Hey, Woke People: Don’t be Supine in the Face of Discrimination
Most of you reading this would be cool, woke people who don’t believe in racism. But you still need to read this.
Most of you reading this would be cool, woke people who don’t believe in discrimination or in casually perpetuating stereotypes.
And so, you probably don’t need to be educated about the campaign recently flagged off by The Association of African Students in India (AASI) to fight against discrimination and stereotypes. I mean, you know this already, don’t you?
You are smarter than this, you are thinking.
But did you correct your aunty when she called an African passing-by a habshi, or a man eater?
Or when your friend joked about how an African person can’t be seen in the dark.
Or how girls from the Northeast dress like they are asking for it? Or how it’s okay to endearingly call a Northeast boy, a ‘momo’ or a ‘chinki’?
Because there’s little difference between casual discriminatory remarks that perpetuate hatred against ‘other people’ and acts of racist violence.
But you are woke, aren’t you? You share videos of racism with the words, “Shame on us.” You have spoken against hatred in passionate discussions with friends. But is that wokeness enough?
Because what’s wokeness when it exists in an echo chamber? What’s wokeness when it can’t evolve into action? What’s wokeness when you stop short of correcting your parents?
Which is why campaigns like this won’t result in the abolition of discrimination, till we don’t correct subtle shades of it that exist all around us. In our offices. In our homes. In our friend’s homes. In our colonies. And in the clubs we frequent.
I know you have already read news reports such as this, and seen countless exposes like this one, and even heard plenty of debates like this. You know the stats of violence against certain races in the country by heart now. I am not going to bore you with this information.
Just ask you this: Did you speak up when it was required of you? Did you correct your parents when you should have? Did you ask your friend to shut up when he was being a bigot?
If the answer to any of them is yes, then it’s time to introspect. I know, because I too have to.
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