We’re Racist and We Know It

This week brought about a setback for some people, and by ‘people’, I mean ‘cretinous racist Indian slime’. I’m talking about the majority that gives us a bad name by referring to North-East Indians as ‘chinkis’, showing off their ignorance like it were some revered family relic that has been passed down from generation to generation through years of inbreeding.

They have many slurs at their disposal, but the word ‘chinki’ came into focus when the Home Ministry asked all states and union territories to book anyone charged with racial abuse against North-East Indians under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act). Usage of the word could technically earn you a five-year jail term. This seems a bit draconian, but I guess the Home Ministry wants to treat offenders the same way they treat actual North-East Indians.

The efficacy of this law is in question because in matters of race, our cops possess the brains of dirt. These are cops who, when recently asked to pick up potential Tibetan dissidents in Delhi in anticipation of the Chinese premier’s visit, rounded up as many North-East Indians as they could find, because hey, Tibetan equals Manipuri equals Jet Li. I’m sure they’ll someday arrest Hu Jintao on suspicion of being Tibetan. That’s bound to be awkward:

Cop: Hey! You’re under arrest for looking Tibetan!

Hu: But I’m Chinese.

Cop: Whatever. China Tibet same thing.

Hu: That’s what we’ve been saying all along!

Delhiites were shocked and angered by the police action, but only because they had to cancel their momo lunches and salon appointments. We’re talking about people who think Irom Sharmila is Saif Ali Khan’s mother, so yes, it’ll take more than a law to end discrimination.

It’s because India is so incredibly racist. We’re the country that hates being brown so much, we invented a colour called ‘wheatish’. I cannot think of a less sexy way to describe somebody. ‘Wheatish’ reminds me of wheat, which makes me think of starving farmers and Sharad Pawar, and in terms of sex appeal, that’s just one step away from taking a shotgun to your testicles.

Also, growing up dark-skinned in India (as I did) is quite an international experience, because every variant of ‘nigger’ is imported and Indianised for your convenience, be it “kaaliya”, “blackie” and even “ebony”, which is strange because that’s my secret stripper name. (You don’t even want to know what ‘The Dark Knight’ refers to.)

See, that’s the problem with most racist humour; it’s trite and unoriginal. If I had a buck for every time I’ve been told “Hey if we switch off the light, you’ll be invisible haha lolz so funny”, then I’d be able to buy Antilla, and use it to project a giant middle finger into the night sky.

We harp on about “unity in diversity”, but what really unites us is our uniform contempt for each other. We have a bunch of ready-to-use communal stereotypes at any given point. You know the ones I mean: Delhi men will hump a shadow on a wall if it looks feminine enough. A Bengali man’s idea of foreplay is calling up his mother and asking if it’s ok to proceed. The only thing louder than a Gujarati is his shirt. Ratan Tata’s Nano can seat his entire community. The only females available to Haryanvi men for marriage are buffaloes. It doesn’t matter if he is a comatose quadriplegic – a Goan man can always play the guitar. Also, if a Tam-Brahm kid hasn’t joined an IIT, mastered a classical instrument and visited 45271 temples by the age of six, his parents are shunned by the community and sent off to Sri Lanka.

If you found those jokes clichéd, then thank you, because they are. But as a stand-up comedian, I can tell you that they work beautifully across the country. So clearly, while race and community aren’t invitations for abuse, they aren’t subjects to be tip-toed around either. We’re an eclectic disaster of a country, and there’s some solace in knowing that no matter where we come from, we’re all equally messed up. Unless you’re North Indian. Those guys are nuts.

(This is my HT column dated 10th June 2012. Originally posted here.)

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38 responses to “We’re Racist and We Know It

  1. Manasi Dhanorkar

    Really good one! Enjoyed this post thoroughly.. A good combination of humour and a social message..

  2. “‘Wheatish’ reminds me of wheat, which makes me think of starving farmers and Sharad Pawar, and in terms of sex appeal, that’s just one step away from taking a shotgun to your testicles.”

    hahahaha….. BRILLIANT man…

  3. my name’s eben and i’ve been called ‘ebony’.. hahahahahaha….you’ve articulated the truth…. :) actually we’re more racist than the westerners..

    PS: im dark too…

  4. north indians are just loud, brash and vulgar, but its all out in the open at least, right in your face : whether you like it or not. Its being so open that goes against them, but ya, they are crude and rude.

    its the others i fear, closed cults with subdued voices hatching god-knows- what conspiracies and harboring weird notions about the rest masking it behind sophistication and class.

    oh yes, we are racist, and as i am growing up, i see myself becoming more and more so. Do i mind it? Not really. Its harmless. Nothing serious. Just like if we are all brawn, and no brain, well you are all brains and no face …

  5. Keep looking forward to new posts every Sunday. And the Irom Sharmila part was amazing.

  6. Meh. Indians are Indians are Indians. Racist smartass-ery was, is and will be our greatest achievement .. right up there with Amartya Sen winning the Nobel and all that (stupid fish eating bongs).

  7. We are an artificially assembled nation. We are characteristically selfish and insensitive. Racism exists the world over, but ours is of a different kind… We are simply different!

  8. ” Usage of the word could technically earn you a five-year jail term. This seems a bit draconian, but I guess the Home Ministry wants to treat offenders the same way they treat actual North-East Indians.”

    You are a SCREAM!! :D :D

  9. Manoos Outrage

    You didn’t make fun of the Marathi Manoos. Which automatically means you hate us and have purposely left us out because of your passive aggressive anti Marathi tendencies, you Northie twat. Time to put on our tika’s, get on our 100cc bikes, and OUTRAGE in front of your house.

  10. Enjoyable read….thanks…I always maintained that we Indians are probably very racist if not most racist….we have more variety of races than the whole world put together….and we pride in that …meaning we dont think twice before belittling other races….color of skin is a totally different story altogether….we have a subconscious liking to white skin…

  11. We’re an eclectic disaster of a country, and there’s some solace in knowing that no matter where we come from, we’re all equally messed up. Unless you’re North Indian. Those guys are nuts.

    Absolutely Brilliant,….

  12. hit the spot

  13. “Unless you’re North Indian. Those guys are nuts.” – about sums it up.

  14. hee hee…. heee heee… ha ha ha… ROFL.

  15. Boss.. you are too ‘American’ in your thinking. Too much Ameriki TV, movies and literature ?

    Whats the problem with being ‘Racist’ ?? why is it bad… pehle woh thoda socho. Just calling someone something should not be considered bad. its the discrimination that matters…

  16. Ranjana Sivasankar

    So true…we arent a nation yet, even after becoming a “free” senior citizen…the fascination with the white skin tones, with the western world, and a deep-seated inferiority complex about being Indian…to just give a few examples, makes one wonder if we’ll ever grow up.

  17. Forgive me while I lay down on the floor for a bit still choking with laughter.

  18. Nice post! I have lived in north-east and they are racists too but this is true for every part of India. Every part of India, you will find racism and it is so common-place that no one really realizes it. Like that ad of chole masala – where the relative of the guy goes, he has a south Indian wife, ab madrasi chole khane padege, that is so common-place, one can think its almost natural. It is infact natural, we Indians and our prejudices! Hope this law makes some people wake up and notice that in the end we are all Indians and not madrasis, bhaiyas, punjus, bongs, marathi manoos or whatever first!

  19. “…. but what really unites us is our uniform contempt for each other” … worrddddd !! I always feel that the world wrongly blames the west for being racist. The local and regional hatred we have for our own people is beyond any comprehension :|

  20. hahahahahahah….
    you are too…
    hahahhahaha…..
    brilliant!
    i live in amreeka now and amreekawalle look tamer than us in this regard!

  21. Excuse me while I visit the doctor to have him remove the stitch in my side :D

  22. “A Bengali man’s idea of foreplay is calling up his mother and asking if it’s ok to proceed”
    “It doesn’t matter if he is a comatose quadriplegic – a Goan man can always play the guitar.”
    As a Bengali settled in Goa, I have to say you are spot on with these two!

  23. Please post more frequently? I need something to do when I get bored at the office where I’m interning.
    Pretty please? :D

    Anyway, brilliant work. My boss thinks I’ve gone insane whenever I randomly start giggling at my computer screen, so thank you for that.

  24. hahahahahaha!lol!i loved it!i am a bit disappointed though,no slur for maharshtrians you say?…awww poor us! :( :P

  25. i didnt grow up in india but i have become familiar to the racist comments. i get offended every time one is made. and if i voice my opinion…i’m the humourless bitch :-/

  26. pretty entertaining… We are bunch of racist and here I talk about North-Easterns too… hence we all are Indians :P

  27. Cracked up when i read “Hu: That’s what we’ve been saying all along!” :D
    Awesome article. Bookmarking for more in the future :)

    I wonder if writing the term chink* on your blog is legal or whatever that is though. You seem to have no problem using it. 5 years is a joke and is never gonna happen but still. Just saying.

  28. hilarious. and what’s funnier is “You’re an idiot!” Lol.

  29. This cracked me up. Ive always had a lot of assumptions made about me since I hail from Goa the “quadriplegic guitar player is also without reservations a chronic alcoholic who lives on the beach and has a fat aunt named Maria “

  30. This is brilliant writing and all those stereotypes just went “plock plock plock” in my head… I won’t even deny that I’ve never used some of them and had some of them etched on me too but it’s never intended to be hurtful or racist – more like the way i saw fuck after every third sentence… :P

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