The latest incident in Kansas, America has led to Indians coming up with a plan on how to be safe, it is - speak in English, stop speaking in your mother tongue or stop going to crowded bars where you can come in contact with Americans. Does this mean, stay out of sight?

 

But does the Telangana American Telugu Association realise that just by speaking in English, or dressing like the native there, one does not fit in. The Indian, a foreigner, will always be feared by Americans.

 

Thanks to US President Donald Trump, the American fear of immigrants and terrorists have been legitimised. The terrorist attacks on September 11 on the World Trade Center was enough to shake the confidence of Americans. A Time article mentions some statistics regarding this fear of immigrants in the USA. 47% of Americans said they are “somewhat worried” or “very worried” that they or someone in their family will be a victim of terrorism. About 26% of Americans worried about immigration are most concerned with national security.

 

The USA has long been a destination for Indians seeking a better life. Yet, newcomers haven’t always been welcomed with open arms. If you were to look back at the nation’s history, immigrants have consistently been blamed for societal problems, commonly viewed with suspicion and fear and accused of lowering the quality of life for established residents (something strongly advocated by Trump in his campaign policy)

 

So Indians in America, no matter how American you become or for that matter even if you have American citizenship, you will still be mistaken for a foreigner, for a person of Arabic descent or a suspicious terrorist with a beard. How many will you confront? To who all will you explain the difference between an Indian and a terrorist? Will you even have the time?

 

The Americans have a certain mindset which has been validated by their leader and changing that will take a long time and until then, Indians in America will continue to be looked as the foreigner or the terrorist. The death of Srinivas Kuchibhotla is the not the first crime against Indian. The Sikh Community in America lives in constant fear of being mistaken for Arabs, rather terrorists. Then the fear of Muslims in America is another story all together.

 

Interestingly, America has had problems with some community or the other in their history there were the Chinese, the Japanese, the Germans, Mexicans and now Indians. Their rhetoric has always remained the same - blame the foreigner. It has always been #Americafirst and India second.