Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Are You A Closet Racist?

My Own Private India
http://twitter.com/thejoelstein/status/17265335792

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/

5 comments:

pawan said...

Sharing this on my facebook profile, that being said I needn't tell you again, a thoughtful post. We are and we will be closet racists forever. I feel it's the human nature!

Anonymous said...

I apologize for following your blog anonymously.
Being working with a weirdly diverse international team, my conclusion is that you had the pleasure of meeting one of', those white/black trash rednecks. In our team if Miran the German say's you Indians are lazy, we say hey asshole you get what you pay for try getting the same thing done in Mexico,"they all say Manana and keep a knife" and we like to add how did a negro end up in Germany......aren't all blacks in Africa....... all we do is laugh our ass off....coz the guy saying that is black....being a racist is such a waste of time......after all it's such a pointless discussion.............Being well versed in history i know the company that made ovens to kill jews still exists and the americans killed the Indigenous and they still keep reservation for them coz they feel guilty. As far as i know you, you should surround yourself with intelligent people not the trash that clogs the economy.
As usual i like to quote my sardar collegue "Gadhe england me bhi hote hai" (i think it was his father who told him)........BTW try getting Russel Peter's complete show CD, my friend told me about him, i gotta admit her taste rocks.......being a immigrant canadian she has to go through a lot of this crap, but i guess she does the Roark way.....ignore the bourgeoisie
..........

Rambler said...

@Pawan
Hey thanks...I won't mind if you say that again :-). Yup, I think we all are closet racists..Mostly, that stays in the closet, but comes out in some way or the other!

@Anon
No need to apologize. Be my guest and drop by my blog whenever you want :-).

You know, going Roark's way is not a good solution. You need to be very strong and idealistic, which am not.

Actually, I haven't met too many of "those" people that you mentioned...It's just a stray comment here and there, which one tends to tune out after a while...I liked what your colleague says about donkeys in England :-).

theseventhhill said...

I agree with your view point that everyone is a closet racist. More importantly, racism mixed with desi hypocrisy. The way our folks justify their ethnocentrism is appalling

mAnIaC! said...

I agree that somewhere inside, every1 is a racist. However, I would still prefer that we keep mum on such issues especially in public!

Read through the TIME article of Stein, and found it dumb and pathetic. What I didn't understand though, is such a personal opinion would look alright (to be ignored or cursed) on his personal blog or discussion board... but TIME giving a platform and spreading/encouraging his voice being heard? Sinful ! Idiotic! What were they thinking?

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