Whenever we see a person around us that looks East-Asian, or from the North-East, our first reaction is usually: “Hey look, a chinky”.
Now let me tell you the negative effects of this, and the sub-conscious/ conscious ostracisation we do to people that look conventionally East-Asian.
Racism was something that was definitely brought along with the colonial era. This is not to say that racism didn’t exist earlier, maybe it did, but colour bias originated from the severe effects of the 200-year long colonisation.
In recent times, due to the Coronavirus, a lot of them are even at the risk of being called “Coronavirus” and getting laughed at.
Wow. Do you see the problem here? Some could blame the racism in India today on colonisation and yes, that is true, but it is only half the reason. Have we not progressed as a country in the last 70+ years? Hasn’t a huge portion of India received an education? So why are even literate people making jokes like these? I believe that the root cause of this is the fact that Indians are often not willing to educate themselves on these matters. Sure I guess you could once again argue that “People have other priorities” and whatnot but what about people that DO have enough time?
Another point is that India is absolutely obsessed with America. I mean, when I was younger, for me and everyone around me, getting a job in the USA or moving there was the ultimate thing you could ever do. Almost EVERYONE I asked around me wanted to go to the US, and I’ll be honest, the US is not a dream country. Anyway, getting back to the point, India’s image of America is that it is a perfect, happy and rich place with tons of white people. This only reinforces the idea that white = rich, white = happy etc. Thus, Indians often give preferential treatment to fair-skinned folks, going so far as to even avoid those with dark skin at times! (The caste system also plays a role in this, but that’s a topic for another time). But the ones that suffer the most discrimination, are the people from North-East India, due to their Mogoloid features which resemble those of the Chinese, a community which I’ve seen a lot of Indians dislike. And with the rise of the Coronavirus, it’s only worsened. As a result, a lot of North-eastern people feel isolated.
So how do we solve this? I believe awareness and empathy are the two most important elements in reducing racism towards these people. Awareness will spread information and educate people about these matters while possibly also evoking empathy in them. Empathy will naturally make people act less insensitively to others in general. These two things, I believe, will not only reduce racism and rude behaviour towards North-eastern Indians but also towards others in general. (Something our society desperately needs.)
So, in conclusion, people shouldn’t be unnecessarily rude to someone just because of different skin colours, eye shapes or appearances because everyone deserves a basic amount of respect.
On a side note, I would like to wish all the readers a very happy new year!
I do not own any of the above images.