Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Racist Jokester

Overheard on car radio, an ad/teaser for something called the Clearasil All Clear Indian Laughter Challenge. The RJ goes:

“Do you know why China, in spite of being such a big country, doesn’t play cricket? Simple! Kyonki Cheen log jo hain na, woh sab dikhne mein ek jaise hain. Toh agar ek out ho jaaye, woh dressing room jaa kar apna mooh saaf kar ke waapis aa sakta hai aur kissi ko pata nahin chalega.”

(“Because Chinese people all look the same. So even if one guy gets out, he can go to the dressing room, wipe his face and come back as the new batsman, and no one will know.”)

HAR HAR, watta great joke yaar!! And yet another addition to my long list of things to recall when friends relate anguished stories about racism against Indians abroad.

On that note, also read this piece by Ruchir Joshi.


  1. At the Delhi Univ I find that African student are called kallus or kalia and are rountinely humiliated and treated like outcastes.

    I've even heard Indian students in USA refer to a black person as a N****. Obviously, education and being exposed to a cosmopolitan environment has no effect us.

    Ironically most of these Indians are dark skinned themselves.

  2. There is a 'nicer' chinese joke going around:

    why do chinese people eat with chopsticks??

    Because if they ate with their hands, then there would be a severe food problem in china..

    Anyway, indians calling black americans n**** is a moot point, coz even black americans call themselves that...

    if you dont believe me, check any rap song by snoop dogg

  3. Panu,
    Anyway, indians calling black americans n**** is a moot point, coz even black americans call themselves that...

    Um, context-sensitive. Black people calling themselves/each other 'nigger' - not the same as non-black people calling black people 'nigger'.

  4. There was this fabulous thing I read in some book where a Japanese man says to a European, 'you whites all look the same'.

  5. Some of the best racist jokes I heard was from this stand-up comedian Russell Peters. He picks on ALL races (that's his politically correct trick), and he does an amazingly good job of the nuances. And he can be so non-maliciously funny

  6. Dear Jai: I've been reading your blog regularly from quite some time now, but commenting only for the first time. Some of your earlier blogs (wherein you've mentioned that you'd initiated this blog for your personal use) have really inspired me to put down my own life experiences in b&w (& in a blog form would keep the interest going).

    However coming back to your 'Racist Jokester' post, it remined me of a beautiful piece (nominated for a best poem) by an African child. It goes like this...
    When I born, I Black,
    When I grow up, I Black,
    When I go in Sun, I Black,
    When I scared, I Black,
    When I sick, I Black,
    And when I die, I still black..
    And you White fella,
    When you born, you Pink,
    When you grow up, you White,
    When you go in Sun, you Red,
    When you cold, you Blue,
    When you scared, you Yellow,
    When you sick, you Green,
    And when you die, you Gray..
    And you calling me Colored ??

  7. It is well-known in face recognition research circles that caucasians are unable to distinguish european faces and vice versa.
    If only, people could be educated about their racist nature.

  8. I recall one incident that took place around me on a state transport bus in India. There was an African student who didn't know that tickets had to be purchased before boarding the bus. Neither did I. But the treatment we got was mind-numbingly(!) different.
    I was told to go and buy a ticket, whereas he was almost thrown out of the bus amidst jeers and remarks on his skin color. Funny thing was, most of the people involved were at least a couple of shades darker than the victim.
    I finally lost it and told them all to shut the #^%& up and let him go buy a ticket while the bus waited. Just one of those times when the concept of Indian hospitality is undermined.

  9. Riiight...
    Interesting thread of discussion here. I find an interesting trend underway. People seem to be tackling this savage beast in interesting ways. To comeback to the response to the word nigger being used within a certain community, I find a lot of that happening here. It takes the claws from the word, the sting from the bite so to speak. I hate censoring myself so the word appears in its glory in my response. We giveth power and taketh it away. I am (trying) to take away its power by treating it like another word - this is not to say that I am trying to be insensitive at all. I admit that I will never be able to understand what the real impications of this word are, perhaps simply because this word can never offend me (though it can be flung at me by those who may wish to). However, my experiences are also unique to me. Carlos Mencia is a mainstream American comedian of Mexican origin. His show is a weekly regular on Comedy Central and his USP is making every crack imaginable about race, gender, religion and nationality - with NO apolgies whatsoever. He just isn't funny, but he does manage to take an edge off.
    About the cartoons in the Danish newspaper, I am still absolutely torn inside. Why offend when you knwo what will happen as a result of it? But... in the same breath, where will the censoring stop? Who gets to choose?
    Phew... okaaay so that was a craaazy tangent.

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  11. I've been in the US for close to six years now. In the Indian community racist comments against "Chinkus", "Makkus" (Mexicans) and "Kallus" are fairly common.

    I thought that the movie Kal Ho Na Ho had something against the Chinese - Sharukh Khan muttered "Idiots!" under his breath while talking to some Chinese people in movie. Maybe that was in a certain context - I am not sure.

  12. forget about foreigners, what 'bout fair-skinned north indians luking down upo South Indians? i remember a remark made by a Bengali neighbour to my mother 'aap South ke log itna imli kyu kathe ho, shaayad isli liye itne kaale ho!!'

    no wonder all those matrimonial sites abound with 'wanted fair skinned , beautiful luking girl' as though all those who are born dark are banned from even applying...

  13. Hey my smelly Hindu friends... Why do Indians have red dots on their foreheads?

    Because people point their fingers into your forhead and say, "You're too fucken ugly!"

    Maybe Indians need to eat with utensils... not like dogs... you will have less diarrhea. Trust me.

    Hahaha. Take care subhumans.