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Pet Sins June 2001 Issue
Race, color and international social access

Race, nationality and color intersect in how we are received when traveling abroad. For a stranger in a strange land, there are few things more hurtful than being treated more poorly than those around you, not because of your individual behavior but because of some random characteristic such as the country on one's passport or the color of one's skin.

For natives of a country, it can be alienating to see foreigners being better served than natives, not because the foreigners did anything to deserve it, but because of some unearned characteristic like skin color or race.

Ideally, we should oppress neither neighbors nor sojourners. While there are indeed many instances of deliberate malice, we still hold out hope that most humans would choose not to engage in the 'trivial' casual daily acts of discrimination if only they were conscious of their own prejudices and the implications.