A beginner’s guide to understanding racism, intolerance and bigotry

by neo

Several years ago, during a party at his house in the US, Neo decided to have some fun. He convinced a couple of his white guests to hop on one foot, because that was a customary Indian way to thank the host for a great party. For once, Mrs. Neo found it funny too, except for the part where Neo overwrote 30% of Neo Jr’s “first birthday” mini DV tape to record the festivities.

What does this prank have to do with racism ? Probably not much, but that’s because Neo isn’t a True Expert on Racism. The True Experts on Racism are those who outrage whenever – these days it seems every week – a white American magazine columnist (yes, magazines – remember ?) writes anything unflattering about Indians in the US.

After last week’s outrage, Neo convinced a crack team of journalists to take time off from crack and interview the Experts to gain their views on racism, intolerance, bigotry, stereotyping, entitlement and ignorance.

Here are some excellent and exemplary excerpts from the experienced Experts:

  1. “I hate it when they stereotype Indians, as if we were all the same. These typical, beer-drinking, baseball-watching, stereotype-loving, cereal-eating, laid-off white people between the ages of 25-40 – all of them love to read brown-bashing articles. Bigots, all of them!” (This may or may not be from a famous – and famously modest - Indian blogger called “GreatBlogger.”)
  2. “It’s just because we are Indians. I mean, Indians are the most tolerant people on the planet. How dare anyone make fun of us, or suggest that we are somehow unwelcome? My blood is boiling with rage! I’m not advocating violence, or suggesting that anyone be fired, of course. But, …”
  3. “Americans seem unwilling to assimilate. It’s almost as if they cared about their own culture more than ours! Why do they complain about the changes we cause in their neighborhoods ? It’s ridiculous for anyone to cling to an obsolete culture that exists only in their nostalgic memories!”
  4. “You know, whenever I have to take the Holland tunnel to attend a desi concert, I start thinking about racial segregation.”
  5. “Why don’t white people seem to like me ? I’m so much like them! Hey, did you say neo’s-paper, or newspaper ? Is this some sort of a joke ?”
  6. “You see, as I keep telling my son, who is holding a very high post at Intel in the Bay Area for past several years, these Americans have no culture! Most ungracious people.”
  7. “Why should it be so hard to get a visa, and why are the rules so strict ? It’s almost as if the Americans have decided that they have the right to pick and choose who gets to immigrate to the U.S. That’s racist, right ?”
  8. “Indians have a history of being open to everyone. Even in my hometown of Pune, you will see these kalias, heh, I mean, Africans, roam around freely on their bikes. I don’t mind as long as they don’t try to force my kids into drugs.”
  9. “Write your blog post so that white Americans feel bad about the situation. Try to include some comparisons with Jewish people. Or at least Blacks.”
  10. “As a writer at SepoyBrown.com, my mantra is: Never attribute to stupidity that which can be adequately explained by racism.”

You knew there was going to be a quiz at the end of this, and here it is. Write a 1000-word article on why you think the white guy in the video below is being racist, although he does not appear to be between the ages of 25 and 40.

PS: The crack team of journalists also asked the Experts about persecution complexes. They replied, “That’s nonsense. I think you need to stop drinking the kool-aid!”. Every single Expert said that.

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