Racism Is Surging in Trump’s America, and Indian-Americans Are Feeling the Brunt of It

Less that two months into President Donald Trump’s term the U.S. has seen an alarming uptick in violent, racially motivated crimes. In just the past two weeks there have been three separate shootings believed to have been motivated by bigotry. And in these cases, it is the Indian-American community feeling the brunt of the hate.

In Olathe, Kansas, two Indian men residing in the country to work at a local technology firm – and one bystander trying to deescalate the situation – were allegedly shot at a bar and grill by 51 year old Adam W. Purinton. One of the Indian men died as a result of his wounds, the other two were hospitalized.

While the police say they can’t be certain about a motive, witnesses report that Purinton shouted “Get out of my country,” before firing.

“Witnesses told the Kansas City Star and The Washington Post that Purinton was thought to have been kicked out of the bar Wednesday night before the shooting took place,” the Washington Post reports.. “‘He seemed kind of distraught,’ Garret Bohnen, a regular at Austin’s who was there that night, told The Post in an interview. ‘He started drinking pretty fast.’ He reportedly came back into the bar and hurled racial slurs at the two Indian men, including comments that suggested he thought they were of Middle Eastern descent.”

“Go back to your own country” appears to be a popular refrain before a racist shoots someone. In Washington state, a Sikh man doing car repairs in his driveway was shot in the arm by a man with a mask covering half his face.

“The victim, a 39-year-old Sikh man, was working on his vehicle in his driveway in Kent’s East Hill neighborhood about 8 p.m. Friday when he was approached by an unknown man, Kent police said, after talking with the victim,” reports the Seattle Times. “An altercation followed, with the victim saying the suspect made statements to the effect of ‘Go back to your own country.’ The victim was shot in the arm.”

While the Washington man’s injuries weren’t life threatening, 43- year old Harnish Patel was not so lucky. Patel, an owner of a convenient store in Pennsylvania, was shot once he got home from a late shift. He did not survive. While the police aren’t sure about any motive, or whether the attack was racially based, the Indian-American community is growing rightfully alarmed.

“A wave of anxiety is also sweeping through the countless families of Indian engineers working in the country. The group is under fire not only because of its immigrant status (Kuchibhotla was asked what visa he was on before being shot), but also because its members are accused of taking away jobs from US citizens,” Quartz reports. “For instance, an August 2016 video of a suburban Ohio park, shot by anti-immigrant website SaveAmericanITJobs.org, is causing unease. ‘Our walk in the park provides evidence as to who has (sic) the Jobs in this area, and they are not the citizens of Ohio,” the video’s YouTube description reads. ‘It is proof on the ground how guest workers are not only taking over jobs, but also taking away the real estate and parks. The USA Ohio IT Workers have disappeared to oblivion.’”

Indian Americans are facing the double-edged sword of being targeted both by those who only see them as brown and foreign, so potentially Muslim, or those who do understand who they are and feel that they are a threat to their economic livelihood. It’s no wonder that many immigrants are considering avoiding the U.S. in the first place, or heading back to India if they are already here. Others, however, want to stay and fight President Trump, saying they won’t let him bring the rest of the U.S. down.

“America is not just becoming dangerous for Indians, it is becoming dangerous for all people of colour. However, the society works as a pendulum and there is still hope of things working out for the better,” recent graduate Aditi Bhowmick told IBT India. “Racism has always been an aspect of society America has been grappling with. I’m not going to let Trump or anyone mess with my future plans.”

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Strphen H
Strphen H3 days ago

Since the 1400s the world has been a racist cauldron, boiling away with a thickening white scum on top. Despite a lot of fancy window-dressing, nothing has really changed. Here's a song to solidify your sudden realization of that sad fact. https://soundcloud.com/biff-thuringer/white-mans-world

Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E10 days ago

@ Dan Blossfeld
But trump and his cronies and the crowds he whipped to a frenzy gave those who only maybe THOUGHT racist thoughts PERMISSION to act on those thoughts. If the "great trump" thought those same thoughts we guess it's all OKAY now to act out.
Racism HAS been there all along, but HE verbalized it and encouraged it much like the 60's. (after all, he was around during that time too)

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld10 days ago

So true. Racism did not raise it ugly head when Trump decided to enter the race.

Michelle Spradley

One of the biggest problems is people who live to hate cannot tell the difference between an Indian and a Muslim and do not care to learn because it would require they think before they hate. Additionally, the racism problem in the US dates back to way before Trump entered politics, let alone was elected and the current upsurge started about 8 years ago.

Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld11 days ago

I am not completely sure if that. Much of this may be the copycat culture. Remember back when the media published news about rural black church burnings. Prior to the news reports, there was no issue with fires at these churches. Afterwards, there was a huge uptick in arson events. After several months, it returned to normal. I wonder how much of this is the same.

heather g
heather g11 days ago

Seems there is a strong culture of violence and racism....

Joan E
Joan E12 days ago

It is so many groups. Mexicans. Native Americans. East Indians. Jews. Muslims. Women. Sexual minorities. Trump and his KKK Cabinet are blowing their dog whistles and firing up their brainwashed followers to attack everyone who isn't them.

Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E12 days ago

@ Debbi-
Remember trump's grandfather ran a brothel in Bennettt lake here in Canada. Maybe that apple doesn't fall far from the tree in moral values

Debbi -
Debbi -12 days ago

Yes, racism is surging in America now __because of__ Trump and his crude, rude and insulting speeches at his rallies, where he incited such behavior, even encouraged it.

He does NOT want to make our reputation better; he is working to destroy our reputation. He's also working to destroy our government. Trump has no interest in animals, other than killing them, doesn't understand or trust science. He's mentally a spoiled rotten 7 yr old; the whole world should revolve around HIM. He'll never grow-up. He's old, set in his ways, like so many of us, but most of us aren't out to destroy our country. Trump's grandparent immigrated here but his grandmother wasn't happy here so they returned to Germany, but forced to return to the U.S. If his grandmother never grew to like American she could have planted the seed of hate for this country. He obviously has no love for it. His talent for conning people, "Acting Presidential," and his pathological lying together make for a psychologically unstable person. He's in our white house, and we are in danger unless we continue to protest and speak out and demand he stand by our U.S. Constitution and obey the laws. He is the president NOT our Dictator -- yet.

Chi C
Chi C.12 days ago

@Claire O W.O.W
The constitution talks about religious freedom, when you end up saying something like that are you simply against the constitution for allowing religious freedom or is the religious freedom the constitution promises only for certain groups of people but not applicable to others. I think rather than telling someone its their fault for not integrating, you should think about what is wrong with the people who don't tolerate the fact that people come from all walks of life and can't be the exact same as you. An analogy that is strong in mind right now is women and rape, according to your argument, women should have the sense to dress in a particular way because otherwise they are "asking for rape". Do you agree with that?