a reply to: Paul911GT3
Yeah, hands down the most racist stuff I've ever seen was when I was in the UAE for business. I have also seen it in a few Asian countries I've been
to, however it's not as in your face as it was in the UAE.
Now as a white guy I didn't have racism directed at me, but at a colleague of mine from India who was also working on this project with me. We're
working with a controls manufacturer that is present in most oil refineries, so we're there to do a cyber security assessment. When we first arrive on
site we get a 1 week visitors badge, but we've got 3 more months to go there, so they are processing a 3 month badge for us that would be ready the
We show up Sunday AM and the 3 month badges have been printed with the wrong dates on them, the guard was apologetic and said he would have new ones
printed up ready for that afternoon. In the meantime he sticks his head out of the office and tells the guys at the gate to let us through because we
had been cleared. About 45 minutes later we're in the office and getting started on the days work, and a guy in a uniform comes in asking if we have
passes on us, we of course do not. In a very no nonsense tone he tells us to go back to the gate, so we head that way.
Maybe a 10 minute walk to the gate and by the time we get there, there has to be 15 people running around like the building is on fire, trying to
figure out how we got through security without a pass. Luckily for us the guy that let us in was still there and he spoke up. We were there for 3 more
months and never saw that guy again. We're told to sit on one of the sofa's in the office and wait.
20 minutes go by and the guy in the uniform shows up, turns out he's the head of security for the site. He comes over to us and turns to me, and in
probably the most conciliatory tones possible he's apologizing to me for the misunderstanding. No big deal to me and I understand why they reacted the
way they did. He then turns to my colleague and you can see a transformation happen, from nice apologetic Arab man, to the type of guy you see yelling
death to America on the TV. He proceeds to threaten the life of my colleague and his family (who live in the UAE), berating him for being a drag on
their society, and various other insults.
We're told to wait longer while they print out a day pass for us as the guy walks off. He comes back with the passes and proceeds to hand mine over
and we get into a discussion about how he went to the University of Oregon, and how much he misses some things about being in the states. He turns to
my colleague again and the same demeanor shift goes up, my colleague is once again threatened several times as well as insulted.
We leave the guard office and my colleague turns to me and says "And you think they don't like white American's here? No, they don't like me here."
If that was a one-off I could see chalking it up to a jackass with a bit more power than he should have, but it wasn't.
A couple of months later I'm with my boss at our local contacts office talking about staffing some of our upcoming projects. This man, who to me
seemed quite polite based on the times I had met him, says this; "I don't know how else to say this, but we want more people who look like Matt and
Jeff (names changed), and less who look like Rakesh (also changed)." This is of course against our company policy, but also of course, hands are
shaken and contracts signed. I brought this up to HR when back in the states and nothing happened, big part of why I left that job.
Finally, at the end of my 6 months there working it's time to fly home. I go to the airport in Abu Dhabi and am waiting in a line probably 50 people
deep. There's one woman checking people in and several closed counters as it's 6 am. I wait maybe 2 minutes, a door behind the desks opens and a lady
comes out to start checking more people in, or so I think. The new lady sees me glance in that direction and waves me over, now of course seeing that
there's a new open line others in line start to drift that way as well. She proceeds to yell at them and single me out. My baggage is checked, I have
my ticket, and she gives me directions to my gate...and then proceeds to shut her workstation down and go back into the back room.
Now this is only 3 examples of the outright racism I experienced there, there are quite a few others. I also have several stories about some not quite
as overt racism experienced in a few Asian countries.
I'm from the south, born in Charleston as a matter of fact, and have lived most of my life in the south, with the exception of overseas while my
parents were in the military. I was also born in the 80's, so after a lot of the racial tensions of the 60's. I had never in my entire life seen
anything like this until I was an adult and left the US for business, not in any single 1k person town in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina,
Georgia, etc. I won't say we don't have a race issue in this country as we clearly do, but I will say that until you've seen it in other countries,
you don't quite have the same appreciation for how much less racist we are here.