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US blogger draws flak for saying Indians too poor to buy iPhone; deletes account later

Instagram influencer Colleen Grady is being slammed for being "racist" after she expressed surprise that someone in “the poorest most overcrowded country” would return her lost iPhone X.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Published: January 5, 2019 2:25:35 pm
mind body colleen, us blogger racist indian post, us blogger lost iphone Instagram post, us blogger calls indian poor, viral news, indian express ‘MindBodyColleen’ visited Jaipur, recently and in a series of events she lost her ‘expensive’ iPhone X.

An American yoga instructor and travel blogger riled many online after she implied, in a recent post on Instagram, that Indians are too poor to buy an iPhone. Instagram influencer Colleen Grady was slammed for being “racist” after she expressed surprise that someone in “the poorest most overcrowded country” would return her lost iPhone X.

The blogger from Indianapolis, Indiana, shared her ordeal of how she lost her “sleek, expensive, 5-month-old iPhone X” on the streets of Jaipur. “Yep, I lost it in the poorest most overcrowded country I have ever visited and one of the most scammy tourist cities in all of India,” she wrote, adding th at she didn’t expect to get it back since the phone was “worth more money than some people in this country will have in their whole lifetime”. Anyone who finds it “probably would not even know what to do with it,” she said.

Many users found the 24-year-old’s explanation of how her host in Jaipur tried to help her “condescending”, and said it reeked of “colonial hangover”. Grady had written, “We called the family and zipped around on their motorcycles to get back to my computer to try find my iPhone. Then I found out that it is irrelevant if your phone is on airplane mode. The owner of the guesthouse left some messages to my phone in Hindi in case anyone found it. And I just was still frozen in shock.”

However, later the same day, she received a call from a local who informed her that her phone was found. “But then an hour and a half later someone called back from my phone. We raced again on a motorcycle through the chaos to meet some stranger in a dark alley to retrieve it. (All I was thinking was should I have brought my mace?) lol,” she joked.

Grady called it “miraculous” that the person who returned her phone was also an iPhone X owner. “Miraculously the person that found the phone also had an iPhone X. Now that is another miracle in itself because hardly anyone in this country has an iPhone period. They gave it back with no problems and didn’t want anything in return, just blessings.”

After the post garnered attention — and hate — online, Grady not only deleted it but also her account. However, screenshots of the post are viral on Facebook and Twitter. Users have ttargeted her for her ignorance and threatened to boycott brands if they do not stop working with Grady.

With the continued attack, she even shut down her travel website. On the front page, however, stands just an apology which too didn’t leave anyone impressed.

Grady has issued an apology for the post. “I am sorry that my words did not give clarity to the intentions in sharing my story. I had no intentions to belittle the Indian culture. The moral of the story was the blessings and gratitude I had for the Indian people who helped me in a moment of panic when losing my phone in a foreign country. I apologize the most for the amount of pure hate that this has pulled out of so many people’s hearts and spread around the world.

“Ask yourself — If you found a smart phone device on the street locked, out of service, broken, no buttons, and the software is not in your native language: would it be easy for you to find the owner and return it? For me, the answer is no. I think most of us would agree the answer is no. This has nothing to do with race, ethnicity, class, education, etc.” she said in defence.

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