Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Chandrika Dalal, July 22, 1999. Interview K-0814. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Systemic prevention of economic growth for ethnic businesses

Dalal reveals the hypocrisy of Pittsboro's town laws. Because the Chinese restaurateur renting her business space received a poor sanitation rating, town laws prevent Dalal from renting out her space to a new vendor. Yet, while local officials interfere with her economic livelihood, the market for international food prevents the closure of her Chinese restaurant. Dalal expresses hope in maintaining her property through the emerging economic development of the area.

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

ANDREW JILANI:
Chandrika, I have a question, do you-, do you have hope, in United States, in Pittsboro, for you and for your daughters?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
I don't think. My both daughter(s) want to get out. My one daughter go in college for three years, she's so happy in Raleigh. Because in Raleigh, you know, she has all American friends, Indian friends, she is so happy there. She's not happy in Pittsboro. Some people like you, some people don't like you, you know.
ANDREW JILANI:
Yeah. How about for yourself? You think you will keep—?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
I can't go away, I have a business. I have a property. I put eighty five thousand dollar(s), for this property. Almost-, eighty thousand I spent in this property. Still I have a hard time with people. I have to rent my place, and every time people come for rent, and they just want to buy it, because they know, (that) (when) bypass open(s), the property value (will) go up. And the town of Pittsboro don't give me the permit for rent my place. So I lose the money-, I have a property, but I don't make money, because that prejudice (is) still there. When I have a Chinese restaurant, they have a ‘C’ grade-, okay? But they still run that business because town of Pittsboro need(s) a Chinese food (restaurant). Pittsboro don't have a good any restaurant. Hardy is not good for all people, so—.
ANDREW JILANI:
A ‘C’ is a good grade, or a bad grade?
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
‘C’ is a bad grade, but they still need a Chinese food, so they let them to run that business. That's a prejudice, and now I have to rent (to) somebody else, they make the damage. They don't give me the permit. They just told me-, big list-, to spend four thousand, five thousand dollar(s), then you—.
ANDREW JILANI:
Will get a permit.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
Get the permit, and rent the place, and I don't have (a) housekeeper. Single mother for ten year(s). I have two teenager daughter(s). I don't-, I put four thousand dollar(s), still I need a four, five thousand dollar(s). So, people just don't want to spend the money. They say, we don't want rent, you just sell it, and we own the property then we put the money. So I am-, in the middle. I have property, but I don't make money, because town don't give me the permit. Without permit, I can't put the rent sign. So, it is a closed sign. People don't know this place (is) for rent. People-, come here-, for rent, and ask for sell. So-, for last three years, I lose money.
ANDREW JILANI:
Yes.
CHANDRIKA DALAL:
My daughter have to for scholarship, or for loan, for education. You know? How can you say this country is free. They don't let you to make money.