We are the most racist country in the world.
Well you may agree or disagree with the statistics or may be critical about it and question the methods used but I am an Indian, I can talk about what I have seen and experienced. I may not have credible data to show where we stand in the racist rank in the world but that cannot deny we are any less racist.
We all know what happened to Nigerian students in Noida recently. And not only Nigerians, African students from across the continent have been facing hardcore racism in India including physical assault. What a shame!!
We Indians are one of the most color obsessed people in the world. Our advertising of ‘Fair and Lovely’, ‘Fair and handsome’ and other skin-whitening creams, lotions, soaps serve as a proof to my claim. Show me a dark-skinned mainstream Bollywood actor or actress. Skin color is the first criteria to enter and be successful in Bollywood. We discriminate on the basis of the color of one’s skin, which region of India one come from, language, religion, caste etc. We call people from North East India- Chinkis, Nepalis- bahadur and all the south Indians are Madrasi and so on. The first criteria and sometimes the sole criteria of choosing a bride in India is lighter skin. Even if their son is dark skinned, their daughter-in-law is expected by the family and neighborhood to be of lighter skin color.
As much as it is true that India is a fascinating place to visit, it is also true and sad that no foreigners will be able to live here without experiencing some kind of racism. White people will be automatically respected and highly regarded and even sometimes Indians will discriminate against fellow Indians in favour of white foreigners. Random people will ask a white person to take pictures with them (I am not sure why). If someone is white, he/she will get that celebrity status automatically, even if that person lives on a social welfare scheme (e.g. Jobseeker’s Allowance) back home.
And if one is an African, no matter what he/she is back home, they will be termed a drug addict and treated bad ranging from casual racism to be named as cannibals. I am extremely sorry, all my African friends, please don’t cancel your plans to visit me.
In the recent past, some of the ugliest and dreadful incidents have happened in north India. A mob attacked African students suspecting them to have killed and eaten up a teenage boy. Last year a student from DR Congo was killed by a mob attack. Mob attack is one of the safest ways of committing crimes in India. Apart from physical assaults, there are numerous racial incidents happening against African students in India which I don’t want to mention here. I am ashamed.
All I want is that it has to stop immediately if we want to live as human beings. Calling Africans drug peddlers and cannibals is nothing but examples of cruel ignorance on our part. It shows, we know nothing about Africa and its people.
I can’t tell you the percentage but it is a large percentage (maybe >90%) of people who have very low or no knowledge about Africa. Some of them think all of the world’s second largest continent is just a jungle. They have no idea about their long long history, diverse and rich culture & heritage, beautiful community living, examples of oldest science and engineering skills, astounding landscapes, music, dance, great personalities, intelligent minds and so on and so forth.
And how are we going to stop this heinous racism towards Africans in India which is purely based on hatred and ignorance?
Now, a strict law and order must be implemented to stop physical assaults on them. People involved in such activities should be harshly punished. There should be no tolerance of such activities. Mindless brats cannot dominate the streets of my country. It is painful to see how the streets on which many of the greatest minds once walked is being occupied by mindless brats. And it is increasing day by day.
I cannot also agree with the popular notion that education is the answer. What kind of education is the question? Will these current standards of education bring positive changes in our society? I know so many formally educated people (with higher degrees) with high racist attitudes. Make a list of people in those mobs who attacked African students and find out their education levels. There is a difference between literacy and education. I think our formal education system is incompatible with the idea of nation building. Indian education system needs massive transformation at this stage. We have generally taught not to question our elders and especially teachers. Disagreement is equal to disrespect in our country. Where will we get critical thinking from? Accept whatever we are taught because all we have to do is writing down information from our textbooks on the answer sheet.
Coming back to the point, considering our massive ignorance about different cultures in the world, in my opinion, we should include a separate module on ‘world culture’ in our school curriculum. This would at least give some knowledge about other cultures.
We do need to start somewhere and education is a good place to start but before that, we need to redefine education in India.