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Pet Sins June 2001

East Asians and Europeans enjoy better treatment in India

I have been told that Europeans and East Asians, by virtue of their light skin, are generally treated with more kindness and politeness when travelling in India. This causes some degree of resentment among the natives, who feel that they are been neglected and even treated rudely in favor of foreigners.

The below incident is illustrative of this skin color privilege:

N, an Indian woman was travelling on Air India. She asked the Indian air hostess for a cup of water. The stewardess shouted angrily, "I'll get it when I have the time."

Then a white woman asked the same hostess for something non-urgent, like a blanket. The stewardess responded very sweetly, smiling and saying, "Oh I'll get it right away."


Comment from 'Singaporean'
I heard they do that on Singapore Airlines too - treat the whites better than the locals. Some of the Singapore girls kiss up to white men. One European woman even complained the air hostess was totally obsequious to her husband while completely ignoring her.

Comment from 'Chinese'
There was another incident in Winter 2000 involving a JAL flight and PRC citizens. During a flight delay, PRC Chinese were left stranded at the airport while Westerners on the same flight were given appropriate arrangements.

Comment from 'Asia traveller'
A PRC citizen has complained to me that China Airlines is also guilty of treating Europeans very nicely while behaving rudely towards Chinese. And the stewardesses on the Korean carrier Asiana were also alleged to have shown bad attitudes to fellow Asians while behaving nicely towards Europeans.