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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Prejudices faced by immigrants in the United States

Dalal again describes the prejudices against Indian immigrants as pervasive in the United States. Verbal threats and poor health inspection ratings affected both her mental and economic capacity to survive.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

CHANDRIKA DALAL:
No. But-, when my husband (was) here with me-, when I-, we start this business-, some people-, scared us on the phone.
ANDREW JILANI:
They scared you—?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
To kill you—.
ANDREW JILANI:
What would they say?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
We (will) kill you! That's it. Same words! They say—. Keep calling you, keep calling you! If you pick up the phone, and sometimes hung up, and sometimes they say "we kill you".
ANDREW JILANI:
Hmm?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
So-, that's why I think-, it's prejudice. We don't do anybody-, anything wrong. We just come here, take business, make money, to make our daughter better life. We don't do anything-, wrong.
ANDREW JILANI:
That—.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
This is a free country. You come here, you make money, you work hard, you work two job(s), or whatever you do, you just make your money. It is a free country-, all over the world people hear. They are jealous about you, (that) they are working (at) minimum wage, and you have a property. You have a small business, and then you are-, happy.
ANDREW JILANI:
Does this still happen? Do people—?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
It still happen(s)!. I have a restaurant. I give (it to) the Chinese people. They take (it) for one year. After he run business and (was) travelling, so he leave his wife here, and that she can handle the business. She gets ‘C’ grade, still town let them to run the business-, then, her husband find out another [unclear] help for his wife—. (sigh) And-, after one year, lease is over. He begging me to take this business one more year. After I give the lease and-, after one month he come and he-, say(s) he's not interested in this business, and I say, you forced me to take this business, so you have to keep (for) one year, or you have to have to find out somebody. And then, he keep this business-, he's travelling and his wife (is) running this business with-, help-, another employee. Then he's-, er… forcing me-, to give me five years lease, so his employee-, get(s) the liquor license. And I don't trust him, because he's drinking.
ANDREW JILANI:
He's drinking?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
And that time, my daughter is working in that restaurant as a waitress. So, I know-, so-, he's begging me, and I say "no". because my lawyer say(s) (that) if you give the lease, then you have to (be) stuck with him (for) five years. And I don't want to take that chance, because my daughter (is) working there, (and) she's scared.
ANDREW JILANI:
That he's an alcoholic?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Because he's drinking-, and it's not good for (a) teenager—.
ANDREW JILANI:
To be around alcoholic people. That's right. Ahm… Chandrika, do you like Pittsboro enough, that you can consider hat your home now?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
No! Because that-, health department people, marshal people—.
ANDREW JILANI:
Who are—?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Local people, my neighbor-, they all give me so hard time, and it's a (bad) effect on my health. So—.
ANDREW JILANI:
Who are-, who are marshal people? Who are marshal people?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
It's [unclear] —.
ANDREW JILANI:
law enforcement?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Government people.
ANDREW JILANI:
Government people. Okay.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Town of Pittsboro.
ANDREW JILANI:
Town of Pittsboro?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Yes. Marshal people means-, they-, connected with health people. So, they just-, give me hard time, because I don't know the American law. I'm an Indian woman, I'm scared-, you know?
ANDREW JILANI:
They give you a hard time? Yeah.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
So-, (they) give me (a) hard time-, for any reason.