What does an Apache and a Bengali have in common? Nothing except the word ‘Indian’. When Christopher Columbus (An Italian working for the Spanish) made the fatal error of mistaking America for India a lot of things were sealed for all eternity. When Chris just lazily pointed out a few native American folks at the shores of America and said that “Gentlemen! Those seem like Indians and that in fact is India.” everyone took his word. The confusion that was created that day, will remain forever.
Indians and Indians will probably never meet, but if they do then the confusion will always be there about who’s more Indian!
Well its probably more about the gold I guess. Who cares about the people? Who cares if most Americans today will imagine a Cherokee when they hear Indian. Heck they even have a motorbike named to this confusion. When the movie came out about the ‘World’s fastest Indian‘ I thought it was about Milkha Singh but no, it was Anthony Hopkins on the damn bike. What more? It was about a Kiwi who wanted to break the speed record. Guess we all have to live with it.
But what about a Bengali? The next best thing after the British! The English language and the Curry are our shared property which reminds me that our food preferences are equally bland. There have been at least 3 Bengali Nobel Laureates (One of which is a Bangladeshi – from undivided Bengal). This makes us super geeks and consequently super snobs. We are a race apart even in our own country. In-fact we are so apart that we can’t even stand together with our own kind but boy! we sure know how to storm the castle. There’s a slight confusion there as well. You know what they call a Bengali now a days? ‘Bong’. Yeah that’s right. That’s so dope man!
We are all xenophobic to a certain extent. Come to think of it, we do need space. Racism is just another way to create distance. After all ‘free love’ is not for all you see. They can even shoot down flower people to prove their point. Racism can come in any form and we are all witnessing a global Kimchi of humanity. You think the mindsets won’t trickle down to the internet? There are bound to be biases, there are bound to be misunderstandings. Forums and Social Networks are rife with foul language and not necessarily everything is of racist nature. When our partners in mischief @KavalkadeKrew brought this up, I had to start thinking.
Forums and Social Networks are too difficult to moderate if they are not self moderated. As noted by @KavalkadeKrew (My source of Kaufmanesque satire) large forums would just let everything happen right under their nose. Its a little sad but then how much do we depend on someone telling us what’s right to do? Somewhere deep down we all know if its crossing the line but we wont stop at that easily. Not unless there is a good reason to. Like maybe when the kids go and marry someone from some other race without permission, one stops bullshitting. There are so many hidden agendas behind racism that sometimes it gets hard to separate real hate speech from a corporate spitfire.
There’s no bigger reason for Racism than Politics and Power. When Lincoln was president and the abolitionist were fighting against slavery, the biggest agenda was free labour. The control of power is critical for business and all other things and Internet is no different. However who rules the Internet? Probably the nihilists but racism on the internet is rampant because there’s anonymity. It could be a Chinese dishing out profanities against Chinese due to some odd reason and you will never know. Cultural clichés are the best thing to target at. Anything that has to do with your culture from Sushi to Sauna can be used against you but frankly what’s there to be offended? What is there is there and someone exaggerating it to make it sound offensive is just stupid. As long as we know ourselves and keep our kids off the gadgets, we are good. Honestly, if given a chance, a blade of grass can hurt us and so there’s no point in cribbing. That’s what this is all about – No cribbing. Either we can change things by bringing up the right issues or just keep blaming the Italians for all our miseries.