For computer programmer Khalid Khan, living in the United States should be a dream come true. The engineer recently emigrated to California after receiving a job offer which included a $100,000 salary. But for Khan, and many like him living in the U.S. means searching far and wide for his favorite foods, unfamiliar customs and the ever present whisper of racism.
Employed by a Southern California insurance company, Khan often finds his small cadre of Indian nationals huddled together at one of the far tables in the company’s cafeteria. “I often overhear people complaining about the smell,” says the 27-year-old. Like many of his fellow Indians, Khan brings his own lunch, which often includes ingredients that are unfamiliar to Americans. “I want to scream at them for their rudeness, but I think back to how my fellow countrymen act towards foreigners in my country. You have to learn to ignore small things like this,” says Khan reflectively.