Colour, Power and Weapons.

A month ago, when a white man on his bike said "that's what you do in your country
eh?" with a mock Indian accent for 'jaywalking' on an empty road, I was angry and agitated. I even started chasing him; as if to hold him by his neck and 'educate' him. I don't know if I chased him to give him a lecture on Canada's history or just push him under an oncoming vehicle. Unfortunately/fortunately he had the green and pedalled away fast. It wasn't directed at me per se; it was my brown colleague who made him slow down (only slightly). But it didn't matter because that's why it’s an insult: stripping our individualities and reducing it to our skin colour. The whole thing left me enervated. It was a punch below the belt and I didn't get a chance to give it back in kind. The anger in those moments is quite blinding and probably beyond normal, rational analysis. And I think that's the potency of racism, casteism, sexism etc. There's no immediate, equally strong response to any of those insults, except, perhaps, literal, physical violence. When something similar happened today with a non-white man with an accent I felt angry but also terribly perplexed.

It happened in a mini-mart like store in Downtown Toronto -- notorious for bikes getting stolen in minutes of leaving them. I had forgotten my u-lock and had to buy a temporary wire lock from the store.

I said, very politely, "Do you mind if I get my lock first, my bike is outside unlocked."
He replied, quite rudely, "That's not how it works in Canada my friend. In Canada people wait in line."
- "I know enough about Canada, I'll just wait"
"You wouldn't let me do it if I were in India, would you?"
- "How does it even matter? How would you know I'm from India? I could be from Sri Lanka or Bangladesh, or even born here. You don't have to be a pathetic racist, you could just say no," I said, with discernible anger.

The brown woman at the register who also looked annoyed by his comments joined immediately and said, "look, why are you talking about India now? If you don't want to let him through just say that, don't talk about unnecessary things." She's probably from India, or Pakistan. It didn't matter. There was a moment of apparent 'brown solidarity'. Except that the man was, well, brown..ish. He continued to say something that I don't quite recall, but he mentioned Canada at least twice again, and it made me say, "I didn't say anything about where you're from, just get your stuff, I will wait"
"You want to know where I am from?" he asked.
- "I just said I don't care…I don't care where you're from"
"I'm an Arab"
- "It's irrelevant, I don't care"

Not wanting to worsen the situation, I stopped talking further and waited for him to buy his smokes (one from each kind, about 20 in all) and leave. (And I need to add that others have, in the past, asked me to get ahead because they were in a rush. So the whole thing was unusual for me.)

Apart from his non-whiteness there was one other thing visible: he was much bigger than I. I couldn't help but think that his size and mine -- an awareness of that difference -- contributed a great deal to his tone, his thought process. His demeanour suggested that he's the classic bully who has lugged his body around to establish some kind of authority since he was young. At that moment he even pulled in the "way things are done in Canada -- a 'developed' country" rhetoric to legitimize it.

Both the incidents underscore the sense of authority and legitimacy assumed by seemingly different people. In the first case, it was a white Canadian who was probably motivated by his sense of entitlement over "his country". "The mighty, prosperous land of Canada that was built by the white-man in the last 200 years. Damn those native savages who arrived here before us, becoming a moral inconvenience. Damn these coloured bastards who sully its richness and beauty. Why do we let these people in? And why can't the natives just die off already?" Besides, the white man always belongs, wherever he is. So yes, Canada's history (or American history, if one draws a parallel) is irrelevant for his apparent indignation, for he's white.

The second case is a little less straightforward. It's an Arab who wants to tell me (and others whenever he gets a chance, I presume) that he's the intelligent/civilized/cultured immigrant Canada needs. Someone who absorbs the 'Canadian way of life' and demonstrates it to brutes and FOBs like me (at least according to him)[1]. It's either just that or mixture of that and an Arabian sense of superiority over Indians (by skin colour, by migrant labourers or simply history). He might have heard that Canadians are also nice, but why be nice when he's big? For power only looks for elements, in anything, to compound itself, not undermine[2].

What's more interesting is that on both occasions I was in my office attire. And the first time neither my colleague nor I said a word. I might as well have been a Canadian citizen, it wouldn’t have changed anything. It's incidents like these that remind one of the absurdity behind nationalities on the street. There are no nations, only colours and to lesser extent accents. Beyond that, an AK strapped to my back would have made some difference too, perhaps.
---------------------------------------
Notes:
1. Such behaviour is not particularly unique to any one ethnicity, of course. Since I managed to stay off of the ‘mainstream Desi’ folk for almost five years, I’ve avoided the gratuitous condescension one experiences among them.
2. A big man intimidating smaller men/women has an evolutionary history, just as it does for all animals. But because humans have gotten ‘civilized’, too, these situations present the classic conflict between civility and rationality, and animal instinct. A self-introducing lethal weapon is the balancing factor that puts the smaller man/woman back on level. Inducing paranoia over vehicle sabotage, poisoning etc., may work too. Would like to write more on this, but I need go prepare dinner for my tall neighbour.

40 comments:

செந்தில் குமார் வாசுதேவன் said...

I want to know why did you label this under 'CBI'?

Suresh said...

It must have happened accidentally (blogger makes suggestions for auto-fill from old labels when you press a letter). It's removed now.

Subhash said...

I'm sure if there's a large enough number of an immigrant group who are powerful, they'll do to the white man what he did to the natives when he came. The individual has no place to go. In fact, individualism seems to be a delusional state of mind. Lets join a group that a receptory and plunder our enemies, hoping we'll get a slice of the pie when the loot is distributed :)

Subhash said...

receptive *.. sorry

Subhash said...

Sorry about my grammar.. onnume purila enna nadakkudune

Suresh said...

Addendum (edit): In case it's not obvious, note 2 also makes an analogical reference to small countries and nuclear weapons; big states and 'terrorists'.

Subhash,

True. After all, the white man is who he is not because they are inherently powerful/evil or whatever. It's their historical trajectory vis-a-vis the rest. But because they are, right now, that's who we'll slam.

It's not your grammar, it's your/our thought process. We start saying something (type out those 4 words), then pause because we thought of something else or an IM popped up. We get back and frame the sentence anew. Put it all together it's all over the place. Of course, there are typos too.

(I can delete all your comments and you can post the 'correct' version if you want.)

Prasad Venkataramana said...

Remarks from both incidents are racist but I'm more irked by the second one. "I'm from a different place too. But I'm culturally/behaviorally integrated, unlike you". Such an implication from a non-white pisses me off.

Aside: Why did you have to add this: waited for him to buy his smokes (one from each kind, about 20 in all) ? It almost feels like a ploy to nudge the reader into visualizing his villainy.

Suresh said...

Prasad,

I did realize the possibility of that reading. But I thought it is important to present what prompted my apparent impatience. He had to ask the woman to get the cigarettes he wanted. I waited until he asked the 5th or so. Then I noticed that there are several little cabinet doors behind her with each door marked with a brand/type. So I got a feeling that he's going to get one from most if not all. He was basically hogging the register because he was buying smokes (and not 20 random items).

Anonymous said...

Good one. On a related note, have you ever felt yourself as part of "majority" or "original inhabitant" back home in Tamilnadu (I guess that is your state) and unknowingly indulged in bashing up (verbally or in thoughts too) ?

On another related note, bashing up the marwari-"Sate" character in Tamil films springs to mind. Maniratnam converted that sadism to money and exploited that base emotion to hilt in Nayagan.

- Simon.

Suresh said...

Thilak,

I don't quite understand your question. The comparison you're alluding to is probably misplaced. Nevertheless, I can think of a scenario that is more relatable: back when I was a hindutva apologist, I have felt that Muslims should either submit to the whims of a Hindu India and accept their 'rightful' place or go to Pakistan. I've written about this in a few blogposts here.

The Tamil opposition to Hindi/Sansrkit (and by extension, Brahmins, wherever applicable) is a lot more complex. Even though I don't directly accept or espouse(d) that discourse, I understand where it comes from. It cannot be reduced to linguistic chauvinism. It is mostly a reaction against the sense of superiority and nationalistic, subsuming tendencies of the Hindi-speaking populace in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere (that auto drivers in Madras should learn to speak Hindi, that Hindi is the national language etc.).

The reality is that Hindi-speaking Indians constantly insult Tamils, asking them to get out of 'India', i.e., Tamil Nadu, if they cannot speak Hindi. Try 'insulting' them back by saying "Take your India and get out of Tamil Nadu".


I don't know how the aversion towards an archetype such as the greedy industrialist, or the cruel feudal lord/gangster (can add 'overpaid' IT professionals to the list) could be described as sadistic. They are built on very mainstream measures of good and bad. I don't think the audience will enjoy a 'regular' marwari with a 'regular' life being beaten to pulp. The main factor here is that the idea of lending money for huge interests is fundamentally immoral/unscrupulous and it warrants any kind of punishment. Casting marwaris for such roles is only an extension of the common stereotype.


Naayakan's plays extensively on the 'us' vs. 'them' dynamic (expressed literally in the "avangala nirutha sollu" dialogue). The us being the protagonist with Tamil, subaltern roots and them being a list of non-Tamil characters who stand for various things from police brutality to 'immoral' mafia heads (all taking a beating at one time or another). I wouldn't lay much emphasis on the sate character. He is just one of many uncreative stock roles one could see in Ratnam's films.
His "exploitation of emotions" is more dangerous in his other, 'political' films. The same could be said about films like Hey Ram and Unnai Pol Oruvan, and may even qualify for being sadistic (when was the last time the marwaris were targeted by a mob?).

Anonymous said...

My thought is that whenever we try to stereotype an attribute - - greed on Marwari, good-poor-chartiable human means a Muslim, soft-spoken priest always being a Christian, Hindi-chauvinism on Brahmins etc., we all do at a verbal or cerebral level what the Arab was doing to you: blaming the ills of one abnormal person on a community.

By standing on a pedestal and judging what to react against and what not to, we are all falling prey to the same base human tendency of simplifying the issue.

The reality always is that for every human in a "community" with a predominant base emotion, there is also a counterpart who is predominantly good. May be the ratio is favorably better, tilting towards good.

But by trying to rationalize a person's every base action as a reaction to something, we are only selling ourselves and our future to base demagogues. And also we exculpate ourselves of the guilt of not using our ethical responsibilities. This is what we as Tamils did by falling for hate speech by Justice party leaders, K.Veeramani et al..

"when was the last time the marwaris were targeted by a mob?" -- it need not be a physical assault always. The assault starts in the cultural media and public consciousness: that it is okay to ridicule a marwari as a paunched, greedy, non-tamil speaker (so many movies) - the next step is to de-sensitize the public to their sufferings. As to where have all these happened, may be luckily we are not there yet. But the fact that this kind of ridicule never happens to a Mudaliyar or a Naadaar or a Gounder or Muslim or Christian is definitely beyond coincidence: it all boils down to "us" versus "they" strand of thought and that as part of "us", I have a better claim on this society than "they"

- Simon

Subhash said...

"The main factor here is that the idea of lending money for huge interests is fundamentally immoral/unscrupulous and it warrants any kind of punishment" --> I agree a man's got to do what he's got to do. Although I don't think lending for huge interests is morally wrong, I wouldn't mind if the seth is lynched for it.

Don't you think suppressing someone and raising against suppression are both natural human tendencies, with some consequences? But when you introduce state support for any one of the above, the whole game changes then. Jungle laws are more acceptable, inspite of the cribbing about 'morals', than discrimination by state like it happened in srilanka.

I mean ofcourse that I don't mind being lectured about decency in a foreign country unless I'm manhandled and the state supports the aggressor, in which case I come back to my land depending on the pros and cons of such a step.

Even Jews have a land of their own these days, however controversial :) who knows how many of them were lynched for exactly being an european 'marwari'. haha...

Suresh said...

Thilak,

You didn't get any of what I've said in the post or the reply. It'll be a tiring exercise to explain everything again, line by line (just quoting from the post). I probably shouldn't have replied. Never mind.

Anonymous said...

If you really didn't want to reply, you would not have made the above post at all. May be a Freudian slip of wanting to reply but refraining due to practicality and eventually *saying* that you are refraining.

- Simon.

Suresh said...

Thilak,

I write posts to express and engage with certain ideas. But what/who I engage with does vary. It has become a lot less 'flexible' compared to my initial blogging days; when I used to write pages and pages in reply -- clarifying, explaining, citing other resources. Now I'm even closed to engaging with a lot of ideas (God is a good example), let alone be choosy. And other times I'm forced to be really blunt. In your case it is that. I have bluntly stated that you don't understand what I'm saying but I don't want to sour things between us (whatever little acquaintance we share), so I also stop short of being hurtful/overly condescending. If I knew you like a classmate from school, I would really say those things.

In your comments this time, for example, you’ve pretty much repeated whatever I said elsewhere in this blog (and others) albeit in a completely different context, almost hijacking the post (hence the feeling that I shouldn’t have replied). Nothing to do with “Freudian slip”. Maybe you didn’t read them all, but it doesn’t matter.

You might remember our conversation back in 2006, when we first met in Orkut. What I said about your views on films and other stuff; how it’s very derivative and lacks any rigour. Reading your comments makes me say the same thing now. You seemed to take it well then, but 4 years and so many conversations with so many people later (a phase you might consider led to your ‘maturation’), I do expect you to react differently. You’re more likely to think I’m being a ‘hater’. But I have my reasons. For what I’ve called out is not your name.

Ashraf Rahman said...

Suresh you are absolutely brilliant are u on facebook?

mrcritic said...

I initially felt, I shouldn't 'engage' in this post because it is about personal incidents, even though it had conclusions of very broad context about 'superiority', 'virtue', 'right to claim' and other such political correctness.

Also I felt a striking chord in the 'brown boys' taking up the 'white man', so the need to guard silence.

One of the commentator, Prasad, has asked a seemingly intriguing question about the second incident made me ponder a little bit more on the political correctness factor in the first incident.

1. "...mock Indian accent for 'jaywalking' on an empty road" - Is the reference to the empty road is to absolve yourself and squarely bring out the villainy of the guy in the road? Also, is there such an accent called mock Indian accent?

2. Your chase may have been to push the mocking person under a vehicle! - why is that? Is it because he requires an 'education' on uber left liberal ideology?

3. "... And why can't the natives just die off already?"

It's alright to stuff your abrasive thought process on the fake mock accent guy based on his race but he shouldn't dare to comment on your 'jaywalking' based on nationality or race?

The nature and the narration (which is 'detailed' like we find in vinavu or lumpini) of the incidents is making me think more about the political correctness involved in the post than about the racism or chauvinism or superiority on the other side.

Suresh said...

Murali,

This is a friendly request. Please don't leave comments in this blog again. Thanks.

PS. I'll let you have the last word.

Anonymous said...

What a co incidence.A similair incident occured to me this week in Australia.We 3 Indian guys were standing at a pedestrain crossing try to cross the road.As we saw a car we stopped and decided to cross after the car passed.The car too stopped before the crossing.We thought the guy has stopped for us to cross.Just when we were in the middle of the road he revved the engine and swirled just missing us and sweared "*uckin niggers,this isn't ur country to walk slowly".One of my friend actually said sorry (He is the one who has the exact world view of mr.critic).

The same day we endured 3 such racist remarks.Still my friend says that aussies are not racists and its only a drunken slur (like "savugrakki").There are many mr.critics among us who provide the benefit of doubt when it is bleeding obvious.

-TVK

Suresh said...

TVK,

Your experience is quite shocking; that the driver openly called you niggers. That's really something.

But yes, not everyone reacts the same way. My colleauge too, in the incident I've mentioned in the post, didn't understand why I was so worked up. He thought it's something we should "forget and not make a big deal of." At least he agreed that it was indeed racist. Only that it wasn't worth reacting to (as if I pasued and pondered the significance of my reaction). Much better than the many who think it's our good fortune to be in the white master's stolen castle. How dare we complain about...anything.

Aside: it's interesting you censored the F in fucking but not niggers.

Murali,

Please feel free to respond to any comment addressed to you. Thanks.

mrcritic said...

TVK -

I'm not denying these incidents are based on race, that is why I've mentioned in my explanation that I don't refute the honesty of the incident.

(Some ?) Australians seem to make racial remarks about other's race openly (cricket, 2009 attack on students, Indian doctor issue) but in Canada, I have not heard or read so much.

Hence the need to view your incident in a broader context, while the incident in this post in a personal context. May be you can call me out for being politically correct, but the conclusions made about the first incident in this post are beyond me.

***

Just to set a view here, by calling these incidents like people calling racial slurs on the road as racism, we can identify the pothu puthi of the country - right? But there are real life and death level racism going around the world. Aren't we actually making a criminal mistake by talking 'jaywalking' issue as racism when millions of people from a community are segregated and eliminated by starvation? Please don't pounce on me saying, so shouldn't we talk about it? Yes, everyone can but are we missing the larger picture here by reducing racism to slurs?

Thanks!

Subhash said...

TVK,

It's interesting though how incidents in office aren't mentioned here, as it might be more useful to understand what your colleague or friend from the other race feels about you than a random stranger, who's trying to impress his friends with his dragging skills.

I know a Nigerian guy working at a client site in UK who manages to hang on to his job without doing anything productive just coz he was black (don't know his religion though) and the company would be probably sued for discrimination if he got fired. Now how do you expect white people to react to that kind of nonsense?

MrCritic,

Adhu enna life and death level racism? Anyway, only useful people can be welcomed into any decent society. I'm happy to be back in India and employ only Hindus, that way life's easier, eg for racism in India :)

Suresh said...

Subhash,

"I know a Nigerian guy working at a client site in UK who manages to hang on to his job without doing anything productive" -- unlike all the white men who did amazingly 'productive' jobs at tanking their own capitalist models and got millions of dollars in bonus. Your perspective and the anecdotal backing (which is another well known stereotype) is just pathetic. The least you can do is to be creative with your prejudices. "Lazy black man" stereotype? Are you serious?

Talking about 'productivity': I presume you're one of the many who think that the lazy government employess played a huge role in keeping India 'underdeveloped' for so many years. Why don't you do some research on who those employees were? You know, were they all Muslims? Were Hindus just a minority? If you are really interested, you can also do a caste breakdown.

There's much to be said about the notion of productivity (in a white collar corporate structure) itself, of course. But we'll save it for another day.

Anonymous said...

this has happened so many times to me..it's worst in labour kind of jobs where most of your supervisors and managers are white...i worked in those jobs for few years when i came to canada. it happens within the tamil community in scarborough and other places...

Suresh said...

Murali,

My exasperation after reading your comments made me come to my earlier decision. And it wasn't the first time it has happened. I don't know how but you seem to be in a plane that makes my writing completely incomprehensible for you or you read a highly distorted version of my writing (which is quite possible for any of us vis-à-vis someone’s writing. “death of the author” syndrome, perhaps). Regardless, it’s better that I not be aware of that kind of reading and become more restless about it. And it still stands. But it’s probably unfair to explain adequately.

I’ll try to break a few things down further from the post:

This incident is not personal and I’m not making broad conclusions based on it (even though my immediate reaction may well have been personal). I have sociological studies to back it. In fact, I was exposed to that (quantitative) literature 5 years ago, well before I experienced any myself. Canada has its share of racism, like any white majority society (which Canada is). You can do some research on it if you’re interested.

Now to the post:

--quote--
Both the incidents underscore the sense of authority and legitimacy assumed by seemingly different people. In the first case, it was a white Canadian who was probably motivated by his sense of entitlement over "his country"

What's more interesting is that on both occasions I was in my office attire. And the first time neither my colleague nor I said a word. I might as well have been a Canadian citizen, it wouldn’t have changed anything
--enq quote--

Really, how can you possibly misread these simple connections? It doesn’t matter what people do in India. Toronto has at least 200,000 brown people if not more. A significant number of them were born here. And many have really never been to any ‘third world’ country to see how “people do things there”. And jaywalking is not a particularly third world trait. People (whites included) here jaywalk all the time, especially in downtown areas. And many white people have jumped into my bicycle too.

He didn’t call me paki. That would have been a racial slur and to be honest, it wouldn’t have affected me at all. My consciousness is not tuned to react to such slurs. He told me where “I belong” – it’s something that troubles me even in a normal discussion. And it’s not an accidental comment that comes out at that very moment (to invoke one’s supposed country of origin). It can only come from an established idea of what ought to be (with regard to immigration, in this case). There’s a history of power and oppression in that attitude.

So two things make it a particular kind of racism:
1. To assume to that brown people in Toronto are from India
2. Only brown people and other minorities jaywalk, because they are from ‘those’ countries.

Since I’ve seen several discussions on several things from protests on university Campuses (in Facebook threads and newspapers) departments in to Tamil protests to stop the genocide, I can confidently say that the white sense of entitlement over Canada is perceivable. It’s not hidden, it’s not layered underneath political correctness, it’s spelt in explicit words ever so often. Please look at these following discussion threads:

http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090510/Tamil_protest_090510/20090510?hub=Toronto

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/education/article/762011--ryerson-told-to-crack-down-on-racist-chill#comments

There are many threads like this, but this should serve the purpose for now. I do need to add that the main news item itself is irrelevant.

..contd

Suresh said...

Yes, there is something called a mock accent (to have to explain this is just enervating). The way the WASP thinks Indians/Chinese speak English. Again, my colleague and I could have been born in Canada. But because we were brown he didn’t have any qualms in assuming we’ll have the ‘Indian’ accent as well. So it’s not just that we ought to not live in Canada, we also ought not to speak ‘proper’ English (whatever he thinks proper is), because we are simply incapable of doing either. I’m sure he wouldn’t have tried a mock Russian accent if it had been a white guy!

In a binary universe only those who have the power and who have had power could be racist, casteist or sexist. White on black; uppercaste(s) on dalits; male on female; heterosexual on homosexual etc. It’s simple 101 stuff. It’s fine if you don’t agree with it, but I’m not discussing it here anymore.

Anyway, I think I’ve clarified enough and I end my participation in this exchange with you. It’s not personal but it’s purely out of what seems incidental in our world views.

Suresh said...

Correction in comment 1: But it’s probably unfair to NOT* explain adequately.

Subhash said...

Suresh,

I'm not prejudiced against Black men. In fact I like them. I just wrote what I saw in client's office for a few weeks and also based on my conversation with a few indian guys working there. Ofcourse, I went overboard generalizing my observation and try to fit it into this discussion. Apologies for that.

As for muslims, I don't hire them because I can't stand them. There I'm definitely prejudiced. You can delete my comment, if its offensive.

Anonymous said...

Even in India south indians are treated like crap especially tamil people outside TN.

Suresh said...

Subhash,

"I don't hire them because I can't stand them" -- well, at least you don't try to give other rationale. If you can't stand something/someone because of purely emotional/psychological reasons, there's not much to be debated. It's probably in one's own interest to address it (or not). And if it happens to be offensive, there's not much to be done there either; except, perhaps, get all too righteous about treating the fellow human beings equal and all that. Which will again be hypocritical given that I can't stand many people either (fervent God beleivers, in all religions, for one). Reasons vary, of course.

mrcritic said...

Suresh,

My gripe with this post is quite in place in my first comment's last paragraph.

//The nature and the narration (which is 'detailed' like we find in vinavu or lumpini) of the incidents is making me think more about the political correctness involved in the post than about the racism or chauvinism or superiority on the other side//

As I keep engaging here I feel like not everything can be said in writing just like I felt in the beginning paragraph of the same comment.

//I initially felt, I shouldn't 'engage' in this post because it is about personal incidents, even though it had conclusions of very broad context about 'superiority', 'virtue', 'right to claim' and other such political correctness

Also I felt a striking chord in the 'brown boys' taking up the 'white man', so the need to guard silence//

Also it makes me look as if I'm supporting the mocking man. Just to be crystal clear - no I'm not.

***

To make broad conclusions and to gain reader's credence topics like Race, Color, Sexism etc...must demonstrate structural violence in the system like the judiciary involving in blantant bias or companies showing utter disregard to complaints of racism - This was absent in the post, hence my mention of personal incidents.

I looked into the racism report on Ryerson University. The process is going on right? They have done a full fledged analysis and there is affirmative action from the university too...why bother about the entitlement comments from a bunch of commentators. I can understand there is frustration on reservation of seats but there is sufficient scope for diversity in the campus. When the system works to sensitize racism among its people, it is definitely not the worst thing to have happened. It is definitely not the "...can't the natives already die." approach from the university.


Also the SL Tamils protests on a busy highway on May 10 2009, seems to have rubbed the public on the wrong side. Do you think it's wrong to say, "they must not drag Canada into this war?" Waiting on a highway for 2 hours is going to make most of them blind with anger (this does not negate the anger the Tamils have), do we need to take these comments as entitlement?

***

Whatever seems like a simple connection to you seems like a broad brush comment to me. Because the conclusions of these connections confirm generational chauvinism - "His father was a mass murderer so his kid must be at least a killer by heart because the kid taunts a toy gun." Also this has reference to your recent Jan podcast, you have mentioned about how your friend questioned you on using caste as the basis for many of the arguments and you had difficulty in substantiating it. I guess this is the plane, I'm trying to connect.

mrcritic said...

Suresh,

My gripe with this post is quite in place in my first comment's last paragraph.

//The nature and the narration (which is 'detailed' like we find in vinavu or lumpini) of the incidents is making me think more about the political correctness involved in the post than about the racism or chauvinism or superiority on the other side//

Also it makes me look as if I'm supporting or siding with the mocking man. Just to be crystal clear - no I'm not.

//I initially felt, I shouldn't 'engage' in this post because it is about personal incidents, even though it had conclusions of very broad context about 'superiority', 'virtue', 'right to claim' and other such political correctness

Also I felt a striking chord in the 'brown boys' taking up the 'white man', so the need to guard silence//


***

To make broad conclusions and to gain reader's credence topics like Race, Color, Sexism etc...must demonstrate structural violence in the system like the judiciary involving in blantant bias or companies showing utter disregard to complaints of racism - This was absent in the post, hence my mention of personal incidents.

I looked into the racism report on Ryerson University. The process is going on right? They have done a full fledged analysis and there is affirmative action from the university too...why bother about the entitlement comments from a bunch of commentors. I can understand there is frustration on reservation of seats but there is sufficient scope for diversity in the campus. When the system works to sensitize racism among its people, it is definitely not the worst thing to have happened. It is not the "...can't the natives already die." approach from the university.


Also the SL Tamils protests on a busy highway on May 10 2009, seems to have rubbed the public on the wrong side. Do you think it's wrong to say, "they must not drag Canada into this war?" Waiting on a highway for 2 hours is going to make most of them blind with anger (this does not negate the tamil diaspora's anger on that day), do we need to take these comments as entitlement?

***

Whatever seems like a simple connection to you seems like a broad brush comment to me. Because it confirms generational chauvinism - "His father was a mass murderer so his kid must be at least a killer by heart because the kid taunts a toy gun." Also this has reference to your recent Jan podcast, you have mentioned about how your friend questioned you on using caste as the basis for many of the arguments and you had difficulty in substantiating it. I guess this is the plane, I'm trying to connect.

Suresh said...

As usual, some don’t want to read or do any research but want to make high-sounding claims of contradiction. This small list of ‘starter’s reference’ is not for those, but for others who might give more credence to those claims than they probably deserve.

https://pi.library.yorku.ca/ojs/index.php/refuge/article/view/21235

http://www.jstor.org/pss/3552228

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oka_Crisis

http://archives.cbc.ca/society/native_issues/topics/1238-6864/

http://www.captus.com/information/racism2-flyer.htm

http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415915960/ (in Gbooks: http://books.google.ca/books?id=GxcW8ROdtiMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Dangerous+territories:+struggles+for+difference+and+equality+in+education&source=bl&ots=bYgFAwzVdk&sig=dWch12V3BfUwcbNOupNgYdJFb8c&hl=en&ei=eLBFTLGNLZWCnQfT-pXZAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false )

http://mqup.mcgill.ca/book.php?bookid=1499

The books are available in google books for a quick read. The articles can be accessed if you have any university access (or I’ll download and share if anyone can’t). Or simply do google search for terms like “racism in Canada”, “Native reserves in Canada”, “Racial discrimination in employment Canada” you'll find open sources.

Anonymous said...

Earlier I never understood your blog but atleast the comments made sense. Ippo even comments have upped the ante :)

But 1 comment I understood - "you censored the F in fucking but not niggers" :)
Vintage Suresh!!! I laughed for hours after reading that one line. Late midnite I remembered that line & started laughing out loud & wife woke up & wanted to know what was so funny. How to explain ? Finally told her it was a private blogjoke.

k

Suresh said...

Roshan,

yes, I do, though not so frequently. I'm deleting your comment before the bots catch up, hope you'll not mind.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the late reply.
I censored it as my work filter here didn't allow the F word but allowed the N word.
Yes I agree the N word is infinetly vulgar than the F word.

- TVK

Prasad Venkataramana said...

K,
Quote: But 1 comment I understood - "you censored the F in fucking but not niggers" :)
Vintage Suresh!!! I laughed for hours after reading that one line.

This is funny? Why?

TVK,
Another layer of child-lock? *uck is now 'F word'.

iba said...

"So two things make it a particular kind of racism:
1. To assume to that brown people in Toronto are from India"

this is racism? care to substantiate with any reference?

Anonymous said...

You might want to change the name in earlier comments. Uh, Naan avan illa.
Thilak

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, I'm in complete disagreement with Simon's (what kind of pseudonym is this anyway?) argument. It's much unlike my own stance on this issue that it's amusing to have my name attached to him/her.
Thilak

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