and touch my arse. This kind of racism is just uneducated, as more foreigners choose Nepal as their home the view will change. And I worked in English and Aussie bars, I know how to handle ignorant men, so this form doesn’t bother me that much.
The second type is “Indian Hating”. This is like a sport in Nepal. It is completely acceptable in most circles to announce your hatred for Indians and all things Indian (usually while cheering for the Indian cricket team). I don’t understand Indian Hating at all. Many Nepalese head to India to work, we all have family there, everyone loves the movies and the food, what is the problem exactly? Is it because they have more money?
The last type is “Nepalese hating Nepalese”. I find this the most distressing. I have friends, an English-Nepali couple. When they visited last they could not get a hotel room in Thamel because of the growing ‘No Nepalese’ policy. They searched for an hour and where told in many places either there was no rooms or blatantly that there were no Nepalese allowed.
We had this happen to us when I was looking for hotels for my parents to stay in. Everything was booked out until we mentioned the room was actually for two white people not the mixed race couple standing at the desk suddenly they just happened to have rooms.
People justify the “No Nepalese” policy in their hotels with the most ridiculous logic.
“It is fine not to allow Nepalese in hotel because they can stay in their own homes” – If this was an option they probably wouldn’t be looking for a hotel?
“Nepalese are too dirty to stay in hotels” – ummmm have you seen some of the dirty hippies getting around Thamel? Why not just have a sign saying no dirty people?
“Foreigners don’t want to stay in the same hotels as Nepalese” – if this was a problem then why would foreigners come to Nepal?
Whatever the reason it is still ugly and unjustified. I don’t understand how people can be so horrible.