During one of my business trips to India, I ran into a delightful Caucasian fellow. Both he and I were fighting similar battles with the incompetent Indian bureaucrats. As we compared notes of our struggles, it became clear that he was having a much easier time of it than me.
I had to spend hours in stuffy, hot waiting rooms for a quick word with an official whereas he was invited right in and even treated with smiles and cold drinks. At one point, he laughed and confided in me, “Pravin, I am benefiting from reverse racism in your country. My white skin makes it infinitely easier to get my way in most places.”
I had a sudden flashback of a host of incidents where waiters and shopkeepers would abruptly leave me to attend on a white man that had just walked in. Most of my fellow brown Indians lived through similar experiences and came to accept that as just a fact of life.
In the midst of sorting through my humiliating memories, I couldn’t, however, help but admire my Caucasian friend’s honesty. At least he was aware of the fact that his skin color was responsible for his advantages. He could have just as easily attributed these advantages to innate attributes such as superior intelligence, charisma or civilized manners.
Genuine eradication of racism, I believe, will come when the privileged races come to realize the price one pays for privilege.