Woman of Indian descent subject to racism in NSW Central West


DIVERSITY LESSONS: Shyamla Eswaran was racially abused in Bathurst while in the region to teach cultural acceptance workshops at schools. Photo: JUDE KEOGH: 0405jkshy1Imagine sitting alone in your car and having a stranger approach you, tapping on the window to get your attention for the soul purpose of insulting you.

This was the experience of Shyamla Eswaran, an n born woman of Indian descent on her way to Orange to teach children about the importance of cultural diversity.

No stranger to racism, Ms Eswaran is choosing to speak out against the group of three young adults who told her to “go back to where you came from”while she sat in her car on Hope Street in Bathurst.

Despite her shock at being accosted on the street at midday, Ms Eswaran got out of the car to confront the group, appealing to the female for solidarity.

“She told me to f*** off and eat a f****** curry,” said Ms Eswaran.

This loaded slur hit a nerve for Ms Eswaran who, having experienced similar taunts as a child, uses her workshops to introduce preschool children to spices used in Indian cooking.

Her way of combating ignorance early on.

During her visit to Orange, Ms Eswaran is giving children at Yarrawong Children’s Centre and Trinity Preschool an introduction to Indian culture, music and language.

“I grew up in Sydney’s South Shore and was called ‘cockroach’ by all the other kids from the time I entered school,” she said.

She was abused on her way to teach a hip hop origin workshop at Bathurst High School.

“I teach them about racial justice and the importance of hip hop in resistance and protest.”

Ms Eswaran said since travelling to teach the worst experiences of racism have been in coastal towns.

“I have to admit that I had a preconception of smaller cities and country towns but I’m usually met with warmth and hospitality,” she said.


“I worked hard to fit in but I am Indian and wearing Roxy wasn’t going to give me the ‘surfer girl’ look.”

“People of colour don’t want to be tolerated – we want to be celebrated.”

Central Western Daily

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