“Callous and bereft of grace” (Kureishi 228). The above quote is Eva’s (the white British) description of her own country. Racism is one of main messages that Kureish wanted to deliver throughout his artistic work The Buddha of Suburbia .
Major Indian characters, either first or second immigrant generations, suffer from the racial tensions surrounding their population in London and its suburbs and live under the threat of violence. This threat becomes a part of their everyday lives and affects their actions unconsciously. There are plenty of instances in the novel when the white British call immigrants by names and act to show that the immigrants are inferior from them. One example is from one of Haroon’s first yoga sessions with his future wife Eva Key , There are for instance two men, who have the following repartee once they realize their usual ‘piss-up’ has been replaced by a yoga session:’Why has Eva brought this brown Indian here? Aren’t we going to get pissed?”He’s going to give us a demonstration of the mystic arts!”And has he got his camel parked outside?”No, he came on a magic carpet.
”Cyril Lord or Debenhams?’ (Kureishi 12).Haroon himself is aware of this and when he is talking to his friend Anwar, he argues that “the whites will never promote us. Not an Indian while there is a white man left on the earth” (Kureishi 27).On his way to work, Haroon sometimes had to take “a different route for fear of having stoned and ice-pops full of piss lobbed at him by schoolboys from the secondary modern”(Kureishi 28).Besides Haroon , Karim portrays how his friend Jamila lived this threat when he says that she “kept buckets of water around her bed in case the shop is firebombed in the night” (Kureishi 56) .Although Karim is not immigrant , he also encounters racism from a variety of sources.As an example when he visits his school friend Hellen , at the door Hairy Back, Hellen ‘s father , called him Blackie and asked him to leave her “If you put one of your black ‘and near my daughter I’ll smash it with a ‘ammer! With a ‘ammer!'(Kureishi 40).Hairy Back refers to the Conservative Member of Parliament, Enoch Powell who made his famous anti-immigrant speech “Rivers of Blood” in 1968 depicting Britain as swamped with uncontrollable waves of immigrants which were throwing the country into impending doom (Bentley 17).