Friday, April 27, 2012

Racist??!! More like 'Hypocrite'...

This is what happened on FB, today morning. A simple joke that turned out to be a 'racist' allegation! For obvious reason, I have changed the names and deleted the FB links. 
'Indian Guy' is on my friend list, a jewellery designer with a liberal 'think-tank'. 
I assume ' Ms. Anti-Racist' is someone who gets hyper for no reason and shouts 'Wolf, Wolf' for nothing. 
'Me' is of course Me. 
And 'Foreigner' is a genuine 'firang' - there now, I am THE 'racist' - damn!
And then we have Bystander 1,2, 3 etc etc.

Indian guy’s status message: A friend of mine from China was showing me some photos of his family, when I took out a pen and started drawing circles on them. It was only when he shouted "wa da fuk yu doing?" that I realised that it wasn't a game of 'spot the difference.'

Ms. Anti-Racist: aren't you sounding a bit stereotypical and vaguely racist?

Indian guy: Stereotypical - maybe. Racist - not exactly...i have got something against a country, not the race

Ms. Anti-Racist: Just one final question. In this status msg of yours, you are clearly implying on a race. Isn't this like counter-acting against your second statement -"Racist - not exactly...i have got something against a country, not the race"?

Indian guy: Seriously, have you never cracked/laughed a sardar/mallu/gujju joke? Haven't you ever enjoyed a russell peters act? If even vaguely yes, what was that if not racist? But that never meant that you would commit to racism in your actions. so relax. its quite late...enjoy a good sleep :)

Me: ‎@Indian Guy LOL! And We are all racists, at some point, and I find it hard to believe that there is someone who has never laughed at a so-called 'racist' joke or made a comment in ALL his years of existence on any 'race'. You have only made a simple remark about the Chinese, but of course it does not mean u want to kill them!

Indian guy: @Me - U got it! :)

Foreigner: not cool Indian guy not cool :(

The problem is when we Indians make jokes against our own countrymen, against the neighbour, against the servant, against the anglo-indians or the millions of people in our country, it is not Racist! Why? Because we are Indians , all of us, aren't we all dancing happily away! One country, ain't it? So within our country we can call a Punjabi Pinda, someone from UP 'Bhaiyya', a South Indian 'Madrasi' and a Haryanvi 'Jaath', but oh when it comes to another country - 'My God aren't u a racist?' Show me one Indian who has never ever made fun of his own fellows! After having done this all my childhood, one fine day I grow up and decide to not tolerate any of the jokes I have laughed my head off all these years and catch you and say - 'How can say do that, u are a racist!' - then I should get myself entered in the list of 'great Hypocrites, if ever there be one. 

This is the update at noon. Guess what weapon was used? The deadly Dictionary which is available with only 3 people on earth. God, Satan and one more person whom I don't know.

Indian guy: Well Foreigner, it may or may not be cool, but that is each individual's own thinking, right? If I start thinking about whether a topic/joke is considered "important" and "significant" to other people, this sort of stops being fun for me, isn't it? At a personal level, I enjoy all kind of jokes (yes, racist and sexist included); and that is all I consider it to be - a 'joke'. I am perfectly ok when people crack jokes at the expense of my race/community. I laugh along. A lot of others do the same when joked about them (respect to Sikhs for their supremely sporty nature about sardar jokes). I don't understand, why a joke about 'Asian' race (yes, Chinese is not a race, Asian is) raises so many heckles, when people can easily be joking about others.

Indian guy: For those who are still agitated, this was just supposed to be read, laughed upon and moved on. But people always want to decide what is 'right' or 'wrong' on behalf of others. Please spare me your judgements. My customer service representative will get in touch with you shortly. You may claim a full refund of whatever money you have paid to me for subscribing to read my updates.

Bystander 1: Y r ppl gettin so serious.. evry1 cracks jokes on diff communities n laughs at dem.. dere r jokes on gujjus/sikhs/baniyaas blah blah blah.. b a sport.. laugh n move on!!

Bystander 2: haayyee !! Itna dimaag Indian guy !! :P

Ms. Anti-Racist: Firstly, I did have a good sleep. Thank you. Secondly, I'm here to reply back. "Seriously, have you never cracked/laughed a sardar/mallu/gujju joke? Haven't you ever enjoyed a russell peters act? If even vaguely yes, what was that if not racist? But that never meant that you would commit to racism in your actions. so relax. its quite late...enjoy a good sleep :)" I don't like Russell Peters and I don't like his sense of humor/standup comedy. It is a pity that he does not have anything better to joke about other one type race or the other. He is not evolved. The mallu/sardar joke, yeah, when I was a teenager. It is racist, and I am as guilty as everyone when I laughed at them. I don't find them funny any longer as I have started to look inside people and not out side. Perhaps if you did that too, and if the world did that too, "we can spot the difference" like how your not so tasteful joke claims. PS. While we sit around crack such tasteless "Chinese" jokes, they are busy taking over the world.

Bystander 1: Ma'am whoevr u r... y cant u give it sme rest n let other ppl enjoi it!

Ms. Anti-Racist: PS: And if we are talking about a global village, the onus is on everybody to stand against racism. You might think that your little joke is harmless, but that is how it all starts. In case, you didn't know what racism means, rac·ism (rszm) ; n :1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. 2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

Bystander 3‎: @Indian guy : u could actually spot the difference? wa did u use .. a freaking super microscope?? :P

Bystander 4: racist!!!!

Bystander 4: OK when i wrote in the previous comment 'rascist'.. i was only KIDDING! people... like seriously! you guys almost sound like addressing a sardar as a sardar is racist, since you are 'not treating him like any other person'.. its all in good humour - Russel Peters and our man Jayvir Mehta!!!coming up with such kinda jokes, on the other hand, makes them all the more sensitive as people.. they are seeing things n traits which people like u n me dont... at least give it to them for their sensitivities, creativity and above all SENSE OF HUMOUR! its slightly narrow-minded thinking to take something like this n hold it against a person

Me wanting to write (but did not write since she did not address me directly): @Ms. Anti-Racist: I noticed that u mentioned, about how u laughed at all the mallu/sardar jokes as a teenager. Well, there u go. As on today, we just saw Indian guy's remark and laughed at it and moved on. One fine glorious morning, we will , like u, suddenly grow up and look at people's kidneys, livers, bladders, intestines and feel guilty and decide not to be a 'racist' any more, and then go about bashing 'racists' like Indian guy above. Till then, please bear with us.



yes this happens !!! sometimes !! things are not meant to be what they actually look like !

lIl hIgH said...

I usually dont comment on posts. Found your post interesting, wanted to share few of my thoughts, so dropping by :)

Dont you think this is a little more sensitive issue than what we are trying to make it. I agree that the guy who cracked the joke was not a racist, I also agree the joke was pretty funny, it made me chuckle. But dont you think with the globalisation and the way our lives cross interacting with multi ethnic people all the time, we must be much more sensitive on what we speak in public. I mean, I enjoy Russell Peter's show he is a great comic. But whoever goes to his comedy show know that he is going to make fun of people of all races including his own and the audience would feel left out if he doesnt touch their race in a comical sense :).

But when you are out in public you dont expect that right. In the sense, I am currently living in a chinese pre-dominant country, so if in a public place, few chinese crack a funny joke about how Indians smell bad and give a gross look, the joke might well be damn funny and it might have his friends in splits, but my first reaction would be, to be offended than to enjoy the comical nature of the joke right cos I am not expecting that at all.

Coming to the mallu, sardar, madrasi, marathi joke, most of the times the joke is shared between thick friends so it does not matter if there is a mallu in the group or not cos we know they meant no disrespect and sometimes we explicitly add a disclaimer "no disrespect". But I dare a stranger to go and crack a joke on them to a group of sardars, marathis, mallus, or madrasis and I can bet Indians are also not soft enough to take it in the right comical spirit.

I understand you might point me as a hypocrite for enjoying the jokes but restraining from using them. But what I feel is there is a place for such kind of jokes and it is not in a public forum, but it should be more among like minded individuals who know us well and understand the context or on the stage as a comedian where everyone is on the same page.

The only thing I wanted to say is in the current world these kind of issuses are much more complex and intricate than a straight forward black and white kind of differentiation.

Shilpa Nair said...

@Abhyudaya - Hey There!

The first problem I have with anyone who points fingers at another saying 'You are a racist' needs to be shot at close range. It is hypocritical at the least to even talk about it.

I believe it is a matter of perspective. If all of us stopped getting fired up over such comments and instead laughed along or stayed away from it, it would make much more sense. Racial traits are inherent and cannot be uniform across the globe.