Posts Tagged ‘racism’

Black or White?

July 8, 2010 4 comments

A fellow blogger wrote an angry post on skin colour and the prejudices that come from it….. This is in reply to a comment on that post that was rather longish I decided to make it a post.

Well, I know you may be talking from a personal experience, the anger was present in the post…. the ‘white skin’ obsession is not completely gone yet… about 3-4 years ago, fair & lovely ads came under fire for same reasons, and yet today they are being shown once again… Does it help to know the prejudice is present abroad as well?

Just last weekend, a dark skinned “south Indian”*** guy was making fun of a black guy in US. The black dude brought some chicken to grill on the beach and was offering it to passers by… so this southie guy comments, “Is he selling the chicken?” and the others start snickering…. Ironic thing was… half of the guys poking fun of the black dude were as dark as he was!And because he was black, they assumed he was poor and he would do something cheap…

Today I saw the same black dude driving a BMW 725i, while the south indian guy was last seen riding a bicycle… you decide who is rich and who is poor.. both monetarily and in spirit… I read about a study done where kids in school didnt care about being black or white, it was found the kids learned about racism @ home from their parents!

In my previous project, the only people to invite me to their homes and into their personal lives were Black! The whites were polite, yet they only asked stuff so they can gossip about it behind my back …. forgetting that I have my own circle of friends who pass me the office grapevine as easily as they can get it. (PS: Not all white people are prejudiced and there are always 2 sides to a coin and 2 sides to any story. This post is not intended to demean anyone or to put any race down or to glorify a particular race – it is based on my personal observation over a period of time from personal experience in a foreign land.)

When it comes to breaking prejudices, Michael Jackson is my hero! The dude was black and to show that skin color doesnot make or break great talent, he changed his skin to white. Not only that, he even went thru numerous plastic surgeries to make himself look like a woman, thus transcending not only race, but also gender… He got a lot of falk for it, but his music was loved no matter what his skin colour was or what he looked like.

If one reads the book Freakonomics, there are so many examples of personal prejudices and how they play a part in everyday life. These prejudices not only stem from races, but also from names and they way people dress. I wonder if this prejudices will ever change soon enough.


Haiti struggles to recover as American Baptist group caught trafficking children

February 1, 2010 5 comments

As Haiti tries to recover from the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, an American Baptist group is detained trying to smuggle children out of the country.

Here are some startling revelations from the news…

1) A cop suspects that the children were to be sold for $10,000 each.

2) One girl was not even an orphan and thought she was being taken for a vacation by friendly people from America and the Dominican Republic…!

3) A 40 year old woman “didnt think it was naive to cross a border without proper documentation for the children”… (I wonder how she would react if it was her own child that someone took for a ‘joy ride’ without telling her about it! How can such irresponsibly naive people be allowed to go and help children is a question that baffles me!)

Whats particularly sickening about the episode is that inspite of the growing threat of child trafficking, the poor people of Haiti have no choice but to continue to seek outside help. And for those children who are really orphaned, the option to be adopted has been cut off because the Government, overwhelmed by the quake, has put a halt to adoption in response to the growing threat of child trafficking!

Here is an excerpt from an article on msnbc.


Tension among religious groups

As the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti is in a difficult spot — it needs aid, but deeply resents foreign meddling. Many have an uneasy relationship with American evangelical Christian groups that funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into their missions in Haiti.

Since Haiti became the world’s first black republic in 1804, its people have seen several U.S. military occupations, was wrongly blamed for the spread of AIDS and has been vilified for the Voodoo traditions brought from West Africa. Voodoo is one of Haiti’s two constitutionally recognized religions, along with Roman Catholicism, and two-thirds of Haiti’s 9 million people are said to worship its spirits.

One Voodoo leader said the Idaho group’s plan — to give each child “new life in Christ” while facilitating their adoptions by “loving Christian families” in the United States — is deeply offensive.

“There are many who come here with religious ideas that belong more in the time of the inquisition,” said Max Beauvoir, head of Haiti’s Voodoo Priest’s Association, which represents thousands of priests and priestesses. “These types of people believe they need to save our souls and our bodies from ourelves. We need compassion, not proselytizing now, and we need aid — not just aid going to people of the Christian faith.”


The last line of this article strikes a familiar chord and reminds me of something similar that happened in wake of the tsunami that stuck India and south-asia in 2004. During that period of crisis, some relief organizations received aid from the Indian Government and were found to be using the aid money to convert the poor and desperate people to Christianity.

1) Many fisher-folk had lost their boats during the tsunami and the organizations gave aid readily to those who were willing to convert to Christianity. Those who did not convert were left without a boat as their applications were buried in bureaucratic red tape.

2) The organizations dug up so called “christian wells” where people who were either following Christianity or had adopted it were allowed to draw water from it. Those who did not convert had to walk 5-6 Kms EVERY DAY to fetch a pot of drinking water.

Such incidents really irk me because while it is bad to manipulate uneducated and poor people even in normal circumstances; it is extremely unethical to do it in times of duress and natural disasters.

1) What choice does a poor person have when faced with the option of choosing a particular religion over seeing his family go hungry or thirsty?

2) How ethical is it to offer “selective” help to people in times of a calamity? It is an extremely bad form of racism in my books.

Personally speaking, I find it hurtful when religion is used to manipulate people and dupe them when they are already undergoing a hard time.

In the Indian context, the poor fisherman whose daily meal is provided by the boat that he just lost… The already poor  person has been left hungry, thirsty and helpless and is eager for any form of help and relief… What a vile, cunning, low-life approach is it to offer aid to such a vulnerable individual by giving him the option : convert -or- die a slow and painful, inhuman death!

In case of Haiti, the poor children, many of them genuine orphans, who have already lost their parents, have been buried under rubble, who have gone hungry, thirsty for days, were lucky to be rescued from the hands of pedophiles who could potentially torture, molest, rape, enslave these unsuspecting kids!

The article on this news can be read here and here.

The incident raises some questions in my mind about religion and religious beliefs –

Shouldn’t religion be a way to be helpful to people and make life better for everyone?

When all religions preach the same basic values, why do we try to indulge in chest-thumping and claim that “only my way is the right way to God” and everyone else will be doomed?

Why is it so difficult to appreciate the good in other religions and accept them as equally good ways on the path to God?

Are religious leaders really afraid that their sect will diminish if they give people the option to choose?

Do they think that inducing fear in the minds of people is the “only” way to prevent them from joining a different group?

Do you think it is right for religious groups to manipulate people and use such calamities to increase their membership?

Do let me know your thoughts and view points below….