Racism, and the disease within

There’s a famous Chris Rock (one of my favorite comedians) question: ‘Who’s more racist, Black people or White people? BLACK PEOPLE! Why? Cuz they hate black people too! Anything white people don’t like about a nigger, black people REALLLYY don’t like about a nigger!’

 

You’ve often heard of the word racism – and its automatic connection with the whites and the Asians/Africans/Blacks/Pakistanis. On too many occasions, we see people bleating about how our nation is a victim of racism from the outside world, specially the West. Too many times, you see people frothing spit in anger at how we are looked down at, treated with disdain.

I’ve been observing this for a fair bit of time and I can’t help being disgusted by the hypocrisy of it all. When was the last time we did not think about the racial background of a person while dealing with them? Punjabi, Bengali, Pakhtun, Sindhi, isn’t this how we categorise each other? Shia, Sunni, Bohri, Parsi isn’t that how we are divided? Isn’t it just absolute fun to snigger at a peculiar accent? We might get away with claiming all of that to be in good fun, but in reality, every mockery is borne from some background of prejudice. Why is the term Bengali such a gaali now? Why is the Pushto community the brunt of all jokes? The prejudice and scorn has reached an unprecedented level of sickness.  

Let’s face it; we all are racists of the highest degree. In our minds, racism only exists between the West and us! It doesn’t occur to us that when we laugh at the way someone talks or cringe at someone’s looks or their skin colour, we ARE being racists. We have a tendency to listen with open ears to a person who’s speaking good English. There’s a general unconscious assumption that speaking fluent English automatically grants you a 160 + I.Q! We tend to be intimidated and over-awed when confronting a local who’s jabbering away in rapid English. Our accents, our dialect: changes. Turning our faces into dismissive walnuts, we suddenly start waving hands to look more impressive.

Now let’s look at the role the media plays. We wake and sleep with ideas that our media feeds us. If you’re a girl, you BETTER be Snow White if you wanna get married. If you’re a guy, having a clean shave would give you the best chicks. The resultant is the metrosexual craze among men, adopting standards set by showbiz and media. White and ONLY White is the acceptable colour. Does it occur to us how racist a nation we are? We ridicule our own people, our own colour, our own clothes, and our own ethnicity – in short a nation overwhelmed by an acute inferiority complex; a nation desperately trying to act, sound and live like the West! 

The accent issue is something which concerns the youth the most. I’ve never understood why it is embarrassing or funny if someone speaks in a different accent. The day we realise that an accent is not a fault, but a representation of a part of our country, a symbol of the diversity of our culture and simply….natural, we would stop being condescending towards them. There’s nothing cool about me if I can communicate in good English. Sure it helps me in my career, but how does that make me superior? What’s the big deal if my accent sounds acceptable when I blurt out some English words? Why shouldn’t a person having a Punjabi, Sindhi or let’s say a Memon accent be respected for the idea they have? The problem: we have grown far too ignorant and intolerant to think seriously about these issues. A large reason of these prejudices and mockeries should be credited to the grand schemes of politicians that need this hatred to drive their vote bank and to keep the communities away; for distrust leads to insecurity which leads to fear that leads to clutching at straws of hope. For the masses, those straws of hope are the politicians that claim to represent their ethnic identity!

Each one of us takes pride in the community we represent. We want to belong. Somewhere or the other, we just want to be part of a club. There was ample evidence of that in the last elections. We are more patriotic about our preferred parties than about Pakistan. Quite frankly, I’ve never seen Pakistani flags adorned with the same passion that I saw people adorning their respective party flags, shouting Siraiki, Muhajir, Sindhi and Pushto slogans. Outrageous slogans telling our own people that OUR SPECIFIC community is different and SO MUCH BETTER than yours. Isn’t this racism?

I have walked around my campus; I move in different circles. And … I see naked revulsion and contempt in the eyes of students, for people who are either dark or greasy, or lack the Tom Cruise/Kournikova looks, or are simply un-cool by their standards. The term maila is what they use for anyone they do not think belongs to their class. Accept it or not, inside every one of us knows that even if to a minor extent, shades of racism exist in our own self. The media of the sub-continent is rife with open and un-censured mockery of fat and black people. Fat and Black looks so offensive the way I blurted the words out, doesn’t it? Isn’t it sad that it doesn’t look a bit offensive when films are shown where these people are openly ridiculed to make other people laugh? There’s a fine line between humour and humiliation, and we do not seem to know the difference between the two. 

We judge people by a criterion that should be the most irrelevant. THIS is racism. Our battle for supremacy over each other has drifted us apart and I fear, if not resolved sooner … we’ll be diving headfirst into a deep abyss. I think it’s high time we learn to differentiate between what’s natural and what’s fake. What is ‘us’ and what is ‘them’. What we ill ‘ALWAYS’ be and what we can ‘NEVER’ be. Most of all, we must embrace our culture and respect what we are. Only then, can we rise as a proud nation. Only THEN, do we hold the right to complain against racism from the west, only then.

 

 

 

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About Hamza

A freebird at heart, I believe I am past the age where I can describe myself. I mean, haven’t we seen enough rape of the most commonly used adjectives ? Unless I find something different to describe myself, freebird should do it !

Posted on February 16, 2012, in Socio-political Views and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. very well written Hamza.. truly there lies a racist inside each of us provoking up to adapt a plastic personality rather than who we are

  2. You may struggle to completely wipe out how you feel about something on instinct, but you’ve got to learn how to keep those instincts hidden and down, and you’ve GOT to learn to give others a chance … with time comes acceptance and understanding and that is when instinct WILL change : ) It’s a slow and long process

  3. I agree with your point of view!

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