Logan Residents Of Color Share How Racism Impacts Mental Health, Education

Jul 9, 2021

Credit Paul Hermans

Communities across the United States experienced civil unrest last summer in response to multiple incidents of police brutality towards people of color.

Ravi is an Indian American who lives in Logan and said that, over the years, he has experienced a variety of racial discrimination and harrasament. 

 

“Sometimes college-age kids driving around saying things," Ravi said. "Somebody just followed me in a pickup truck, I was just going to the bus stop, it was eight o'clock at night. I saw this pickup slowly coming and the bus stop is right next to a parking lot and the truck pulled up right behind in the parking lot. First thing I hear is ‘Hey, are you a Patel?’ which is in reference to people from one part of India, ‘Do you own a store?’ or something like that. It was a completely random question to ask. I just said ‘I'm not,' and I started walking away.”

 

Ravi said of the time he has spent in Logan, from 2015 to 2017 was when the racism he has experienced was at its worst.

 

“Once the 2016 election was done, things started ramping up. I was at work and I would go for long walks at lunchtime or something. The day after the [2016] election, I had somebody come screeching right next to me on a road, opened the window and gave me a finger. I was just doing my walk at lunch.” Ravi said.

 

A 2020 survey conducted by The Washington Post found that one in two Indian Americans experience discrimination because of their color of skin, gender, religion, or country of origin. In some cases, this discrimiation can lead to hate crime or death, like in the case of one of Ravi’s relatives.

 

“A distant cousin of mine was murdered in Kansas by somebody who was questioning their immigration status. This guy was an engineer.” Ravi said. 

 

Lizette Villegas is a Latina advocate and an active voice for the Latino community in Logan who said she hears many stories about racism in the Valley, but that it can be hard for people to be brave enough to talk about their experiences. 

 

“First problem, the racism," she said. "Second problem definitely would be that people are not willing to speak up. People are very scared to talk about it and what would come from talking about it.”

 

One way Villegas said she sometimes sees K-12 students experience discrimination is by teachers not taking interest in their education.

 

“I have actually spoken to a couple of students that feel that teachers themselves really don't even care about their education overall," Villegas said. "So, parents, they feel the lack of help to navigate the education. I have definitely heard a lot of stories, but then again, speaking up on behalf of them is so hard because they are scared.”

 

Documentation status is one reason Villegas said it is hard for people to speak up because of the unwanted visibility it can create.