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Living in a foreign land really has its perks sometimes. I remember my excitement when I got the scholarship to study here in India; it’s really a landmark in my life. However, I have had some challenges with racial discrimination. Nothing unexpected though.

Oddly, I’m somewhat thankful. I guess it’s partly because I have learnt to be tolerant, forgiving and I have developed an inclination to always make allowances for another person’s act of ignorance.

Actually, my experience inspired this epiphany: The challenge is as much to change the mindsets of a person who is racist as it is to advice the necessity of understanding and forgiveness from the victim.

The latter stems from the simple fact that hatred can be passed from one person to another. If the victim of racial discrimination does not get proper counselling he may become racist himself and this is usually worse in that there is an illusion of justification that comes with it.

I remember getting into a roomful of new classmates with a friend of mine and some Indian girls started laughing at us. We’re Africans and I think it takes more time to become normal to others in India than in most of the places around the world. The reason is simple really: For a lion’s share of them we’re the first Africans they have met.

In conclusion, just as uncontrolled love inspires hatred, controlled hatred inspires love. When the love you have for yourself and the sanctity of your race etc. is challenged, reacting with racism or forming some form of stereotype is just exchanging one demon for another. Instead, make allowances for others’ mistakes and play the bigger brother in exemplifying love.

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Me and my friend Yatique

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