Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Colour blindness would help

Ask me if I think that the big blow-up over Prince Charles calling his friend “Sooty” and Prince Harry calling his friend a “Paki” is a waste of time. Go on, ask!

Okay… since you ask, I will say that I think the big blow-up over Prince Charles calling his friend “Sooty” and Prince Harry calling his friend “Paki” is a waste of time.

(Well, you did ask.)

Anyhow, if the persons being given a certain nickname or addressed by a specific term were to find it offensive, THAT would be worth making a fuss about. When the people involved don’t care, when they obviously are friends, where’s the problem?

Why should everybody raise a hue and cry about what two people choose to call each other when they are on casual, friendly, comfortable terms? What if “Sooty” was actually addressing ol’ Charlie as – oh, I dunno, let’s say “Royal mongrel”? Would that be racist? Would there be a hue and cry over that?

Does racism only ever extend in one direction – from light to dark? How about from dark to darker, or would that be considered not a problem on grounds that light pigmentation is not involved. Or perhaps that would be put down to “cultural practices” from not-Western countries, and condoned or even encouraged?

One one occasion, I said to our friends that my husband should be careful on the roads on sunny days because he's so pale as to become invisible - and we all laughed about it. But when he said teasingly that only the whites of my eyes are visible at night when I wear dark clothes, their shock was almost palpable. There were a couple of uncomfortable chuckles, and the odd diplomatic "I ain't saying nothing" - and yet there had been no insult intended or assumed by either of us.

I find that sort of exaggerated "concern" far more disconcerting than overt racism (which I'm happy to say I haven't faced from any of my friends and most of my colleagues). I don't want my friends to be forever on their guard as to what might or might not offend me. If they want to poke fun at us Hindus' 33 million gods, I'm happy for them to do so - in fact, I'd rather they did. I'm not about to be all super careful about Christianity or Islam or any other religion... although I do realise the huge difference between light-hearted banter and serious disrespect.

Perhaps the tabloids should focus on the real racists – those educated “British” folk who never address “people of colour” as “paki” or any other perceivedly offensive term, yet whose every action subtly reflects their prejudices – instead of raising the dust over a pathetic story about something that happened three years back… something that was not even registered as a complaint.

Ask me if I’m tired of overdone political correctness and deliberately-raised storms over things that don’t merit a second thought.

Go on, ask me.

5 comments:

AUGUSTBORN said...

Hey Shyam, are you tired of overdone political correctness and deliberately-raised storms over things that don’t merit a second thought?? :-))

shyam said...

Kumar: How DID you know? :) Yes, I'm TIRED of overdone political correctness and deliberately-raised storms over things that dont merit a second thought! :)

ra said...

As far as racism is concerned, we Indians excel at it..and I couldn't agree more with your last para, though because such people aren't overt about it, it's difficult to point them out as racist.

Michelle said...

Very well written, and I completely agree with you!
~Michelle

Teesu (very very Indian, very very good) said...

I would have asked but augustborn got there first. :)

One thing I just don't understand is why people use fairness creams...'karuppu dhaan yenakku puducha colouru'...(he he). You ever heard that song, shyam? Twas a hit here.