OPINION

Racism Is Not Just on Big Brother and Not Just Among The British

January 24, 2007
DesiGirl

I am tired of Jade. Tired of seeing her carefully schooled face showing remorse peering at me from every street corner. Tired of hearing her well rehearsed apologies, "I am not a racist but I can understand why you would think so." Her well oiled PR machine is working overtime to clean up her tarnished image and I, for one, am tired of being played like a banjo.

Jade is using the 'tu quoque' argument someone accused me of to excuse away her actions. She keeps saying what she did was wrong but is repeatedly pinning the blame for it on her upbringing, her social class, her parents and anything else she can think of.

A couple of other 'interesting' repercussions of the BB row are Danielle losing a 100,000 modelling contract and worse, being dumped by West Ham footballer Teddy Sheringham - the same man she slept with to win the Miss Great Britain crown last year. Of course, Danielle doesn't know that she isn't a WAG (Wife / Girlfriend of a footballer) anymore. Jo, on the other hand, didn't have much of a career to speak of since her S Club 7 days so doesn't have much to lose and is carrying on as before.

Whilst I have had my fill of the Jade Baddy Saga, I feel Danielle and Jo, who have said more racist comments and have egged Jade on, deserve to take on the blame as well. It was Danielle who said, "I thought you were going to punch her" after Jade's pronouncement, "you are stuck up so far up your a**e that you can smell your own s**t" and even said, "your mother would be so proud of you" and even called Shilpa a dog. Jo has generally been nasty and while I cannot remember what pearls of wisdom she dropped, she has been coming across as the type of person I would cross the road to avoid, purely for my own personal safety.

I was watching The Wright Stuff earlier on Channel 5 (young P's down with chicken pox - hence am cooped up at home!) and today's panellist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown said something that seemed real sensible to me. Jade was the 'expert' on the show today and after 30 minutes of "yes I can see how it will be construed as wrong, but I wasn't the only one" and many rueful shakes of her head, Yasmin adviced Jade to use the next three years to get a proper degree and.... well, we never heard what as Jade butted in, prattling about the same old stuff and made Yasmin gave up what she was trying to say.

But I can see where she's coming from: one of Jade's biggest reasons for being such a bully is that she learn't those at her mother's knee. Well, she's in her mid-twenties now and cannot blame Mum for teaching her every wrong thing under the sun. It is time she learn't few good things on her own, especially with two young children to raise. Yasmin's advice strikes me as an exceptionally sound one, as well as her view that will take a long time for someone to change their views (the racist or the bullying sort) and will not take place in the span of three short days, as we are seeing in Jade's case.

Education is the only way to open people's minds to the world out there. Respecting others' differences and not feeling threatened by them will only come with time. Britain today is as multi cultural as it gets, a fact that threatens many, many people. One of them decided to show their distaste by spitting in front of me as I was out for a walk with my little one and shouting, "Go back home!" Another one did his level best to push my husband on to the rail tracks by catching hold of his shirt fronts and yelling, "You bl***y Paki!"

As more and more Asians come to the UK as skilled workers and as more and more jobs are being sent to the subcontinent, the ire of the locals who perceive us to have cheated them out of their jobs is on the rise.

Being different always makes us fair game and this is true none more so than in our own country, which is as widely diverse as it can get. State, language, religion, social/economic strata - we have innumerable things separating us from another. Try to imagine the case of a Madrasi amongst a group of Hindi speaking Bombay or Delhi folk. Attire and accent are just two of the things that are causes for mirth.

My Telugu neighbour still speaks to me like I were from a planet many light years away rather than from a nearby state when she speaks of the 'customs and traditions of Nellore' (my husband is Telugu while I am Tamil). A couple of my tam-bram friends changed their minds about me in a hurry once they heard of my own mixed parentage.

While I do not rue the loss of their so-called friendship, I rue our own penchant for dividing ourselves so neatly. Even after paying with our own freedom for harping on our differences hasn't stopped us from going back to doing the same. What is needed for us to look at one another as just people, instead of 'Jain, rich, gujju' or 'Hindu, Tamil, padayachi'? When will we stop judging one another? Isn't it high time we changed our outlook for the better?

Writing is my passion and music is my soulmate. When I have a book in my hand and my music blasting in my ears, I am on top of the world. I would love to be a published author someday. But till then, I shall enthrall you all with my creative genius. :)
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#1
sudhir pai
URL
January 24, 2007
10:40 AM

when asked how the british could continue to rule india at the turn of the 20th century, lord harris the governor of the bombay presidency replied," as long as their cultural differences are accentualted, the indians will remain divided, and owing to the lack of unity among them will only make them more vulnerable to be ruled".i could'nt quote verbatim, but what harris was something to that effect.
for years it was the african american who faced racial discrimination, and now its the turn of the asians to face the wrath of the white man. the only way they can fight for their rights is my shedding differences among themselves and by empathy towards anothers problems. It is rather ironic when indians abroad complain of problems caused by immigrants in their adopted country.And cause a racket when one of their own falls prey to racism.unless these minority groups unite and form a critical mass of the populace, their plea will fall on deaf ears.

#2
Hingo
URL
January 24, 2007
11:09 AM

Why blame the English ? It was not at all necessary for Shilpa to go to UK and make a fool of herself. How many foreigners are coming to India in search of jobs & participating on TV programs ?

#3
Trak
URL
January 24, 2007
11:15 AM

There is nothing wrong in admitting the White Man is superior to the Brown Man. Just 500 thousand white British were able to rule 400 million brown Indians. Even now in the year 2005, brown Indians VOLUNTARILY elect a foreign born white European woman as their leader, even though there are 1.1 billion other of their brown skinned brothers & sisters available, which has NOT occured in any other country. Thus brown Indians themselves accept whites as superiors VOLUNTARILY and thus no need to blame the whites for the issue.

#4
Lion
URL
January 24, 2007
11:20 AM

Let this be a lesson to all wannabe Bollywood Sahibs & Memsahibs to stop imitating the West and Hollywood in their movies and concentrate on Indian themes & culture. You cannot demand the people of a first world country to respect those of a third word country, until they reach the status of a first world country. Respect cannot be demanded as a right, but has to be earned.

#5
Clear
URL
January 24, 2007
12:17 PM

For those who have still NOT noticed, so called racism & discrimnation ultimately boils down to economy prosperity. Japanese, Taiwanese dont face racism but are treated with respect in the West even though they are of a totally different race, because they are economically prosperous 1st world countries just like the West and thus considered equal. Racism is mainly encountered by Africans & South Asians because they are perceived to be from desperate poverty stricken 3rd world nations out to grab jobs from 1st world nations. If 3rd world countries manage to become equal to 1st world countries in economic status, they will automatically gain respect and racism will die out.

#6
Adam
January 24, 2007
03:09 PM

@clear
You couldn't be more correct!

#7
null
URL
January 24, 2007
04:34 PM

yawn yawn...instead of it being an eye opener, it has put me off to sleep. I am tired of jade too but your posts put me off to sleep.

#8
Alamgir Hussain
URL
January 24, 2007
11:16 PM

Next time, Westerners want to bring in an Indian actor/actress for their shows, they better be careful. Indian are overly civilized and sensitive people. They probably beat the Muslims by a thin hair.

Indian civility and lack of racism was well in display across the streets of India in burning effigies and flags and many more..

West, the British in particular, be aware of the Indians!!

#9
temporal
URL
January 24, 2007
11:57 PM

alamgir:

what the dickens!

can you explain in simple english what you mean to say here?

Next time, Westerners want to bring in an Indian actor/actress for their shows, they better be careful. Indian are overly civilized and sensitive people. They probably beat the Muslims by a thin hair.

Indian civility and lack of racism was well in display across the streets of India in burning effigies and flags and many more..

West, the British in particular, be aware of the Indians!!

#10
Alamgir Hussain
URL
January 25, 2007
12:54 AM

Temporam, my point is that Shilpa is an adult and a respectable person. Let her decide whether he faced racism or not. If did, she should bring the culprit to courts.

Some of Wesrtern kafir friends phone me and find me sleeping during an odd hour as I am a big sleeper. So, they say, 'Ei idiot! sleeping like pigs'. That does constitute racism but instead, solidify our friendship. Of course, the nonracist and overly sensitive people of my country would ever get to know of it, flags & effigy burning would start as a demonstration of their being a civilzed and nonracist people.

I hope, I have explained myself.

#11
N
URL
January 25, 2007
01:03 AM

Desigirl, well-written article and you've made a vry valid point. It's high time we stopped being divisive on the basis of region. I find it very disturbing when people make generic statements about a particular group based on stereotypical notions.

#12
N
URL
January 25, 2007
01:07 AM

Hingo: That is completely besides the point.

Alamgir: I'll echo Temporal. What on earth are you trying to say?

That does constitute racism but instead, solidify our friendship. Of course, the nonracist and overly sensitive people of my country would ever get to know of it, flags & effigy burning would start as a demonstration of their being a civilzed and nonracist people.


If I read you correctly, you are saying that Indians are oversensitive. If anything, my friend, I feel we have only now woken up to our own identity. Don't forget that the British were able to rule over us for 200 years precisely because we were okay with it for a long time. However, I agree with you that burning effigies is not the answer to anything.

#13
Alamgir Hussain
URL
January 25, 2007
01:49 AM

"However, I agree with you that burning effigies is not the answer to anything."

Hingo, I could follow the street actions in India well. However, my feeling is that calling Shetty a dog by Goody in a friendly atmosphere does not necessarily constitute a racism at all. Shetty herself denied, she faced racism. It should have been left there.

But if flag and effigy burnings have taken place on the streets of India, I hope the Indian would realise one day 'how violently racist those actions of themselves are'.

You can go back to history to make your case, which is irrelevant to today's context. But you can surely learn a lesson or two from the West today. Howsoever you provoke them, you will never see the Westerners burning flags of any nation. The sybmol of sovreignty of any nation is that much respected by the racists and uncivilized people of the world.

#14
Quest Girl
URL
January 25, 2007
03:46 AM

Hey Desi Girl, this is a very well presented post. I agree that in India itself we have a lot of conflicts within communities and castes, so we can hardly be self-righteous with the Brits...Having said that, Alamgir, you are just so totally wrong when you say that the burning of effigies and flags does not happen in the West. That, and worse things, do happen there, and all over the world, unfortunately, including India.

#15
DG
URL
January 25, 2007
07:27 AM

Thanks N and Quest Girl!

#16
Ruvy in Jerusalem
January 25, 2007
11:01 AM

Considering my ignorance of Indian society, it is not for me to comment on the divisions which rend your nation, and which can reflect so ill upon it abroad.

But, I can offer one observation that I think applies to India as well as Israel, which is badly rent from within, and whose divisions I do have a good familiarity with.

Any culture that seeks its validation from the outside will be ruled from the outside. I'm not talking about the Raj that India (and Pakistan, Burma, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka) all tossed off a half century ago. I'm talking about the cultural imperialism that stalks the entire planet now.

Unfortunately, most Israelis seek validation for their own culture from the west. The result is that they care less and less about who they are and more and more about what the west thinks of them. This is killing the country in many ways, ans only exacerbating the kulturkampf here as the secular Israelis seek more and more to de-Judaize the country to get more and more approval from the secular west.

Reading this article, and many of the comments that have gone with it, lead me to suspect the same thing about India as well...

#17
John Torn
URL
January 25, 2007
01:06 PM

This has been one of the biggest overreactions since the death of Diana.

Sheep driven by hatred, who claim to be against hatred, have been lead along by media propaganda.

Just because the sheep believe something, doesn't make it correct.

This was NOT bullying, and it was NOT racism. People have been convinced that it took place, and have followed the crowd for fear of being different, or considered racist. It's the same old herd mentallity of the intellectually bereft.

Your article of hatred is very poor and shows YOUR ignorance.

Jade has been made a scapegoat, and I for one can see she has been manipulated.

We should feel sorry for those who are unfortunate, and not be so full of hate. People don't opt to be poor and have a bad life for fun.

We all like to think we are individuals, but our thought process is influenced by others. This whole overreaction shows the power of the media.

Lets discuss the hatred that white Christians receive from Muslims.

More evidence of a world that has gone mad.


#18
N
URL
January 25, 2007
03:19 PM

John: I have to disagree.

"This was NOT bullying, and it was NOT racism."

I have seen many of the clips on youtube and there was both racism and bullying.

#19
Alamgir Hussain
URL
January 25, 2007
09:29 PM

QG: "Alamgir, you are just so totally wrong when you say that the burning of effigies and flags does not happen in the West."

Quest girl, I could be quite ignorant of flag-burning in the West. Would you please tell me, if Bangladesh or Pakistan president write a letter to Indian PM & his people to convert to Islam, which Iran President did to Bush, what would be the reactions on the streets of India?

How many Irani flags have been burned on the streets of America? I think, this will clear the equation of how racist are who?

To my following of the event, the most aggressive reactions came from some people on the right. Some of such titles were "No, thank you", "Why I will not convert to Islam" etc.

Self-righteousness of one of highly racist people are well in display over the last couple of weeks.

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