Posted by: odzer | August 14, 2008

Hey Chink!!

Whoa! So many of them.

Whoa! So many of them.

Race is a loaded topic anywhere but not so much in India? Indians can never be racists right? WRONG!!! I will quote a friend of mine, “Brown people make the worst racists, they do not like white people and they do not like black people.” Some days ago one of my Tibetan friends went for a small walk to the market near my home. While he was coming back some guys in a car started yelling at him “Hey Chinky” etc. The guy simply hung his head and came back home.

He told me about the whole incident and I was not surprised at all, since I have heard many similar stories from my other friends. One of my German friends was actually asked how much she would go out for, again quite near my home simply because she did not look Indian and it was perceived that she would be easy. I simply asked my friend why did you not yell back “Hey Bangladeshi’s or Pakis”. That may seem mean but racist people often think of themselves as immune. This brings me to another subject, how Nepalese are treated in India. All Nepalese are automatically considered to be servants or watchmen! You don’t need to look far just watch a Hindi movie or two.

Talking further about race, in small villages in Punjab it is quite common for white boys to be named “Gora” and a black guy to be named “Kala”. Our obsession with skin colour is deep and I am sure plenty of purveyors of fairness creams have capitalized on it. I remember now another incident from my college time. I was sitting in the campus basking in the sun one winter when a guy walked up to me and sat next to me. He asked me why I was friends with these chinks. I was so shocked for a while that I could not say anything to him. Here was a total stranger actually telling me who to be friends with!

I guess the biggest cause of racism is ignorance. I can not think of any other reason and perhaps insecurity. So far I have witnessed discrimination in India against Asian looking people, whites, blacks and even darker skinned Indians. I guess anyone who does not fit in is a fair enough target. I guess when our people travel abroad and then suffer again at the hands of the same kind of ignorant people they might get some sensitivity to the issue. However I have also met plenty of Indians who live abroad but when they come home they use rather derogatory terms for people of other races. In the end just as a food for thought one of the words used in Hindustani for foreigners is “firangi” which means “different coloured”. If you do not think that is racial, I don’t know what is!

In case you are from the North-East and living in “mainland” India. You may get some help by visiting this site in the event that you are a victim or racist violence whether verbal or physical.

NB : Oh and please don’t leave any comments about that Chinese guy in Indian idol. That is a bit too predictable. Be Creative!! 🙂


  1. As you pointed out it’s ignorance and not just of other races, but about what is wrong and what is right. Anyone in India who wears western clothes could be considered “easy.” And as women are not respected, if a woman is considered “easy” it means you can be molest or proposition her, stalk her etc. A prostitute is treated with more respect, probably because people are afraid of the pimp. A decent woman is targeted because is easy prey.

  2. May be but I am talking about racism across the gender and across the races in India. How women are treated is a completely another story. Racism is something that we do not discuss much or sometimes to be honest practice it with impunity without even thinking about how our actions may affect others. Indians may be more sensitive to the divisions between their own race like religion, caste etc but not towards people of different races. The only notable race question arises between North/South India and that is also a complex issue because it can also be seen as a linguistic issue.

  3. I have a detailed post on my blog on racism towards those from the north-east of India. Lots of comments from those who live there too!

  4. Please post the link to your post here as well. Thank you!!

  5. Okay, here is the link:
    How does India treat its north-easterners.

  6. Yes, a big part of this is our education, how many ‘mainland’ Indians do you think know what the capital of Tripura or Manipur is ?

    On the other hand, this kind of thing exists in America, a lot, its just under the surface. Although most Americans I have met are individually pretty nice and dont seem racist. But they and their media, often make fun of people’s appearances, accents and eating habits. While they put this all on freedom of expression, I noted that the standard white Anglo-Saxon is almost never made fun of in mainstream American media.

    Whenever a white person is made of they are first identified as a subset of the whites, fat guy, rural guy, silly girl etc etc, but with others they directly say what they want.

  7. Hey Vikram, white people are also scared of being thought of as “racists”. So at least they put in some effort. As for Americans they are the only people I know who can ‘smile’ on command.

    However if I was not your average “mainland” guy I would not really feel very comfortable here. Considering how even some my own own friends behave with people of other races. They do not seem hostile but they do not realise that other people have no way of knowing what their intent is. Though I am not a big fan of political correctness I guess a bit of sensitivity would be nice.

  8. Basically, those people want the sweeter part of a thing, and they are trying to run away from imaginary things, i.e. things they assume are bad.

    There is no big difference between racist people and self-proclaimed non-racist people. They equally have the notion itself; it’s just a matter of how they react to it.

  9. Of course there is no difference between racist and non racist people. This blog is about racist people who think they are not racist. As for reaction sometimes its fun to wake people up from their slumber. I think you get the idea.

  10. Sorry, I was nearly gone to the dream world and couldn’t think any more.

    In any case, those people will never realise what they are actually doing until someone holds a huge mirror in front of them. They are just trapped by themselves.

  11. Its quite okay. Their mob mentality needs to go indeed.

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