Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Are You A Closet Racist?

My Own Private India

Is this article supposed to be funny? Am sure the immigrant Indians that Joel Stein is targeting are not laughing. On second thoughts, such articles will always seem funny to one demographic group. The group that's poking fun at the expense of others. Is it less funny if the one cracking the jokes belongs to our circle? I have seen some videos of Russel Peters on Youtube. His comments/jokes are far worse, yet they don't seem so.

Some days back I was standing at the PATH station watching a NYer making snide comments at two women from Philly like how they like to talk and not listen. The women were new to the city and ignoring the group of people who was offering them advice on how to move about. I was watching them and thinking that if one is determined to be prejudiced, there are so many options available: language, accent, state, religion, color, appearance. Take your pick and enjoy poking fun!!

Back home, we like to take it to another level by having violent outbursts against outsiders. By North poking fun at the South, South looking down on North, West gaping at East and nudging/laughing. And then we moan when we are cornered in a foreign country. We want to keep our prejudices and expect others to give theirs up. 

Coming back to the article, is it worth getting all riled up? I have never really read the Time magazine. But I thought it would have better articles than this lame-ass attempt at humor. The "apology" just makes it worse. There are better ways of expressing shock at the changes that immigration has brought about rather than resorting to digs about multi-armed Gods. The reactions to the article are equally bad. With some people attacking the Americans and their culture, raking up Stein's Jewish background, etc etc.

Truth is everyone's a closet racist, the problem is when they come out of the closet!! Am not sure which would be better, if more people came out the closet so that at least you know who you should watch out for. Or unknowingly staying friends with someone who would make snide/nasty comments the moment your back is turned. Maybe if our circle of friends and acquaintances was bigger, it would change things. If you had a friend who belonged to the group you disliked, would you not think twice before saying such things?...

Linking to Lekhni's post on the same article http://elekhni.com/2010/07/why-joel-stein-will-not-apologize/

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