Monday, February 22, 2021

Facing consequences for racist language in foreign countries: Indians must shun racism, avoid hate speech and learn to be sensitive

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
First, the two incidents--Rashmi Samant, the first Indian female president of Oxford students' union, had to apologize and quit.
Similarly, in New Zealand, Kantilal Patel had to leave his office due to objectionable comments about Muslims. 
Making 'casual comments' on races, bigotry, biases and strong beliefs or prejudices that lead to stereotyping, all this should not have a place in any civilized society. 
A few points:
1. Both Patel and Rashmi Samant had to apologize, leave their posts in other countries. In India, it may not have no serious repercussions, but it has consequences in other countries. 

2. There is so much racism, bias and discriminatory mindset, that it is 'normalised' in certain societies. Here, extreme hate speech, calls for violence lead to no punishment or public shaming, besides, there is hardly any conviction or long sentence. 

3. The bigotry is often deeply ingrained. Sometimes, people take these biases to other countries. The absence of clear and dedicates laws to check hate speech, is another major issue. Though existing laws have some provisions but on ground, there is hardly any impact. 

4. On social media, even in real life, casually, people make such comments.  If strong biases & certain 'acceptability' about casteist, communal or racist beliefs within households was not enough, celebrities and netas pushing hate & using discriminatory language that affects communities is so common that lot of 'desis' just don't find it bad or serious.

5. Point is that despite tall claims about values, morality, the society has major issues and there is so much lack of sensitivity in this regard. Apart from known issues, also on skin complexion, race. African citizens who come to India, too speak about the prejudices here.

6. Sadly, there is no punishment for this in India. Not even shame or fall in stature. Petty politicians emerge 'stronger' after spreading hate & use of dirty, racist language or causing riot. Get power, 'respect'.

READ: Rashmi Samant quits after race row, flies to India

READ: Indian terminated over Islamophobic posts in New Zealand