Indian-Origin CEO Who Was Called 'Pig': I Had to Stand Up for What I Believe In

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), August 25, 2017 | Go to article overview

Indian-Origin CEO Who Was Called 'Pig': I Had to Stand Up for What I Believe In


India, Aug. 25 -- Indian-origin Amercian citizen, Ravin Gandhi, did not expect the kind of backlash that hit him after he wrote an article last week about his disappointment in President Donald Trump after the Charlottesville clashes, and his resolve to ensure he was a one-term president. The vile ethnic slurs and insults that followed have still not stopped.

The 44-year-old CEO of a Chicago-based company wrote an opinion piece for CNBC last week saying that though "flabbergasted" by Trump's victory in the 2016 election, he had decided to give the President the "benefit of the doubt".

But all that changed after Charlottesville where three people died because of violence related to racial clashes on August 11.

"I saw the president of the Unites States cowardly signal tacit support for white supremacists and Nazis."

The backlash was quick, and furious.

A Trump supporter, a woman, left a voice mail for him: "Get your f...... garbage and go back to India and sell it over there...Don't tell us about Donald Trump. Don't tell us about this country...Go back to where the pigs live in India, and go clean your own g..... country. It's a filthy mess."

In the first interview to an Indian news media outlet, Gandhi reveals the reasons for going public with his views, the backlash and his reaction to it.

Excerpts:

Did you expect a backlash when you wrote the Oped in CNBC, saying why you were done with President Trump?

I expected some minor backlash, as that comes with the territory with commenting on politics. However, I did not expect the overall frequency or vitriol... They are still coming in.

Have you been at the receiving end of such slurs before? Growing up? At school, college? Or, at work?

Yes, while growing up in America in the 1970s and 80s I did hear such slurs on occasion. Any person of colour in America who says they have not experienced these insults at some point in their life is probably not being truthful.

Did you consider just ignoring them, and moving on? Did you discuss it with family or anyone before going public?

Given that this occurred just after Charlottesville, I knew that I must make this public somehow. My family thought I should keep quiet because of concerns about safety. My basic plan was to only share on my social network, and I expected it would end there with some expressions of outrage from friends, and some gallows humour. The fact that the story was picked up locally, then nationally, and finally internationally, is astonishing to me.

What's been the reaction at home - the family here in the US and among relatives in India?

When the press starting emailing me, my family pleaded with me to stay silent. I knew that was impossible because since I started the issue by writing my op-ed, I had to lend my voice and stand up for what I believe in. …

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