Now I Learn...I'm A Gorilla
Now the storm of one little known Bollywood actress @egupta has waned, another starring well- known, Liam Neeson, hits the headlines. To be honest I don't understand what the fuse is about. Such is the ubiquitous nature of man's disregard for man and inhumanity through the ages, nothing surprises or disrupts my equilibrium, when yet another ''racist" comment, or behaviour hits the headlines. Being Black in UK, one meets the subtle version of it almost daily and the overt injustice of it, regularly.
In the case of the Bollywood actress, Eshna Gupta, it got me thinking; why those that are targets of the same racist, denigrating myths and stereotypes, as Africans, engage in propagating these myths, themselves? Perhaps the best analogy, from the Bible, Proverbs ......even the poor are contemptuous of the poor; or maybe its the Stockholm Syndrome. It is common understanding, that people who suffer abuse, frequently exhibit the same behaviour themselves. There can be few other explanations, why those that should be natural allies of Africans, in the fight against stupid claims of racial superiority, resort to the same racism, ignorance and bigotry. I mean, an international footballer is a gorilla and didn't evolve beyond Neanderthal!!?
Neither is it uncommon, the Indian cricket team, a few years back, refused a Black umpire, in West Indies and referred to a player, as Monkey. I can imagine 'whites' all over the world laughing their heads off, at the kettle calling the pot black - no pun intended. How can Gupta and her friend forget the Indian stereotypes. Jungle Book and Mowgli. Life of Pi; monkeys and the N' word. How finger printing started in India, because according to the English, they all looked the same. The classic film, Black Narcissist. In Indiana Jones Temple of Doom, backward, monkey brain eating, people. It's clear, for 'whites', Indians are Black.
Then, there are insulting references to smells, oiliness and Orangutans. But for some Indians, bleaching their skin ''white" they share exactly the same skin tone, as Africans. The horn of Africa, the Sahel and North African people are a black, brown to very pale brown, while the rest of the continent is generally a dark brown to black, same as South Asia.
Herbert Macaulay of Nigeria, was the contemporary of Ghandi. Yet recently Ghandi's statue in a Ghanaian University, was pulled down, due to the same type of unsavoury comments, made in his day. I make this point because in terms of historical contexts, India and African countries, share the same colonial past.
I myself notice the behaviour of many from the sub continent, towards me here, in UK and I am just saddened. Is it self loathing, or just a desire to be separated from social profiling of Black people, as bottom of the pile and wishing to be better? Until the 1990s in UK, South Asians were considered Black and many still refer to them as such (I have witnessed repeatedly). Then the divide and rule tactic, which has served Europe so well, came to play and Indians started being referred to as Brown. It's really sad, when Indians refer to Africans as Black, as if it's a bad thing; as if they aren't. Even the most powerful of Indian deity, Black Kali, is now frequently portrayed with 'white' skin. I once pointed out the similarity in skin colour, to an Indian, only to get "I'm not Negroid, so not Black". We now know there's no such thing, from recent studies of African phenotypes. I have also been called monkey by an Indian, right here in UK, where you have the benefit, of mixing with many different races and cultures.
Ironically, Indians do not extend their racism to their oppressors, a consequence of the Stockholm Syndrome, probably. So for future reference, like minded Indians, as Gupta please take note - only those of African origins today, are pure Homosapiens. All other races, are a mix of Neanderthal and Homosapien. How ironic then that Alex Iwobi was referred to, as not having evolved to human, from Neanderthal. How ironic that recent studies, show those of South Asian origins in UK, now suffer more racism than African and Caribbean people. They have rarely joined in the fight, when 'Black' people have cried foul. Rather than pick on another set of disrespected people, 'Black' people are confronting the issue. To some, this may seems like victimhood but it's bearing fruit.
I've even come across an article of how by an Indian, of how Africans have been slaves in India for 200 years...uhm Indians were shipped to the Caribbean and Africa, as slaves but this is for another day and time.
Now Liam Neeson. What's the fuse? He confessed to a primordial instinct to lash out and has looked at himself and dealt with it for the better. Something that White Supremacists (sophisticated/ subtle - UK or crude/ overt - Eastern Europe) do all the time, lash out viciously, I mean. The truth is some "white" people, don't like to be forced to look at their own unmitigated nastiness. They are ''superior' and 'pure' after all!! It's good when someone expresses these feelings openly - it can be dealt with but not only by condemning. Perhaps deep down Liam still has issues. Why would this resurface 40 years on. However, listening to the tape, puts his comments in context and I, personally, absolve him.
@Egupta, shame on you and all Indians seeking to deal with their low self esteem, by picking on the innocent, or those you think weaker. Shame on India as a nation, Africans can't live in India without persistent violent murderous (yes routine murder of Africans) persecution, while your oppressors go free. I point also, to the mistreatment of Indians, in the Gulf. All the more shame, Indians are welcome in Nigeria,@Iwobi's home country. Shame this is the mind set of the country that gave us yoga and meditation. Remember Nigerians outperform Indians in school in UK and are the most successful in USA. Next time you want to mock an African, for his race, remember humanity started in Africa and you are a by- product of that. To love others, one must love oneself. Then it becomes easy to love all humanity. Mercifully that's where I am.
As a foot note I have met and engaged with many Indians that don't have a problem with Africans, particularly Indians of East African nationalities. This is for those, sadly, that do.
#India #Nigeria #EshnaGupta #AlexIwobi