OPINION

India vs. Australia: Cricket & Race

January 08, 2008
Amrita Rajan

Welcome to 2008! A week into the new year and we’ve already plunged into a fresh cricketing scandal. This time around it’s a race row between India and Australia – with an Australian cricketer alleging he was racially abused by an Indian player. Ah, sports in the global village. Never a boring moment.

It all started way back in October when Australia were touring India. A bunch of spectators in Vadodara marked Andrew Symonds, an England-born Australian player of West Indian and British descent, as the “enemy” thanks to his on-field clashes with Indian hotheads Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh - two players least likely to take it like proper Indians - and began baiting him in the presence of a South African journalist.

Said journalist was more than a little taken aback when the Indians around him began imitating monkeys. He asked one guy close to him what he thought he was doing. “He looks like a monkey,” the man apparently replied. There are two ways to take this comment: one, he was alluding to the fact that Symonds was “black” and that he thought black people are less than human; two, he thought Symonds, literally, looked like a monkey.

The first would clearly be an example of a racial slur. The second would have been mean but entirely his opinion. We don’t know which it was. Either way, it wasn’t very nice. If it was indeed a racist comment then it was despicable and I hope he felt it burn when Symonds went on to smash the ball all over the place. If it was his idea of a clever bit of namecalling, I hope he’s sitting at home watching the current drama play out on TV and fast coming to the realization that wit is not his forte.

The South African journalist later reported the incident to a member of the Australian press contingent and wanted to know if Symonds had mentioned anything. The Australian said no and asked Symonds about it. Symonds appeared to have forgotten all about it but when quizzed, replied yeah, he remembered something of the sort but didn’t make much of it.

Next up, Mumbai where a massive row broke out when a group of idiots were captured on camera, scratching their armpits and hollering and jumping about. If they were looking to make it onto TV screens, they got their wish and more. Symonds was reportedly very upset and charges of racism were made against the crowd. Everybody fell over themselves excusing / castigating those men in the crowd who were eventually arrested but then released.

The best explanation, without doubt, was the one offered by one BCCI official that the monkey was sacred in Hinduism and thus the crowd was praying to Hanuman. That’s right, people – the sight of Symonds on the field brought out intense religious fervor in Indian cricket fans. And they invariably pray by yelling “monkey” and scratching their armpits. It's an old and honored method of worship. Ladies and gentlemen, a pause for applause here for the Board of Control for Cricket in India. They never disappoint.

In the middle of all this, Indian bowler Harbhajan Singh apparently tried his hand at sledging and ended up calling Symonds a monkey. After the match was over, Symonds came over to the dressing room and gave Harbhajan a short lesson on racism. Calling someone a monkey, where he came from, Symonds explained, meant that person was sub-human, an inferior breed. A charge that Australians are especially sensitive to because this attitude informed (white) Australian attitudes towards the Aborigines for years. Harbhajan, much contrite, said he’d had no idea and would never do it again.

Australia won that series in India and two and half months later, the Indians showed up in Australia for a rematch. The first test ended in a defeat for the visitors but the second test proved to be a real fight and the visitors put on a good show in spite of what seem to be rather more frequent umpiring errors than usual. (Understatement: it’s an art I practice.) Then came the ugliness.

Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan were at bat. Brett Lee was bowling. Harbhajan hit a delivery and ran down wicket for a run and along the way patted Lee’s butt with his bat. Maybe this is how people express their affection in Jalandhar or perhaps he felt he hadn’t hit the ball hard enough and therefore needed to hit the bowler as well to show the strength of his arm – hell, maybe it was the cricketing version of what basketball players do with their hands. Who knows what he was thinking? Harbhajan hasn’t yet explained and Lee has been absolutely mum on the subject. But Symonds got an eyeful of this and, perhaps because he enjoyed needling Harbhajan, decided to stick up for his teammate. So he and Harbhajan exchanged a few words.

And according to Symonds, this is when Harbhajan called him a monkey. Again. And not just any monkey but a “big monkey”.

I’ve heard a lot of people, by which I mean Indians, talk about how “monkey” is not a term of racial abuse in India and so Harbhajan never meant it like that. And as far as that goes, while “monkey” is definitely not a term of endearment (well, okay it can be but I don’t think that’s how they’d use it while sledging or having an altercation), they’re right – Indians don’t use it in the sense that Westerners do.

However, that hasn't stopped us from feeling hurt when the term has been applied to fellow Indians in other racial contexts like the US state of Virginia where senatorial candidate George Allen referred to a young man of Indian descent as a "macaca". Nobody expects Harbhajan to follow the ramifications of incidents that occurred during political campaigns halfway across the world but if he did use the term in Sydney, he did so after being informed of the connotations that the term carries in Australia – and as such he deserves condemnation.

The key question though, is did he use the term?

Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds say he did. Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh himself say he didn’t. The umpires didn’t hear anything and the stump mics didn’t pick anything up. So it basically comes down to whose word do you believe?

Mike Proctor, the South African match referee, decided the Australians had it right in this instance. He said, as a South African he recognized a racist attack when he saw it and it was quite clear to him that Harbhajan had not only said it but that he meant it as a racial slur. Since Proctor is so well versed in racism, then he might also understand the point that many Indian fans are making today: black man, known for sledging, accuses brown man, known for temper, of racism -> brown man denies it -> umpires don’t hear it, stump mics don’t pick it up -> another brown man says he was right there and he didn’t hear it -> two white men say they heard it loud and clear -> white man says he believes the two white men over the lone brown man. 

The character of a gentleman should give everybody involved the benefit of the doubt in this instance. Just as we don’t want to believe that Tendulkar flat out lied to protect his teammate and that Harbhajan is a racist, we shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that this is some sort of orchestrated campaign by the Australians to bump an effective bowler off an opposing team. Given the lack of hard evidence, it could have been resolved on field as a matter between gentlemen. But it wasn’t (and some people would say it’s because the Aussies have proven themselves to be no gentlemen) and Proctor, for reasons best known to himself, couldn't bring himself to come out with a "not proven" or "inconclusive" result.

However, if Ricky Ponting actually believed such a incident had gone down, he was perfectly justified in doing what he did. A fact that nobody pointed out more strongly than Ponting himself. Racism isn’t acceptable just because the target is a white man (Symonds isn’t but there have been other examples in the past) and a white team has every right to report an incident if it feels wronged.

But now that he’s taken this step, it’ll be interesting to see how things play out over the years given Australia’s propensity to sledge. Some people, like Peter Roebuck, have called for Ponting’s head (for his attitude as well as his actions) and indeed, Australia may well come to regret this incident, but in the years to come? I think Ponting did everybody a favor.

I suppose in the short time to come you’re going to see some amount of retaliatory action, just like some allege the Australians are doing right now, but now that race has come into the open as a factor in a sport as fanatically beloved as cricket, there is no way it can be swept under the carpet by fatcat cretins like the BCCI who came out with this remarkable statement:

"India's national commitment is against racism. Our national struggle is based on values which negate racism." [Pawar said.]

Now that the top dog in international cricket has stepped forward to make use of race laws, it should open the floodgates for other teams. After all, if Australia the hardy world champions don’t think it’s whiny behavior to stand up against racial abuse, why should other teams feel shy? And now that words like “monkey” and “bastard” are deemed racially sensitive, look for sledging to subside because really, who knows what might be culturally sensitive?

Thus we come full circle and decide that abuse is abuse, whatever we call it. If you want to call someone names, make sure it’s someone from your own team because that’s the only way to ensure that you’re not stepping over some invisible line.

Good for all of us. Hard luck for Harbhajan, though.

Amrita Rajan is a writer based in NYC
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#1
Chandra
January 8, 2008
02:37 AM


It misses the cricketing reasons why Ponting and co attacked Bhajji and therefore an incomplete analysis.

rgds

#2
Misha Charrett
January 8, 2008
03:16 AM

Chandra, if you think Ponting reported Harbhajan because of anything that happened on the field then you don't know much about Australian cricket. The main reason Harbhajan was reported is the Australian team's perceived slight that allegations of racism tend to be Anglo's (whites) slighting other races. Darren Lehmann was suspended (quite rightly) for 5 matches some time ago for a racist remark. The Australians feel that acts of racism go both ways. Harbhajan's figures for this series are the worst of all India's bowlers and he is likely to be pretty ineffective in Perth where it suits the fast bowlers. I'm sure Australia would love Harbhajan to play in Perth because he is likely to get hammered by the Australian batsmen.

#3
temporal
URL
January 8, 2008
03:21 AM

ams:

well researched, balanced and well done!

#4
smallsquirrel
January 8, 2008
03:32 AM

best analysis I have read yet... clear of all this emotional hoo-ha and simply backing the team for senti reasons. I think, like you, that the sitch is much more complicated that can be blamed simply on one player and one team.

australians are known to have some pretty heinous racial attitudes. but symmonds is a minority and so it gets complicated. indians are generally in the dark completely about their own racial stereotypes, but as you mention can clearly identify when they feel discriminated against.

it's a very intricate web of issues and you explicated it very well. thank you!

#5
Misha Charret
January 8, 2008
03:49 AM

"Australians are known to have some pretty heinous racial attitudes" - what a load of cobblers! In Australia we have our share of racists, just like India has its share of racists. However, Australia is a great example of multi-culturalism at work and has a lot less problems with race than the US, or even the UK or France. This is definitely one of the better analyses of the issues.

#6
lomi
URL
January 8, 2008
05:06 AM

Misha
That is because u never allow anyone who even has a slight hate fr British to enter australia. What are u nothin but british colony. Headed by Queen. U guys are slaves to Queen. Why dont u get it. Guess what dictatorship at its best is displayed in australia. Purity of race (white race) and u talk abt no issues. All but white race are monkeys. Tats how u killed native australians and called them aborgines. U guys are petty rascals. Ponting the torch beared of rascalism. I cant stop laughing at australia and the way they ppl bootlick british queen there.

#7
lomi
URL
January 8, 2008
05:08 AM

ponting the slave of Queen.

#8
Misha Charrett
January 8, 2008
05:32 AM

Lomi, from your comments I can assume that you have never been here. Perhaps if you had you would realise that those days are long gone. We, in Australia, are possibly the most ethnically diverse nation in the world. The ABC (national radio broadcaster) did a live broadcast in Sydney, November, 2007, where people from over 150 different coutries of origin showed up (http://www.abc.net.au/sydney/stories/worldinsydney.htm). We have every ethnic group represented here and enjoy all the different religions, cultures, and food. Sure, there are some rednecks who long for the days of monoculturalism, but that time has been and gone. Fortunately they are in the minority and are dismissed by the vast majority of the population.

#9
smallsquirrel
January 8, 2008
06:06 AM

misha... don;t mind lomi, he's not [EDITED] but I must disagree with you about australia. you go ahead and talk to anyone brown who has been there and they will tell you that they faced issues. I agree that some australians are fine, and probably most. but the australians who are bigoted are very vocal and are also willing to take it to the next level.

the days of problems are not long gone... what about the cronulla race riots? what about towns refusing to let muslims build islamic schools (but I am sure that christian schools are built with no issues)? you cannot bury your head and say that everything is fine in australia.

#10
Chandra
January 8, 2008
07:35 AM

Misha

Firstly, it is unfair to assume that I dont understand Australian cricket. I have been following Australian cricket for 27 years. I very well remember the day, Chappell and Chappell combined to bowl the underarm ball against New Zealand. I am sure it must have been a crowining glory for your team.

Now coming to your specific point. Please go through the following

http://www.rediff.com/cricket/2008/jan/07prem.htm

Look at the picture of Ricky Ponting grabbing a catch of Dhoni. If he still claims this to be a legitimate catch, God help him!!


Cricketing reasons--->

a. The ball spun prodigiously during the last overs of day 3. In particular, one Harbhajan ball turned wide outside of leg to almost the first slip. Australia had to bat the next day. One good reason why the Aussies protested against Harbhajan

b. Look at the record of who won India most of its matches against Australia in 2001 - Harbhajan Singh

c. Who got Ponting out four times in the series (out of 4)? Harbhajan Singh

So, those are the cricketing reasons. Australia will do anything to win. The objective was of the complaint was to pur harbhajan under pressure on Day 4.

Next on the issue of racism- I dont think Australia is a racist country and if it is, I am sure it must be lesser than many countries including India. That is really not the point of dispute here. The issue is fundamentally that the Australian cricket team is willing to win by hook or CROOK. The Chappell and Ponting example are good examples of this mindet.

By the way Harbhajan was not scheduled to play the match in perth anyway, so keep your hopes up.

#11
lomi
URL
January 8, 2008
11:44 AM

yaa [EDITED]

Continue bootlicking. Day is not far when milk will stop frm boots.

#12
Chandra
January 8, 2008
12:07 PM


What is this gossip about Bhajji saying Maan ki and not Monkey?//

#13
Amrita
URL
January 8, 2008
12:31 PM

Thanks for reading everybody!
Chandra - well, i'm hardly an authority on cricket so it was nice to hear from you about the cricketing angle. my interest was the race issue. incidentally when i first heard that both sides were adamant about their versions, i wondered if something like "maa ki" had been uttered and misconstrued. i can barely understand harbhajan on a good day and i'm an indian born and bred so i wouldnt be surprised if the australians were mistaken. funny nobody's offered it as a theory yet.

Misha - thank you. I dont know much about the finer points of the game but i have to say the attitude of the australian public in general in this instance has been admirable.

Temp - thanks :)

SS - one of the things that really interested me about symonds vs. harbhajan was the fact that symonds is to the australian team what harbhajan is to the indian team. they're both members of minorities who've been discriminated against. so on the surface it looks like lone black man in all white team vs, indian from indian team and racially that's correct. but as far as discrimination goes, not so much.

Lomi - if you don't know how to insult people without making yourself look like an idiot in the process maybe you should try politeness for a change?

#14
PH
URL
January 8, 2008
04:01 PM

Amrita,

Great piece, you covered many bases! It's truly shocking that without any independent evidence you can ban a player...twelve angry men, anyone?

#15
Beau Peep
URL
January 8, 2008
05:56 PM

Must have been 'England born of West Indian origin.

Anyway, the controversy is all wrongly interpreted and understood in the ongoing racial controversy. I have the answers here mate.

#16
Peter O'Donnell
January 8, 2008
10:35 PM

Great article.

However, just because somebody didn't hear it doesn't mean it wasn't said. We don't know what Tendulkar's evidence was. I have no doubt he is a man of high integrity and have would have given accurate and honest testimony. However, just because he didn't hear the work "monkey" used doesn't mean the Australian witnesses who did hear the word are lying. I didn't hear the term being used either - my point is not hearing it is not relevant. Lots of other players and the umpires didn't hear it - that doesn't mean it wasn't said, it just means they didn't hear it. 3 players heard it - evidence enough I would have thought.

It is terribly sad for India that so many - BCCI representatives included - have been so quick to justify racism.

#17
PH
URL
January 9, 2008
12:21 AM

Peter,

True, Harbhajan may have said it but since when did hearsay become enough evidence to ban a player? Isn't tht a slippery precedent to set?

#18
Kartikeya
URL
January 9, 2008
01:50 AM

I think the Racism question here is dubious. This has as much to do with racism per se as George Bush's war had to do with WMD.

The point is simple i think. If it was Brad Hogg and not Andrew Symonds who had been the aim of the "monkey" comment, it would not have been regarded as being racist.

Further, Punjabi Sikhs have no history of racism towards the aborigines. Therefore, Harbhajan calling Symonds a monkey is about as racist as an aborigine calling Symonds a monkey, irrespective of what connotations the the word has in australia.

The charge was in part opportunism and in part inopportune timing.

The real story here is the revelation, which India's players have stood up to that Mike Procter and the umpires completely lost control of the game and therefore ended up ignoring all of Ponting's transgressions.

The Racism charge is a narrow bureaucratic charge laid and upheld in a hearing based on evidence which India claim is little more than hearsay.

It is no surprise to see that Ranjan Madugalle has to come in to broker a truce - something which should be Procter's job as Match Referee. He has been sidelined and slighted. He ought to withdraw from the series.

#19
s
URL
January 9, 2008
05:41 AM

i liked this piece. some of my thoughts are collected here, please have a look. http://monkeysymonds.blogspot.com/

#20
bytha gangulys
January 9, 2008
07:40 AM

who gives a fuck what india thinks , for fuck sake , your indians. youve only had computers for a few fuckin years.do you realise in an australians eyes your all fuckin black. we dont get it ,coolies pickin on coolies.twits

#21
Amrita
URL
January 9, 2008
01:28 PM

PH - ha! I didn't think of that. Thanks btw :)

Peter - thanks :) the problem is that in the absence of hard evidence, it really becomes "he said / he said" and nobody is going to be happy. if you believe tendulkar over hayden and clarke, then you're calling them liars. if you believe hayden and clarke, then you're de facto calling tendulkar a liar. which is why proctor really ought to have given a strong warning of some sort and returned an inconclusive result.
Race relations as they're played in the global village is still something new for a lot of indians. so we're essentially playing catch up and it's going to take some time for some people to understand that white people can be victims of racism too. Not that Symonds is white but you get my drift.
The BCCI are a bunch of idiots. And race is something that a lot more boards will need to think about.

Kartikeya - well, yes, racial abuse by its very nature is predicated on who says what to whom. And like i said, the first time he says it, he didnt have any clue. the second time, if he did say it, he did it knowing full well how symonds felt. that makes it racist.

BP - hello again :) Symonds is of mixed race.

S - thank you.

Troll - give it up. trolling is an art and you're an amateur.

#22
kela
January 9, 2008
02:03 PM

amrita you have your analysis totally wrong,write it again ,this time standing on your head.
First why do you blame that indian spectator for calling symonda a monkey.He does look like one doesnt he? and its got nothing to do with his race ,infact his fair skin would put many a bihari bride to shame.Our very own dear malu Sreesanth is called a monkey by our very own desi malus.Just go orkut and you'll what i mean.Sreesanth is one of the few players to be privelged by having a number of " I hate sreesanth" communities .all of them started by our very own malu brothers.One very common insult used in all these communities is to call him a monkey and they do it in all kinds of creative ways.its really a pity that malus can't find better avenues to use their talent.go to orkut and see for yourself.Are you going to tell me this is racist ? Sreesanth apparently is a Brahman.
Blame the south-african journalist ,who in hs ignorance of local sensbilities gave immautre taunts racial overtones.
Secondly Harbhajan has denied that he ever called Symonds a monkey in india and has even denied that Syamonds ever came to the dressng room to talk to him abt it.This is the reason why the indian team is solidly behind Bhajji.
That apart it seems hypocritical on the part of the aussies to complain abt racism when Glen Mcgrath has called Sanath Jayasurya a "Black Monkey"' and Mathew Clarke has called Chris Gayle a "second class citizen"
Aussies are hypocrites,they have a horrendous record as regards discrimination of the Abo's are concerned so they need a mascot they trump upp and show the world.They did it with Cathy Freeman during the sydeny olympics .Crciket is their national sport and its a big deal for them

#23
Amrita
URL
January 9, 2008
02:23 PM

Kela - now there's my favorite troll :D Not that you're especially trolling now or maybe my instinct has been dulled by all the hysteria over the past few days.

Really? They call him monkey on orkut? HAH! But as I was telling Kartikeya, racial abuse is predicated on the identity of the speaker and the identity of the listener. Thats why its (barely) ok for black people to call each other "nigger" but if you were to sashay up to a black man and call him that you'd come away with a few teeth missing.

Remember when Brangelina came to town and some of their guards were supposed to have called a few people "bloody Indians"? what a hoo ha there was!

Also, it makes no sense to say Symonds can't complain because his teammates are racists. Thats like saying Indians cant complain if they get ripped off because corruption is a pervasive part of Indian life. Hypocrisy or not, Symonds has every right to complain - IF harbhajan used that term.

#24
Kartikeya
URL
January 9, 2008
02:35 PM

Amrita... does it make it racist? Or does it make it merely offensive? I used the word merely not because i think it is less serious, but because there is a different clause which it would have invited (Level 2.8).

Does it become racist merely because Symonds said it is? Racism is a claim of superiority based on racial lines. It has been generalized further to a claim of superiority based on "group privilege".

It doesn't make it racist even if Harbhajan was made aware of the relevant history in great detail, because Harbhajan's claim of racial superiority against Symonds ought to carry about as much weight as his claim of moral superiority against Hogg might have, had the word been used against Hogg.

A upper caste Indian player making a casteist remark against a lower caste Indian player might be referred to as being racist. But an Aussie player making the same (even if he was aware) should not be.

Is there some sort of unwritten affirmative action which automatically differentiates Symonds from Hogg? Why should it apply to non-Australians?

#25
kela
January 9, 2008
02:43 PM

Oh yeah,they really vilify him on Orkut,what sucks though its all the Malus who r doing it,the rest of india like the guy.These guys put up pics of chimps and monkeys next to his and mock him.I threatened all of the owners with dire consequences even to the extent of breaking their bones.I scared many into deleting their profiles completely lol,the others took the time to patiently convince me why they hate him and to spare them,well i realiised they're just a bunch a jealous losers and let them be
Look when the aussies can talk the same and expect it to remain on the field why this sudden getting all so touchy?couldnt they have sorted this among the captains ?Infact Kumble today said he tried to sort it out with Pontng but the latter wouldnt have any of it.There's something called honor in the way you conduct yourself every child who plays sports knows abt this.
ANyway Harbhajan denies using the term
Symonds is a moron,its obvious the guy doesnt have any brains,i just suspect his team-mates are using him,in this instance Ponting

#26
kela
January 9, 2008
02:50 PM

anyway this is all very silly.by deciding that monkey is a derogatory term when used against black Africans aren't we indirectly acknowledging they're lesser evolved ?

#27
Kartikeya
URL
January 9, 2008
03:33 PM

By the way, that slap on Lee's backside with the bat, is the cricketing version of a pat on the back (with bat in hand). Batting pairs often do it just to encourage the partner to go on. It is very much a pat on the back - its a cricket thing and each of the 22 players who played the Test match knows this.

In sledging terms, Symonds's problem was not that Harbhajan was being "friendly" with his bowlers, it was that Harbhajan was feeling comfortable enough and friendly enough at the wicket(read - batting well) to acknowledge Lee. "Standing up for his mate" was an obvious euphemism.

One of the pre-requisites for Racism seems to me to be this idea of a demonstrated collective belief in the notion of group privilege. Then, when one of that collection of people makes a reference of the kind Harbhajan made, it may be termed racist.

If Harbhajan did say it, it was quite stupid and very offensive. But whether it was outrageously offensive is something that only modern day cricketers can tell us, for the general quality of on-field language is something only they can testify to - so can the umpires i guess, but mainly it would be up to the players.

#28
Jonny Currymuncha
January 10, 2008
05:17 PM

The Indians were ignored because they have no credibility when it comes to these matters after Mumbai. The pathetic denials and laughable excuses offered by BCCI officials after the crowd, and serial racist Harbajahn, were caught making monkey noises at Symonds showed that Indians are lying savages with no integrity. Idon't what the problem is with your culture but for some reason Indians just cannot tell the truth.

#29
Kartikeya
URL
January 11, 2008
12:29 AM

Jonny fictitious-sur-name.....

So you're suggesting that Mike Procter was blatantly biased, and had prejudged the Harbhajan-Symonds situation in Sydney?

He might sue you you know :)

#30
Amrita
URL
January 11, 2008
12:31 AM

Kartikeya - your point makes sense on one level but the thing is, we don't get to decide what is offensive and what isn't to another person.

When we tell another person that they shouldn't feel offended because we've thought it over and decided that they shouldnt feel offended, then whatever our arguments and however valid they might be, we're basically saying that we have the sole privilege of determining what is and what is not correct behavior. It's one of the reasons the Australians were so resented when it came to sledging because their defense of it - that it's culturally permitted in their country and the rest of us should just go along with it - could be interpreted as a matter of privilege.

Your example of an Australian using a casteist term is interesting btw because casteism is not the same as racism. So if an Australian used a casteist term after finding out what it means, then it would be just as offensive as an Indian using it but would it be racist? I dont know but I'd love to hear some opinions.

As far as Hogg is concerned, he's a white man - a white man's association with the term monkey differs considerably from a black man's. That's why the identity of the speaker and the identity of the listener are so important in cases of racial abuse.

Take for example, the term "nigger" - Indians were referred as such too. And a lot of indian kids, in love with R&B and hip hop use the term or "nigga" to refer to each other today. But does that mean an Indian has the right to refer to a black person as "nigger" or "nigga"?

It's complicated and endlessly fascinating. Thank you for bringing these points up.

PS - point noted about the pat on the butt :D

#31
Amrita
URL
January 11, 2008
12:38 AM

Kela - my understanding is that Ponting and his men had no idea what they were doing when they decided to report. Change comes at a price though and like I said, this means everyone is going to think extra hard before they open their mouth again. Re: mallus on Orkut - well he is a bit of a monkey [OH NO! I DIDNT! :D]

Jonny - You're either a troll or a racist. If you're a troll then you're not a very good one, if you're a racist then you're stupid. Either way, who cares?

#32
kela
January 11, 2008
01:21 AM

well the indian team says Bhajji actually called Symonds a Maderchod.
annyway this is the fuckin 21st century,black ppl are doing very well,they rule sports,enteratinment and now u might u have a black president,u would think its silly if a black man was insulted as being lesser evolved when its obvious its not the case

#33
Kartikeya
URL
January 11, 2008
01:32 PM

Amrita..

I absolutely agree that what Harbhajan said was probably offensive. But was it racist? My sole point here is that harbhajan saying it to symonds is not equal to a white player saying it to symonds. This is how it seems to have been read.

On the offense question: Level 2.8 (Offensive behaviour) of the ICC code of conduct would have been more appropriate as against Level 3.3 (Racist behaviour).

#34
PH
URL
January 11, 2008
02:43 PM

Amrita & Kartikeya,

Very interesting discussion. Ultimately it boils down to the ingroup outgroup thing. It's a damned if you do and damned if you dont situation.
We can't avoid differentiating bcos ppl in general do actively discriminate (this isn't always bad, it could be trivial and sometimes beneficial).
So ppl in their group don't mind a certain word being thrown around.
I'm reminded of De Niro's sidekick in Analyze This who keeps calling himself an idiot but knocks over another gangster when he does. "It's different when I say it", he protests:)

#35
Kartikeya
URL
January 11, 2008
06:48 PM

Ph... i did think of Analyze This too... mainly because i saw it last week :)

Amrita... you're reference to the discourse on sledging as analogous to that on racism hits the nail on the head..

"we're basically saying that we have the sole privilege of determining what is and what is not correct behavior"

In this case i think they are claim sole privilege, while we are saying that they don't have this privilege.

In any event, do read Mihir Bose's blog on the BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/mihirbose/2008/01/what_was_and_wasnt_said_in_syd.html

It suggests that India bungled the hearing.

#36
kela
January 12, 2008
06:28 AM

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2008/01/12/scmott112.xml

#37
kela
January 12, 2008
06:30 AM

Now we have a feminist twist to the controversy lol

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2008/01/12/scmott112.xml

#38
Amrita
URL
January 12, 2008
08:55 AM

Kela - that article is long on righteous anger and short on context and facts.

Kartikeya - since it was Symonds who first complained, it's not really the Australian team who's claiming privilege (although it was the team that LODGED the complaint, if you see the difference). And if Bhajji said it after being informed of what it meant, then yes, I do think its racist. I dont know about cricketing laws though :)

PH - this is true and we're all getting more and more PC as time goes by and come more into contact with each other's cultures so our defense can't be "we're brown, we incapable of racism". Lol @ AT

#39
Kartikeya
URL
January 12, 2008
04:47 PM

Amrita... just as our defense can't be "we're brown, we [are] incapable of racism", the allegation of racism itself must become more and more difficult to make. I'd go so far as to say that if the argument is as you suggest invalid, then racism itself is impossible.

Racism is not the same as an offensive remark pertaining to race.

#40
temporal
URL
January 12, 2008
05:09 PM

ams here is another take:

What is racism' It need not pertain only to issues of race. It is essentially an act of gross generalization born out of abject ignorance through which an entire community is tarred by a process of caricature and reduction. When the deeds of some Muslims lead to an assumption that all Muslims are terrorists, when all Jews are seen as money-minded, or all Hindus are regarded as devious, or all Sikhs become the butt of jokes that belittle their intelligence, we are surely immersed in the quagmire of racism. And if we understand that for thousands of years the dominant religion in our land has imposed a caste system that sanctioned the subjugation of an entire people to slavery and kept them from acquiring either property or knowledge, we will understand what racism really means.

...(and in conclusion he writes)

The real problem is that nationalism is the mirror image of racism, and those who believe in 'my country right or wrong' are close cousins of those who believe in 'my skin colour right or wrong', 'my religion right or wrong' or 'my caste right or wrong'.

As for monkeys, we are either all monkeys, or as is more accurate, we are all former monkeys who have degenerated into homo-sapiens, the only species on earth that has taken concrete steps (no pun intended) towards destroying the very planet it occupies.

A little humility about this may be the best cure for racism.
Link

#41
amrood
January 12, 2008
07:00 PM

kela eat some amrood and get refreshed

#42
amrood
January 12, 2008
07:06 PM

the late indian primeminister morarjee desai once suggested that if all indians ate milk fruits and nuts all conflicts will be resolved. i suggest only fresh fruits if milk and nuts are not affordable. racism in cricket in australia, india will continue until we eat lots and lots of fruity products

#43
amrood
January 12, 2008
07:20 PM

kela is fine. unfortunately its skin is treacherous as too many people slip on it and break thier bone

#44
temporal
URL
January 12, 2008
07:24 PM

for amrood

check with the comment policy and stick with one nick only

#45
updike98
URL
January 12, 2008
10:30 PM

One statistical fact missed by all-a huge minority of australian children come from single parent households without acknowledged fathers.So maybe they behave the way they do because they actually are bastards.

#46
PH
URL
January 14, 2008
03:24 PM

Amrita,

Oh yes, "we're brown and incapable of racism" would be the biggest lie ever. I've seen how ugly it can get for white people (women, mostly) visiting India.

temp,
Point abt nationalism is well taken

#47
temporal
URL
January 14, 2008
09:57 PM

PH:

welcome:)

when are we going to read a good article by you here?

#48
PH
URL
January 14, 2008
10:23 PM

temp,

Sigh... wht to do, "Gham e rozgaar" takes priority:(

#49
temporal
URL
January 14, 2008
10:32 PM

woh tou theek hay!

aik sh'er:

fikr e ma'ash, ishq e butaaN, yaad e raf't gaan
dO din ki zindagi maiN bhala kiya karay koi?

#50
PH
URL
January 15, 2008
10:49 AM

:) so true

#51
Die Hard
January 17, 2008
05:27 AM

Very interesting analysis Amrita. It is actually not the BCCI but Mike Proctor who takes the cake for saying '...as a South African he recognized a racist attack...'! An Afrikaner understanding racism? Can those three words be in a sentence?!!

#52
Chandra
January 17, 2008
06:12 AM

Is Proctor an Afrikaner?

#53
Die Hard
January 17, 2008
08:04 AM

Sorry a white African.

#54

September 29, 2008
08:26 PM

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