Race and Hate Crimes in Post 9/11 Medford, OR

February 9, 2003

Source: The Oregonian


On February 9, 2003 The Oregonian reported that "during his seven years as a Medford [OR] resident, motel owner Nick Patel has always bragged to friends that he could leave his doors unlocked... But following a half dozen recent hate crimes, including a brash attack last week on a motel clerk from India who was mistaken for an Arab, Patel keeps his motel's office door locked 24 hours a day... Patel said his race never seemed like a big deal until the terrorist attacks. 'After Sept 11 people ask, 'Are you a Pakistani?' And I say, 'No. I'm an Indian.' They ask, 'Are you a Muslim?' And I say, 'No. I'm a Hindu,' he says... Questions like those no longer surprise Ray Patel, another local motel owner who has lived in the United States for 40 years. Since moving to Medford in 1980, he says he's been mistaken for a Mexican, an Iranian, a Pakistani and an Afghan and expects to be misidentified as an Iraqi if the U.S. invades Iraq... 'Wherever the problem is with the U.S. and another country, we become them. We just have brown skin,' said Patel."