18 October 2007

Racism

From the ICCs Anti-Racism Code:
"Spectators shall not engage in any conduct, act towards or speak to any player, umpire, referee or other official or other spectators in a manner which offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies that other person on the basis of that other person’s race, religion, colour, national or ethnic origin."

The Oz press has quite rightly exposed Indian double standards when it comes to racism. But the ICC, and the Oz media need to bear in mind that the language of 'race' is quite new in India. Very rarely has a dispute broken out on clearly determinable racial lines. Religion, language and caste and tribal loyalties have been the major drivers of identity politics.

This however, should not be an excuse to stick our collective heads deep in the soil. People in Delhi are not very kind to African students at the Delhi University, and chronic police suspicion of the Nigerian community would shame most Indians. The rest of the country treats their own countrymen and women from the North-East region (who usually have Mongol features) like trash. Forget about caste violence for now. At least we have a law to deal with that.

The problem does not stop with the BCCI. The government needs to legislate (or at least think about) an anti-racism law. Until then, there will be no public debate or awareness about the problem of racism. Whatever the BCCI and the ICC do until then will only be a stop-gap measure. And when the ICC demands that its anti-racism code be enforced, it would do well to realize that the code is quite useless in such a vacuum, and the best it can do is to ensure that its Anti-Racism officers have a good understanding of such local conditions.

14 comments:

Uncle J rod said...

John Indian's may not be familiar with the term racism, but you are aware of treating people badly based on their appearance, race or creed, which is exactly the same thing.

Find me a country in the world, and i'll find you a history that has racism in it. Some like South Africa, and America take it to a new level.

But Australia and India both have very very dirty histories when it comes to racism.

John said...

You're absolutely correct, uncle.

Stuart said...

As jrod says, all countries have a history of racism. If you scratch under the surface within each country, there is suspicion and dislike for the people in the next state (bloody victorians). Within each state, the people in the neighbouring towns are competitive and tend to slag each other off. Heaven help us if aliens do exist, cause I can guarantee that we will start a fight with them as well.

What does this say about us as humans?

Uncle J rod said...

Aliens do exist, left arm orthodox bolwers are proof of that.

And Stuart im a melbournian not a victorian.

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Stuart said...

Apologies jrod - us neighbours up to the north aren't real bright.

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Caro said...

changed your tune a bit, haven't you, John, from the Corridor blog, where you were demanding proof, looking down your nose at the "biased" Oz media and attacking anyone who dared to suggest that Indians, like other countries, have a racism problem, with all your talk about it being about cultural and caste! You know damn well that dark skins are derided in your country.

You were so offensive, along with some others, that I left that blog altogether. You will object to some one being equally nasty on your own blog now, of course.

So do you just go to other blogs to let off steam, then appear all nice and objective on your own?

Caro said...

and remember you comment about "Aussie hatred?" Of course, we've seen none of that sort of thing from the Indian crowds, It's all just been good fun, hasn't it, you're just "expressing yourselves". The fact that the West Indian cricket team had similar abuse directed at them 5 years ago in Mumbai, is all a lot of fuss about nothing. And when West Indians said to India "we are not animals" they didn't understand that there was nothing racist in Indian behaviour, did they? They and Symonds and all the rest of the world need to understand this paltry excuse about racism being quite new in India.

Soulberry said...

Well said, John. A post wort consideration by those who read it.

John said...

Thanks, Caro, Soulberry.

Caro, if you had any respect for the written word, you would not misinterpret, and misrepresent me such.

For anyone who cares to know the content and context of my 'controversial' and 'racist' comments, please do visit The Corridor or cricket.mailiw.com and look for two strings - "The Aus-
India spat", and "World cricket all but paralysed".

My point never was that there is no racism in India. The smart people who read it, immediately knew that I was referring to the fact that what is known in the global north as racism, spins mostly on a different set of identifiers in India. Therefore, I have a problem with imposing standards on India which have not been modified to suit local conditions. Full stop. Simple point, one would have thought.

But let's give Caro the benefit of the doubt and assume for a moment that I did change my tune. So what? Is there some sort of international bloggers norm which does not allow me to refine a point of view??

Sumit Chakraberty said...

i think there's not much point in discussing who is more racist - all forms of it should be stamped out. that's why i have a problem with only highlighting something that becomes a public spectacle and winking at the so-called "niggle" that goes on with a smile on the cricket field. how come tennis has stamped out the "niggle", and it's none the worse for it. is cricket a less "civilised" sport?

Sumit Chakraberty said...

john, you make a good point about altering viewpoints, although in that case it's usually better to refer to the earlier divergent view to help people understand how the view changed.

John said...

Thank you, Sumit. You're right in that it is useless to refer to a particular instance of 'public racism' just to make a point. However, with news hungry hounds and public around, that is just wishful thinking. Therefore, my point that when someone points to possible case(s) of racism, it is necessary that the mileu not be ignored. I had a friend in the NSW University (I think) who had acid poured down his shirt because he was brown. In India, 'colour' has very rarely been the source of such extreme violence. Other identifiers have been at work - religion, caste, tribe and language - among others. Someone in Hindustan Times had referred to the Indian obsession with fairness creams and our general suspicion of immigrant blacks, something that has not been sufficiently understood. He used the vague term, 'soft racism'. Before we impose any 'codes' or such, we need to understand what exactly we're trying to solve. It is dangerous to impose Aussie norms of what amounts to racist conduct on a surprised society.

Also, i have pointed out the particular strings that Caro may be referring to, in case anyone is interested in knowing whether/how my opinion may/may not have changed.

Sumit Chakraberty said...

john, like i said it's not possible to say who is more racist. but i've seen the way some desis talk about blacks in the US - so let's not fool ourselves. as far as affirmative action to stamp out racism goes, i think we lag far behind western societies.