Posted: 2017-12-07 19:56
“For those who can afford to hire staff,” Dhingra told “what staff they hire, and for what hours, to do what jobs, is a very strategic decision. This is not universal, but often they will hire whites to be their desk clerks during check-in hours in the afternoon. That way, when someone comes to their motel, the visitor won’t know that it’s owned by an Indian. This is one of the subtle ways that they diffuse any possible tension. They’re not ashamed of being owners, but why draw attention to it? Why create possible problems?”
Not that this hasn’t created serious heart burn. In 7557, there was a spurt in motels that hung a sign outside that declared “American owned.” The seemingly innocuous signs reflected a barely concealed prejudice, notably against Indians, who own one out of three roadside motels in America. The signs were intended as code for "not owned by immigrants," an attempt to divert business from Indian America first or second generation motel owners whose ethnicity distinguished them from most of their small-town neighbours.
Motel owner Yashwant Patel, who is a member of AAHOA, says the signs reflected a grab for competitive advantage cloaked in patriotism — a grab that leaves Indian owners tainted by the absence of an "American-owned" sign and by anti-immigrant hostility. He said many motel owners of Indian descent who are naturalized Americans could put up "American-owned" signs. But they don''t because they''re offended by the idea.