We Love India, But Indians Don't Love Us Back, Say Africans Living In Delhi

A fortnight ago, India was shocked by the murder of Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla in the US. A couple of Indians, including one Christian priest, were attacked in Australia last week. The Indians slammed these attacks and called them hate crimes. But, the grievous attack on Nigerian students in Greater Noida once again proved that we are no better than those whom we call racists.

African
INDIANEXPRESS
Approximately,  ten thousand Africans of different nationalities live in India for work as well as studies and most of them came across racial discrimination at every stage of their lives in India. The misconception of Africans being the cannibals was one of the reasons why the locals targeted Nigerian students in Greater Noida society and thrashed him badly. Apart from being cannibals, there are several other misconceptions, these African national grapple with while trying to accommodate themselves in India. 
Here Indiatimes spoke to four African nationals who shared their experiences of living in India and how they have been subjected to racial discrimination at almost at all walks of life. Here is what they had to say.

Please understand, we are not cannibals

“Africans being cannibals is one of the major misconceptions Indians having about us and Noida’s incident was triggered in this suspicion. I am disheartened, threatened and broken to such an extent that can’t be explained. Indians need to understand that we are human like them and can’t even think of eating another human. Please understand, we are not cannibals,” said Presidoe Okuguni, an African from Eretria living in Lajpat Nagar and former president of Association of African Students in India (AASI).
Africans
AFP

Stop labelling us as drug peddlers and criminals

“Most of the Africans in India are seen as criminals. Most of the Indians think we are drug peddlers and burglars. I am not saying all of us are innocent, but for the fault of a few, all people who came to India in hope of a better life shouldn’t be seen through the prism of hatred,” Said Neguse, a JNU student.

We love India, but seldom get affection in return

“Majority of the Africans who have come here are either studying or doing small jobs. We have come here for a better life that was hard to get back in our countries. We respect people here. We follow most of the rules, even pay our rents on time, yet even the landlord often discriminate against us and sometimes pass lewd comments against us.  
Africa
FB
I have many Indian friends who love and respect me, but they were able to do so because they talked to me. Unless we don’t get fair chance to tell who we are, people will always have misconceptions against us,” said Victor, another student of Nigeria.

Yes, Indians do racially discriminate

“The colour of skin has always been the case and it will remain so. Indians do respect white people who come here as tourists, but not the Africans and it’s all because of the colour of our skin. We are laughed at, ridiculed, insulted and even in some cases like the recent one beaten badly,” said another African who didn’t wish to be named.
He has been living here in India for the last five years.

Local media further complicates the matter

“Media is something, which creates perceptions in people’s minds. Greater Noida’s incident is a classic case where media didn’t behave as it should have.
Africa
ANI
The boy was missing and media ran stories telling that the parents of the missing boy suspect Africans who might have eaten him up. Because of the stories that came out before the actual thrashing of the African national, the people or the mob got their beliefs about cemented and rest of just history. Media should instead of making out lives more miserable than what it’s now,” added  Presidoe Okuguni

Why do you complain when Indians get beaten in the West? 

Srinivas
FB
"If Indians look down at us because of the colour of our skin, why do they crib when they get insulted in Western countries. Lately, there have been some incidents of hate crimes against Indians in the US and other countries and Indian have been cribbing about those incidents on all possible platforms. We love Indians and want their love and respect in return,” said the person who wished to be anonymous.

From landlord to shopkeeper, all laugh at us

“First of all, we don’t get accommodations easily in Delhi or any other city for that matter. Even if we do, it takes a hell lot of references and then be it the landlord, shopkeeper, barber, bus conductor and you name it all end up passing comments at us in Hindi or any other language that we don’t understand. They pass comments on our ladies as well, but we overlook. If we don’t understand their language, it doesn’t mean we don’t get that we are being insulted or laughed at. Hatred is same, no matter which language you use to profess it,” said Okuguni.
Africa
PTI

Yes, we are scared

"I have heard from some of our Indian friends that most Indians get scared of us. Let me tell them that with incidents of violence like these, we are also scared of you. Every time, my landlord comes to me, I get scared for the roof over my head. Every time people in streets, metro, buses, autos and markets look at us with suspicion, we get scared.
Racism
AFP
"The brave face that we put forth showcasing we don’t care is nothing more than a facade to protect ourselves, but now that facade has started failing us and you can see the results. I want to tell Indians that all Africans, some of us perhaps are conflicted in criminal episodes, aren’t bad and we are as normal as you people. Let’s us give our prejudices against one another,” added Neguse.
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