You call us 'chinky' among other such denominations. You tag our native land under an umbrella category of 'North-East' even though geography clearly defines the existence of seven different territories - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. Despite such profiling we have been at peace with it.
It's been three years now living in the national capital with that same old 'profiling' and the ever-growing prejudice. There's never been a day where I could walk on the streets without being bothered with racial slurs.
'Chinky', 'ching chong' and 'chowmein' are three of the most used denominations you associate us with. Chinky, as the dictionary tells us, is an informal and offensive term. It is a disparaging term for person of Chinese birth or descent. Do we need to explain more?
As soon as I step out of my native land onto the 'mainland India' I become an alien. I, unquestionably, become a Chinese inspite of being born in independent India. Despite sharing the same amount of childhood reading about the freedom struggles and how Gandhi became the father of the nation. Despite the fact that we sing the same national anthem with the same amount of pride and emotion. We speak hindi inspite of having our own local dialect. We too get lump on our throat when we listen to the national anthem play somewhere in the background. But what difference does it make to you. You have your mind and heart set to profile us as 'Chinese'.
The recent incident of a boy from Arunachal Pradesh being beaten to death has once again raised the issue of racial profiling, but just like the other times this outrage and attention will die sooner than you think.
Despite the uproar men on the streets continues to profile us. Barely a day after the incident I passed by two men at a market place singing 'chini mini ching chong'. At first I guessed it to be a Yo Yo Honey Singh track but I could no longer be in denial that they were teasing me. Even the aunties in salwar kameez (referring to my Haryanvi neighbors) could not think twice when gossiping 'yeh chinky log aise hi hote hai, unke saath aisa hi hona chahiye'. This is not just about today but it happens everyday. There seems to be no end to it.
Can any of the mainland Indian exchange shoes with us and see how it feels to be on the chinky side? Anyone?
Media will talk and hold debates on the issue but nothing will change. People will keep calling us names, maybe start mocking us even more, you will tease the way we look, dress or talk and to top it all you will expect us to accept the mockery.
Why? Just because we look different. Is it not possible that your very look will appear to be different to other racial community. Then does it mean you are to be mocked at?
Some people advice us to 'just ignore' but then the question pops up until when? How long should we be ignoring. There will come a point when enough will be enough.
Why do you expect us not to feel offended when called names like 'chinky', 'ching chong' and'chowmein'? Pat came the reply from a well-educated Delhi girl, "There's nothing bad in chinky. It is very normal. You are a chinky so you'll be called one". So according to her we should accept the name-callings. How convenient!
It's not just the people on streets and shopkeepers who mock us but as seen from above even well-educated mature adults fall under the same category. The demography of those who practise racial profiling ranges from a 9-year-old kid to a well-schooled teenagers. From mature graduates to well positioned professional and sadly even senior citizens.
With a demography that wide we the modest lot from the corner most part of the country feel more cornered and insecure. We don't ask you to worship us or treat us special. But you can do us a favor by putting an end to racism as a whole. The next time you see us or others passing through your shop or house think twice before you hurl a slur.