‘Go back to your country’: Racist taunts back in Trump’s America

There have been other incidents in between, of course, for all of us. Some scary, some depressing, at various locations on the globe. But easy enough to turn these into a family joke or a tune to whistle in the dark.

Written by TJ Misra | Updated: March 14, 2017 5:53 pm
Donald Trump, Trump, America, US, United states , Donald Trump's America, US racism, Racism, Racists in US, 9/11, world trade centre attack, Go back to your country, US news, world news, Indian express blogs US President Donald Trump. (File Photo)

In the weeks after 9/11, my younger sister was harassed on her high school campus.

Go back to your country.

Not in the kind of school featured on the TV show “Glee”, but on her high school campus in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was an acutely distressing time for both of us, ages 17 and 15, trying to understand that being an ABCD (American-Born Confused Desi) had become more than a teasing label from cousins in India. Trying to understand that there was no corner of the world untouched by the carcinogenic dust of the collapsed towers.

And more than fifteen years later, walking her dog through the postcard-worthy main streets of a sunny San Francisco suburb, she heard it again.

There have been other incidents in between, of course, for all of us. Some scary, some depressing, at various locations on the globe. But easy enough to turn these into a family joke or a tune to whistle in the dark.

Go back to your country.

This time, not high school students, not the relative safety of a campus. This time a grown man, menacing and erratic, following her on a public street. At the mercy of that public, she went into the nearest store, and at least what one expects of coastal Californians occurred—she was met with soothing words and sympathy.

There have also been hits to the community, attacks around the world both lethal and otherwise. Attacks that ripple through the South Asian network in the Bay Area like warnings about the Big One– the impending and inevitable major earthquake that will occur on one of the regional fault lines.

Can you be shocked without being surprised? I’m not surprised. It’s not surprising that angry people take up arms and lash out against symbols of their fear, despair, hatred…any and every poisonous feeling that bubbles over the veneered surface of human civilization.

The dictionary tells me the following: “SHOCK – [1] cause (someone) to feel surprised and upset”. The second definition:

collide violently.
“carriage after carriage shocked fiercely against the engine”

That’s how it feels to think about the men in the bar, the man in his driveway.

“Bullet after bullet shocked fiercely against their bodies”.

Maybe that definition is archaic, but I am assuaged by it nonetheless. The tweets-turned-headlines shock fiercely against my confidence and hope. But they don’t surprise me.

They scare me plenty, though, and through that anxiety pang wild streaks of guilt. Does this make me part of the problem? I could be down there, helping. But then I remind myself that Canada isn’t immune to this and never has been.

It’s not like you’re hiding out, I soothe myself. You’re not safe here either.

TJ Misra is a journalist covering the Canadian Parliament and Federal Government. She has a background in history and international affairs, and tweets @tjmisra.

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  1. S
    Mar 15, 2017 at 3:12 am
    I live in bay area and heard similar incidents. Couple of things:lt;br/gt;1. bay area is extremely democratic.. its extremely rare to find a republicanlt;br/gt;2. Verbal Attacks are on Indians and not on mid easters, Chinese, Koreans etclt;br/gt;3. Indians are the only non white community who Trump thanked for his victory and several Indian groups openly supported him against HIllarylt;br/gt;Now lets put 2 and 2 together.. Democrats are wearing Repulican mask and taunting Indians for their suport for Trump. Otherwise nothing explains why they all waited for Trump to be elected before starting their attacks. Bay area is still under a major democrat control
    1. J
      Joginder songh
      Mar 15, 2017 at 12:55 am
      World is pushed towards civil war. This is because of economy of the world. Potion is increased so much that nobody is Bothered what is happening. When civil war starts automatically potion will reduce and everything thing become normal, it may take little time ok
      1. K
        Mar 15, 2017 at 5:04 am
        you sure will not be consumed by the civil war?
        1. Mahender Goriganti
          Mar 14, 2017 at 7:22 pm
          What is this gibberish English this journo con armchair pundit is trying to say???
          1. S
            Mar 14, 2017 at 1:33 pm
            Very sad TJ! The headline and the content don't match. I very much agree with what you've written. Racism has never quite gone in the world, not yet. As you mentioned it's alive and well in Canada as well. From what my friends who emigrated to Canada tell me, much more than the United States. I feel bad that human evolution hasn't quite evolved humans to an extent where they could get past color. For you it's especially sad because you're being taunted in a place you were raised in. I don't think stringent laws are the only thing that can fix this problem.
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