Friday, November 11, 2005

Are us Brownies racist pigs?

But first, tom-ta-tom-ta-tom many thanks to Mister Saket Vaidya, but where is the trophy?
Yet, I must say that there are a lot of very good blogs by Indians out there and I do make an attempt to read as many as possible. Anyway, I doubt I am hardly mysterious anymore, yet I kinda like 'K' so I'll stick with my rather unimaginative nom de plume for the time being. Anyway, Saket you got yourself a beer. And I still want a trophy.
Anyway, now that my long, rambling and pointless first para has been dispensed with, lets get to the crux of the matter shall we (I should really try and be more concise). I was reading an article in the ToI which made me think. (Note : This does not mean that I am an intellectually challenged person who starts thinking when he reads the Times, but rather means that in the morass that is the ToI there is occasionally a good article alongside the idiotic 'sting' operations they mount on bloggers - the reaction to which I think has been needlessly over the top - but for a more balanced counter-argument read this by Saket)
The article in the Times was Rashmee Roshan Lall, their UK correspondent and points out a question facing the South Asian community after the recent Birmingham riots - Is the Brown Man a racist?
I met noted UK advocate and 'eminent' (so to speak) UK-Indian Sarosh Zaiwalla earlier today and during the course of my interview with him (The Bachchan libel case, the corruption allegations surrounding him and Keith Vaz, blah, blah, blah) I asked him this question. And he told me something rather pertinent, "Haven't we been racist for ages?"
As anyone who has met me would testify, I'm not Mister Fair-Boy. In fact, I'm rather dark, OK so people might say a lot of that is because of the fact that I haven't had a bath in three years (I'm really not THAT unhygenic), I really don't give a flying eff about my skin colour. I will never use any Fairness cream, and find the concept rather funny - though I must appauld the person (from a totally capitalistic point of view) who dreamt up the idea of marketing fairness creams in India. In fact, the recent launch of a fairness cream for men my Emami is just taking advantage of the demographic skew in the usage of 'Fair and Lovely' (more men use it than women).
However, it is true that Indians treat darker skinned people with a degree of contempt. I know for a fact that my certain family members of mine are extremely happy that Friendgirl is extremely fair, and I wouldn't hesitate to label my family (despite its occasional escapades in the realm of dysfunctionality) as 'progressive'.
Of course, jokes about skin colour are rather common in North Indian schools, less now than before though - I never got picked on for being dark, oh no siree, I was worse - I was a Bengali (but that is another story altogether). And while fairer Indians might diss out their darker brethren for nothing apart from the fact of being 'fair', there is still a rather weird bonding between Aryan and Dravidian stock desis.
But this is not about the way Indians treat Indians, or to be more precise the way Aryan/Dravidian Indians treat Indians, it is about the way we treat other communities. For example, while the average fat-horny-old-desi man would want to bed a Mongoloid girl from the North-East, there is an extremely high chance that he would consider that person beneath his community. Just ask yourself, how many North-Easterners do you see in managerial jobs or senior positions? Even though there has been a relative improvement lately, Indians are treating other Indians as second-class citizens for no fault other than their ethnicity. Little wonder that half those states want to secede.
Indians would treat East Asian people equally badly too, if it weren't for the fact that those chaps are equally racist too. A very senior Indian manager working in a large East Asian company firm once told me that all three Chinese, Japanese and Korean managers are equally racist, "They come here to screw the women and talk down the men. They treat workers like shit. The ones that do well are the ones who barely manage to look Indians in the eye. The ones that fail can't even do that." I was once told a very interesting story by a Delhi-based adman which went on the lines of the fact that some these companies have a formal 'whoring allowance' for their managers. Tip to people from the North-eas+t : Start acting like East-Asians and give people back the same shit they give you!
But we aren't talking about the East Asians here, but the way we act with the White Man and Black Man. Are we racist with White people? Damn, we are. We insult them at every oppurtunity, have secret desires of bedding them and think of them as big bags of money. But the way most Indians act around Black people sometimes startles me. By most Indians I mean average middle-class Indians. Take a Black person to a middle class neighbourhood and not only will the kids make fun of him, inside the daughter will be hidden and people will not look him in the face. Most people will think that either he is a criminal, rapist or a drug dealer (something that is not helped by the fact that almost every single cocaine runner in Bombay does happen to be from West Africa). I don't think I am over-generalising things here, because (and I must clarify this again and again and again) us bloggers are not a regular demographic, we would fit into what statisticians would call SEC A++ or SEC A+++. Even many Indians who have moved to the West (UK and the US in particular) have more misgiving about the Black community than most White people (save Neo-Nazi outfits) - this may not be the guy working at an i-Bank in Manhattan or London or the coder in Palo Alto, but the Middle-Class Indian drives a cab or runs a store.
I am writing from observations that I have made. I might be totally off the mark, I would like it if some of you wrote in with your own observations on the issue.
EDIT : Trying out a new look and feel, please let me know how it looks.

17 comments:

shaun said...

the reaction to which I think has been needlessly over the top...
The reaction as the the first post by TTG right? Just one post right?

thalassa_mikra said...

Thank you, thank you for writing this post. Probably one of your best so far. You really lay it out as it is.

I'm absolutely appalled by the levels of racism against Blacks and Latinos I see in highly educated Indian unversity students or professionals here.

Given that Indians have never been compelled to be racially sensitive and have always managed to don a victim mantle, they get away with the kind of stuff that would be considered unacceptable for Whites.

Of course the racism of Indians for fellow Indians, whether darker-skinned or of Mongoloid stock is very well-documented. Why, pray is Bipasha Basu always referred to as a "dusky beauty"? As if we want to convince ourselves that she's beautiful despite being dusky.

Personally I give two hoots (I'm brown-skinned and mongoloid-looking), but it's sad to see how entrenched these mindsets are.

Having said this, yes East Asians, as well as Thais are very racist, and extremely contemptuous of Indians.

Docs Dope said...

yes of course we r not racist..we are carrying no brown man's burden..
of course we r horny, we want variety - hence we lust after north-eastern, asian and white women - but that does not make us racist - like everybody else we want variety-- like they say, variet is the spice of life..
as far as the blacks are concerned, i agree that stereotypes about drug dealers r strong..but the blacks havent done much to redeem those stereotypes..

the japanese r the most racist of all..

shyam said...

Okay, disclaimers first: I am a very mallu looking mallu, with the accent, dark skin and the works. I have not travelled much at all, so can't comment on matters on either side of the subcontinent.

From what I have seen, being racist is like a default state for majority of people because it is a very human thing to look and find same type of people to identify with. So you'd see it at every level, sometimes it would be caste, other times it would be region, nationality etc etc. Only very few people step out beyond these lines and treat people on a level playing field. I still get amused when my folks would tell me about some relative getting married to someone who is "one of us" and I would not know how to react since both of them are like quite well educated and so on. Educated mallus is a topic that deserves an entire book for itself ;-)

About the ToI point. Something that has always amused me is that for all the people who claim to not read the paper, every other car I drive by in the morning to work has one person reading the paper in it. And the rate at which the ToI haters club seem to scan paper would put even an avid ToI fan to shame. I have no great love lost for the place, even after having worked there, but I do find it funny that there is this perception that minus ToI the rest of the media is something where only angels live. I'm digressing, but it came after reading all the follow up on the blogs on the so called silly sting operation.

p.s: boss, please do break the long paras, makes reading for these tired old eyes much easier :)

GREATBONG said...

Yes I was very pissed when I bought a DVD of Kajol songs which referred to her as "Black Beauty".

K said...

Codey : Point tken.
T_M : Thankings
Kajol as 'Black Beauty' - huh??????

Bonatellis said...

the new template looks cool ... where is this from?

Varun said...

This template looks really nice. I like it better than the previous one.

Some suggestions/opinions:
[1] The font used for the content could be a little bigger.
[2] Leaving an empty line between 2 paragraphs will make long posts a little more readable.

Vulturo said...

Becket Rocks

Couldn't help gushing about it, when I first saw it. I think I discovered it on Dhiraj's blog.

Vulturo said...

Ah, and on your post - That, black people are 'criminals' - this sterotype does exist with Indians.

I've seen several Indians (US returned), spreading FUD about blacks as to how you should try and have as little as possible to do with them, while in america or how you should avoid walking alone in a downtown dark alley lest you be mugged by them, and all that.... I think, they overgenaralize.

Akin to the 'fear' for the muslims, which a new phenomenon.

Stasticially however, blacks are likelier to be criminals on a percentage basis (what with quite a few of them having a comparitively low standard of living), which doesn't help. (You might find this link, thought provoking)

K said...

The book Freakonomics attributes the decline in the crime rate in America in the early to mid-90's as a direct consequence of the fact that abortion was legalised a decade and a half before that. You should really read that book.

Vulturo said...

I've been wanting to read that book since quite some time. I just bought it this afternoon

anthony said...

Trust K to come with such a topic and put it in a way only he could. We discussed about the racist angle at length in the BBM, and how so many people are racist.
How many people from NE in magerial positions is a little of the topic though.


Just taking manipur( my fav subject), if we take percentages there would be much more Manipuri managers then there are the rest of Non-manipuri indian. U see Manipur has a population of just little more than 2 million and considering the population even a hundred managers is more than a handful again considering that non-rural manipur is maybe as large as Mulund. ;-).. there are many, it is just that Manipuris or the meeteis tend to have a Singh suffix so people confuse that to be Punjabee... there is even an HOD at AIIMS. But you see amongs 1 billion fellow Indians we get drowned..( I won't say we are good in sports and that in the national games we have beaten 1 billion Non-manipuris despite the fact that many manupirs still paly for different states)

About the desi wanting to hump chinkees, there are more reasons than racism. First one is the exotic factor, second one being the belief that people from NE are promiscous(which is not ALL true nor all false, but I won't delve into that) and thus easy to lay.

The racism that exists is not for nay reasons but fact that we have had a class system for so long. Believe me racism is worse in the NE than in the North India. Assamese think they are superior, manipuris think we are and so do the Nagas. A Manipuri thinker and philospher of my namesake(surnamewise) had a nice poem about 7 rotten Jamum(the fruit), though all rotten telling each other that each were the better of the rest. I hate the word racism and I hate it even more when we tralk of racism...

K said...

Anthony, I don't think the fights between people in the NE is racist - rather I think its a bit more tribal - not that I mean to say that NE-ners are tribal because the way people reacted in Gujarat was also tribal - racist. I've seen my Naga and Khasi friends get into fights and lets not even get into the issues that Khasi's and Garo's have. What I'm scared of, if any of those states secede - you will unleash insanity.

anthony said...

K, I wasn't talking about the fight between nagas and Kuki or between garos and Khasis. These are words not spoken out in Manipur these days but there is Racism, its not about inter tribal racism I am talking about but a diff kind of racism.. Why the bodos want out of Assam.. Assamese won't say it but it is racism, why does Nagas in Manipur want to join Nagaland... getting a fair Idea now. Tribal wars are diff. in the sense that the cause is different. You see, except for Manipur and Assam( and Tripura to be fair), the rest of the states are Tribal states in that there are only Different tribes who either live in harmony or otherwise. Where as there have always been a caste system though unspoken of in Manipur and Assam, a legacy I believe of the Hindu culture.. Read more about Manipur ;-) but prevalent nonetheless. Didn't I say that Vaishnavism reached its Pinnacle in Manipur and we follow it more stricter than where it originated somewhere around Nabdwip adding cultures and traditions around it. Well casteism seem to a be little add-on. that was what I meant. I would of course be fleeced if I were to voice this . It is a known truth... an there are lots more, lots.. I keep saying manipur is a little India with its share of Bihar and Modi and Muslims nonetheless. Why the fuck did the PSeudo manipuri hindus got to do with Muslim that we started killing them..oh yes we also had a Hindu-Muslim riot though it was named something else. My dear I live in a Little India.. I didn't want to post the uglier face in my blog.. afterall there are black and then there white to everything.

### newspaper won't carry many news, so it doesn't surprise me when even journos know very little about Manipur. But secession is something only th foot soldiers of the millitant outfits dream of, even the eaders know it is far from possible. U don't worry about that. There is much more than meets the eye my dear and much more than meets a MSM's eye ;-)

BTW did u know about this?

There was a Massacre in manipur some 10 years back. Cable TV had come then. It was 5th jan 95. In a crowded Market place, in front of the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, in the capital, Army Men picked up some bystander from random, non-chinkis were let go and the rest just shot in point blank, there was an autorick-driver who cried before being shot in the temple, there a poor doctor(med student at RIMS) from Arunachal becuse he looked like a Manipuri.

But don't worry about secession and insanity, there are many Manipuri intellectuals still left in Manipur and elsewhere. Manipur and the NE is too Important a real estate in the international Politics game that India Wish to be in.
And yes Many Tribals are in the NE but not all.

Another fact: The Majority Manipuri, called the Meiteis have to fend for themselves since we are not Reserved like many think( like the proff in my Institute who wanted me to join HPCL). We have no tribal grants, or quotas, and we have to fight it out in the Civil services exams in general category and again percentage wise there are lots.And so is the case elsewhere.. My cousin topped the DU in physics and he holds a record in DU which No other has ever broken and won't be likely broken in the near future. I am not adding computer engineers there because we are good in Maths anyway, but don't worry we give that credit to the Bengalis for introducing us to FISH, hehe it is said that fish enhances the Brain.
Fewer Managers, I agree, compared to Engineers and Army Officers because like all orients, we carry an accent that Non-Manipuri Indians find hard to comprehend, so many choose the Software route, but thanks to India's obsession for English, at least we speak much better than other Asians and Our english much better comprehended than Hinglish(well even Inglish) in the west. So manipuris In US are regarded much above first gen Asians.

Hey, K, It is not a rant. OK, I am writing it only for you, since u didn't have an Email here. And I didn't prefer to write these things on my blog. It was meant "for ur knowledge". Nothing against what you wrote. I like the Humping Mongoloid part( and respect u more or avoiding the word chinki since many get offended with the word, not me though..I know I am good eh! and have ahhmmmm ****** my fair share of non-chinks as well) ..
And I thought u thought there were only tribals in Manipur though u tried hard to bring in gujarat;-) Yes there are more than a thousand tribes and as many dialects, but Meeteis speak a language which is under the 8th schedule and which has a literature much appreciated in the literary circle far and wide. Same goes for Assam. cheers!!

Anonymous said...

k,why we the people of northeast fight among ourselves for the superiority rather than fighting unitedly against useless and racist indian.we know that these central government would never about development of our region,we must try compromise our differences and fight against the racist.

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