September 27, 2006

Racist slur dissected

Get your "imagination" neurons activated... coz this mentation would need it.

Imagine you belong to a tribe/clan called Zaiku that has got its own customs and rich cultural heritage. You are very proud to be a Zaikuian. Imagine that you got a chance to travel to a foreign land. So you are out; walking on a street of the foreign land; enjoying the foreign environment, when this guy approaches you with a pleasant-warm-smile and says: "Zaiku?” What will be your feeling? Pride? Bemused? Sure you will feel happy. You should be able to taste a bit of pride in that happiness.

Now imagine the same guy approaching you with a smile that has written contempt all over it and says: "Zaiku?” What will be your feeling... and reaction? Bemused for sure. And pride won’t make an entry.

Let us take the 1st scenario. Say... you get a chance to talk to your friend and he tells you that foreigners respect "Zaikus" a lot. Will your heart suddenly start pumping Zaiku pride into your blood vessels? Most likely yes.

Back to the 2nd scenario: Your friend reveals that the foreigners use the word "Zaiku" as a racial slur. What will your heart start pumping now? Derision? You did feel that pain of being insulted by the 'racist' foreigner, didn’t you?

Let us step back and analyze what might have gone through your mind. Without your conscious knowledge, your mind might have created a "cultural hierarchy". And it dumped Zaiku at the bottom row. That ... and in fact THAT ONLY made you feel bad. Isn’t it?

Why do people get offended when they are called “a Niger", "a Paki" or whatever? They get offended because they have accepted that those words, which points to their race, is an insult! Their mind considers THEIR OWN RACE as an insult!

While reading Vikram Seth's Two Lives, I came across this paragraph which corroborates my theory
I had faced little of this kind of thing (racism) compared to Shanthum. A couple of kids at Tonbridge would delight in calling out to me, 'Boy!' when they saw me walking by myself near the sports fields; at first I was simply baffled by what they meant, but when it became clear that they were trying to be insulting, I was perplexed at a different level

I came across this news article about ICC's decision on anti-racism. What do you think about it?

No comments: