JournalismPakistan.com February 19, 2015
Is there such a thing as social terrorism? I think so and at the core of it is racism that is often softened with a boys will be boys approach from a weak kneed media.
Also, when it occurs in colored or developing nations it is seen as boorish. When the same thing happens in the west it is seen as a bit of hi jinks. And yet, even in the condemnation there is a sort of tolerance that is unattractive.
Take the conduct of the Chelsea fans on the Paris metro when they flung out a black man from the carriage and sang, “We are racist, we are racist and that is the way we like it.”
What could be more viciously racist? And yet because you are old sports and you sing it and you are wearing team colours life is jolly, yes, just a bit of fun.
Ask Mr. Patel, a mildly dark skinned grandfather visiting his son and grandchild in the Alabama and taking an evening walk. A 70-year-old walnut brown Indian grand-dad sauntering down the road three minutes from home when cops descend upon him and twist his neck so that two vertebra are damaged.
Take the three Muslim Americans the neighbor found offensive. What did he do? He shot them in the head in their home.
So, Chelsea said sorry, the governor of Alabama said sorry and the general public in Charleston said this was horrible. That should be fine so far as civilized reparations go. They said sorry, isn’t that enough to salve your wounded esteem?
Sure, it’s generous, a whole spoken PR scribbled apology. But as racial stereotyping increases and is propelled at breakneck speed by a mindless media that perpetuates a myth by denying it and is given further impetus by insincere slogans (take global soccer, it is rife with hatred) we have to face the cruel truth. We do not trust, like or feel comfortable with those who are not like us.
And all of us, in some way or the other, feed into the stereotype. Black people are more dangerous. Far easterners are sloe eyed and devious. Brown Asians are not to be trusted.
Has it become worse? You bet. Like a mad chef dicing cucumbers we are making each segment tinier by the day… at the expense of all the others. Mini-enclaves defending themselves against the rest. Which is the irony. You want to preach hatred you’ll get a 100,000 listeners. Preach love and the pious will have you arrested.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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