This article is written by Joshita Mohanty. In this article, the author has explained the reality of racism in India.
Introduction to Racism
Race can be defined as the attributes, traits and features which differentiates one group from the other existing social groups. In simple words, races are the physical qualities that one inherits biologically and serves as a way of self-identification from the other groups. Racism is a theory that one race is superior that the other based on the physical attributes, caste, creed, ethnicity or origin.
A person is being racist when he displays the emotions of hatred, prejudice, biasness and intolerance against another person solely due to his skin color, structure of his lips, language, place of origin or any other attribute which he might have gained biologically. We live in a country where racism is deeply rooted, especially in the North-east parts. The north-eastern people are subjected to daily humiliation and passing of comments such as by calling them “Chinese”. With the ongoing spread of the COVID-19, there has been an increase in the hate crime against the Northeast Asian people due to their facial features. The constant insult, “Chinki” has been invariably used by the Indians to identify any East Asian person which clearly depicts racism.
We live in a society where the people are highly obsessed with one’s skin tone. Indians have varied degrees of skin complexion and they are categorized as fair, dusky, dark etc. Indians believe that fair-skinned people are of a much more worth and value than those who are dark skinned. The fair is considered the intellectual and gets the respect, dignity and the social status while the dark are left behind struggling for their rights and status. We face color hatred and prejudice and somehow still choose to remain silent about it.
The people need to understand that a person’s worth or status is not determined by his or her color. There are numerous cosmetic brands promoting skin lightening creams and lotions. There are advertisements promoting the desperate need of looking fair. The question is why? No one has the right to question or judge one’s complexion. Racial discrimination brings down the morale and the enthusiasm of the dark, they do not get a chance to stand up and speak up or fight for themselves. The mindset of the Indian society should realize the fact that no matter what the skin tone is, what caste or origin a person belongs to, irrespective of all the other physical traits, a person is entitled to equality before the law and has every right to deserve the same respect and honor a fair person gets.
Ancient India and Racism
India is known as one of the most mega diverse nations in the world. It is indeed a diverse country and a home for people belonging to different caste, religion, color, creed, culture and traditions. Indians are known for their varied degrees of skin complexion termed as fair skinned and dark skinned. The skin color has always remained an important factor in determining a person’s value and worth. Fair skin people are considered to be of a superior status than to the people with a dark sin. Racism has been prevailing in India since the Rig Veda Period, followed by the Mughal era and the British rule.
Rig Veda Period
The Indian caste system has always remained very complex in the terms of its stratification. The caste system is divided into 4 parts, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. The earliest form of racism was seen in the Rig Veda period itself. The brahmins were considered as the most upper-class people, followed by the kshatriyas and the Vaishyas. Shudras were the lowest of all. They were called untouchables due to their dark skin color and background. No one was permitted to eat or sleep with them, as the Brahmins coined them as impure. They were subjected to exploitation mainly because of their dark complexion and were generally referred as the Black Tribe. Two other significant groups existed, the Aryans and the Dasyus (Non-Aryans). The Aryans belonged to the noble society as they were fair in color. They treated the Dasyus as their enemies and were highly condemned. They were known as the black population. But it should be noted that, the Ancient Mythology did not show any such signs of racial discrimination.
The dark-skinned heroes and warriors were highly praised because of their power and courage. Lord Krishna is an epitome of Lord Vishnu who is himself dark in color. Draupadi, who was the leading female character in the Mahabharat is described as a young, dark and a beautiful woman. This showed that people appreciated the beauty and the charm irrespective of the skin color. Goddess Kali and Parvati are also described as dark, but exceedingly beautiful. Thus, this shows that the caste discrimination definitely led to the color discrimination in the Vedic period. But nonetheless the Ancient Mythology depicted every human with the same dignity and appreciation irrespective of their skin color.
The Mughal Era
India served as a home to the Mughal invaders as well. These led to the start of the Mughal empire in 1526. There is no definite depiction of hatred and prejudice by the Mughal emperors on the basis of skin color, caste or background. However, the Muslims and the Arab did have a much fairer complexion than the Indians. But the differences in the skin tone did not pose as a harm or threat to the local population.
The British Raj
India was ruled by the British from 1858-1947. This was the period when the racial discrimination took its worst form. The British were extremely fair skinned, hence they considered themselves as the most superior and influential. The Indians being of a dark color were highly condemned and were subject to utmost exploitation and harassment by the British rulers. In 1935, the British introduced 400 Indian groups which were known as the untouchable and the impure due to their tone of the skin color. The comparatively light skinned Indians earned a position in the Army but the dark skinned were either denied access to employment or were given odd, degrading jobs. Freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar, Jyotiba Phule etc. fought deeply for the eradication of untouchability. The untouchables formed a group and referred themselves as the Dalits.
The Dalits and Shudras were denied access to drinking water, entering temples, educational institutions, employment etc. They were considered so impure and contaminated that if a person touched them, they should wash themselves with the holy water. The Hindu Swaraj movement led by Gandhiji did not only focus from freeing India from the clutches of British, but also to free the untouchables and the Shudras from the exploitation and oppression. Gandhiji named the Dalits as Harijans, which meant that they are the people of God. He opened an ashram for them, where he co-lived with the Harijans. Jyotiba Phule led the Anti-Caste Dalit Movement in the 19th century which emphasized on giving the same level of respect, dignity and honor to the Dalits. Thus, the white skin rulers had moulded the Indian society on the basis of skin complexion and caste. The white people became the ruling class and the dark people were the victims to racial discrimination and oppression.
Racisim in the Form of Colorism
Our country has a history of being ruled by the whites, i.e. the Portuguese, the Dutch and French traders, the Mughals, the British. They were relatively fairer than the rest of the Indian population. This succession by the white people left behind the desperate desire of looking fair. Indians felt that only the light skin people can attain power, dignity and respect as they were the master race. The racial prejudice in our country has taken the form of colorism. The basic definition of colorism means that differentiating or classification of a person from another on the basis of the skin tone or complexion. Discrimination against the members of the same race due to their dark skin complexion is called colorism. The black people are generally considered of a lower status and they are included in the lowest strata of the society while the fair is considered the noble and intellectual. In our Indian society, the complexion of a person is given a lot of importance, fair people are believed to have positive impacts and the dark has negative impacts. This is how the stereotypical mindsets of the Indians work. The black is now hated upon, it is highly condemned by the people worldwide.
Racism and colorism are very closely related to each other. People with a lighter skin tone were considered as a rich of an upper-caste while people with a dusky skin tone is considered as a poor of a lower caste. Due to the color discrimination, the black people face problems all over the world. It brings down their morale, enthusiasm, self-efficiency to a great extent. They fear the world outside, the voices of the black people go unheard. They do not receive the right amount of appreciation, instead they face constant hatred and are subjected to brutality. The black people face harassment be it in either a physical or virtual form on any online platform. They are bullied not only on the basis of their color, but also on the basis of the structure of their lips or any facial attribute. The black color is the least preferred color in the entire human race. They are denied access to educational institutions, workplace or employment services, social services etc. There is no system which would act as a protection shield against the brutal and the inhumane bullying. The crime rate against the black has evidently increased, but people choose to be silent about it. If the same crime had been done to a white, then the public and the law would have done their best to win justice.
Factors Promoting Colorism
The social media and the advertising agency contribute to a great extent in favoring the notion of colorism. It is well known that the people would prefer a lighter skin tone than a deeper one and they would try their level best to reduce the tone of their skin color using any artificial means. People tend to follow the social media, their role models and hence in a despair to look fair. There are numerous cosmetic brands and skin lightening industries which came up as a solution to their consumer’s needs. In 1975, the “Fair and Lovely” cream was launched by Hindustan Unilever. This brand added a lot to the theory of colorism. It had become an indispensable requirement in the life of the young girls. In the advertisement, it was depicted that the father of the girl was disappointed due to her dark skin color and he wished upon if he had a son. Then, the mother gives the famous cream to the girl which would lighten up her skin tone. Thus, eventually the girl underwent the transition from dark to fair. This finally made her father proud and she was successful in life. It gained immense response as it was a skin lightening cream. Similarly, in 2005, the “Fair and Handsome” cream was launched by Emami, whose brand ambassador was Shahrukh Khan.
This clearly shows how an advertising agency can brainwash the minds of the people. It denoted that the deep complexion was not acceptable by the society anymore and how the dark people prove to be a disappointment. Only the fair people could achieve success and lead a happy life. Such fairness cream commercials promote the concept that how fairness is the only means of achieving success, dignity, honor and respect. Such products created an obstacle in the society by differentiating people on their skin tone. There was no actual appreciation of the natural beauty and color anymore. It lead to the formation of biasness on the preference on the skin tone and color. In 2014, the Advertising Standard Council of India, laid down guidelines that there should be no advertisements which demonstrates negative conventions on skin color or depict deeper skin tone people unsuccessful in life. Thus, colorism really brings down the level of self-esteem and confidence in life of the people which in turn creates a confined status.
Ethnicity and Racism: Differences
India is the country which portrays a unique combination of people having various cultures, religions, tribes and traditions. The variety in the language, culture, originality, religion brings in the existence of ethnicity. The basic definition of ethnicity refers to the cultural and the sociological factors such as the language, religion, tradition and the place of origin. It basically means the background of the place of the origin and its specific cultures and traditions which are taken up by the people. It is not something that a person attains biologically or genetically. Facial and other genetic attributes do not come under the category of ethnicity. If a person is questioned as to reveal his identity, it may push him to categorize his identification on the basis of the place he was born and brought up, the language and the culture taken up by him. Ethnicity is a group where the people share common traditions, culture and language. The three main ethnic groups of India are as follows:
- Indo-Aryans which mainly comprises of Assamese, Bengali, Gujrati, Hindi, Kashmiri, Konkan, Marathi, Nepali, Sindhi, Urdu and Punjabi.
- Dravidians which mainly comprises of Kannada, Tamil, Tulu, Telegu and Malayali.
- Sino Tibetan which comprises of Bodo and Manipuri.
- Austroasiatic which comprises of Santhali.
Very often, race and ethnicity are confused with each other and are considered the same. But in reality, there exists distinctive features between the both. Race is broadly defined as the facial features like the skin color, shape of the lips, eyes or nose or any other feature which is inherited genetically or biologically. On the other hand, ethnicity has a sociological aspect, it distinguishes a group from the other based on their linguistic, culture and the traditional aspects. A person can either accept or deny to conform to its own ethnic group. But a person cannot deny its own race because it is something that he owns biologically. Both, race and ethnicity are used to categorize people and distinguish them from the others. These two draw a fine line between supremacy and inferiority, acting as a barrier to equality that should be given to the people of all races and ethnic groups.
The Growing Crime and Abuse due to Racial Discrimination
Abuse And Violence Against The Schedule Caste And Scheduled Tribes
The Indian caste system is divided into 4 parts, i.e. Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras. Shudras are the present day’s backward classes. It includes the schedules caste and the scheduled tribes. Dalits which were formerly known as “untouchables” are literally considered the outcastes. The upper-class Hindu consider the Dalits impure and contaminated; they are excluded from the caste system. In India, the Dalits are the most exposed to the inhumane and abusive treatment. Dalits are denied access to the basic privileges like drinking water, entering temples, education from institutions or eating in the presence of upper-class Hindus.
India’s National Crime Records Bureau released a report stating that on an average everyday 2 Dalit are murdered; 3 Dalit women are raped and 2 Dalit are assaulted. As per NCRB, the crimes against Dalit rose by 25% from 16.3 crimes per 10,000 Dalits in 2006 to 20.3 crimes in 2016. 422,799 crimes were reported against the Dalits between 2006-2016. Most of the crimes are committed in Delhi, Mumbai, Sikkim, Goa, Bihar and Jharkhand. The number of pending police investigation rose from 8380 cases in 2006 to 16,654 in 2016. The number of pending trials rose by 50% from 85,264 to 129,831 between 2006-2016. Thus, this shows that the justice has never been in the favor of the Dalits. This is because the mostly, the village panchayats, the government officials, the police officers etc. are in the favor of the upper caste Hindus and they are paid an amount of money to shut the investigation of the case.
The Dalits live in a world of oppression, fear and are always dominated upon. They are beaten to death for standing up and speaking up for themselves, they face large scale abuse for fighting for their very own privileges. The upper caste Hindus condemn the Dalits and look upon them as untouchables who deserve nothing but are a shame to the humanity. Inhumanity and abuse against the Dalits and the SCs STs go unnoticeable because the public and law do not consider them important enough. The government chooses to remain silent rather, giving the other castes an upper hand over them.
On February 17th, 2020, Akash Kumar Koitiya, who is a Dalit was attacked in the Banaskantha District in Gujarat by the men of Thakor koli as he was riding a mare during his own wedding procession. The men pelted stones at him for riding a mare as it was considered as a privilege meant for the upper Hindu class only.
In the year 2018, month of May, four wedding processions of Dalit was similarly attacked by the people belonging to the Thakor community and other upper classes. Even after the police investigation, no arrests were made.
In Uttarakhand, a Dalit man named Jitendra was brutally attacked by the men of the upper class and 9 days later, due to the severe injuries he died. The reason of the attack was that he ate food in a wedding in the presence of the upper- class villagers. The local residents claimed that since the food was prepared by the upper-class people, the Dalits were not allowed to touch or eat it. Such cases of killings for ordinary and common reasons posed as a threat to the Dalits, fearing the outcome, they never rose their problems to the higher authorities.
The Dalit women are subjected to rape, brutal harassment, violence and torture by the men of the upper class. They are generally forced into prostitution and girl child trafficking. In UP, a 24-year-old Dalit woman, named Savitri, who was 9 months pregnant was beaten to death by the Anju Devi and her son, Rohit who belonged to the Thakur community. They said that the victim had contaminated the garbage bin by touching it as it belonged to the upper Thakur community. She was so ruthlessly beaten that she suffered a miscarriage and was declared dead.
The above instances show how the Dalits are being treated in the different parts of the country. They face nothing but pure humiliation and ruthless violence. Article 17 of the Indian Constitution says that untouchability has been abolished and one who practices it shall be punished under the law. The Untouchability Offences Act, 1955 also prohibits the practice of discrimination against the untouchables like entering temples or drinking water from the well. Although, there are laws implemented but the problem lies in its enforcement. The laws should be enforced with much stricter implementation. The Dalits are mere puppets who do not have the proper means, i.e. money and power to fight against the discrimination. Class conflict has elevated way too high and people should know that Dalit lives matter too.
Racist Abuse and Aggression against the People of North-East India
Racial discrimination against the north-east Indians is deeply rooted in our Indian Society. Indians have a very basic and stereotypical notion about the north-east parts of India. The north-eastern people are most of the time addressed as “Chinki” due to the structure of their eyes which is very common among all the people of Northeast and that particular feature differentiates them from the rest of the Indians. They are often questioned if they eat dogs, snakes or frogs because the Chinese eat it as a part of their food diet. Whenever we come across a girl who has a fair skin tone, with absolutely straight hair and Mongolian facial features, the first thought that comes in our mind would be “Oh! Look a Chinese girl”. People often call out the north east Indians as Chinese, Korean, Japanese etc. To a lay man’s eyes, they all look the same but that does not give them the right to go ahead and discriminate them. The north east region people feel indifferent and isolated. People do not call a Sikh, a Pakistani nor do they call a Bengali, a Bangladeshi but why is it so easy for them to call an Assamese, a Chinese. This is pure irony. Indians are so conscious and mainstream about the looks that if a person does not fit into the stereotype custom appearance, he/she should be hated upon. Racial slurs have become extremely common in north east states.
The most tragic case of north east India was the murder of a 20-year-old boy, Nido Tania who was from Arunachal Pradesh. In the year 2014, January 30th Nido Tania died due to the severe lung injures he had been inflicted upon as a result of ruthless and brutal beating by the shopkeepers in the market of New Delhi. Nido got into an argument with the shopkeepers as they passed racial slurs and comments on his long, dyed hair, facial features like eyes ad his dressing sense. The locals even claimed that the shopkeepers kept calling him out as Chinki or Chinese. The sad killing of Nido was a heinous crime which was an outcome of pure racial prejudice. The police had charged the accused under section 302 of the IPC, however the CBI dropped the murder charges and framed charges under the SC/ST Atrocities Act, 1989. Later, the court dropped the charges of SC/ST act saying that there was no establishment of the motive of “racial slur”. This incident moved the north east Indians in a very aggressive and agitated way. They demanded equal recognition and appreciation for the north east states.
With the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus, the racial prejudice against the north east Indians are also increasing day by day. The north east people staying in different parts of India have reported cases of abuse, bullying and intolerance due to their mere facial resemblance to those of Chinese. The people accuse them of carrying the virus based on their mongoloid features. There are cases where the staff of the grocery store asked them to show their identity to reveal that they were Indian and not foreigners.
Ever since the pandemic started, the virus is being used as an insult to the north east Indians. On 22nd March 2020, a humiliating report of a racial slur was made by the victim, Rameshwori who stays in Delhi. She was spat upon by a man who was probably chewing tobacco and she claimed that the man shouted “Coronavirus”. This happened because that man could clearly see that the victim looked different than the others with the mongoloid features and could probably be a carrier of coronavirus. This attack had created an environment of fear for the north east, they feared of the harm that be possibly done to them by the people of their own nation. Times like this call for unity and cooperation but instead there is a spread of violence and hatred against the migrants of north east.
Recently, a group of Manipuri students were harassed and forced to leave the house by their landlords in Kolkata. They were mocked as Chinese and corona. People need to understand that these students live away from their home and such kind of harsh treatment will leave them vulnerable. Small children are taught to cover their mouth while passing by any north east migrants. The north east migrants are being forces to leave their place of stay and move out of the country itself. They are being tagged and labelled as Coronavirus.
Alana Golmei who is the founder of the North east helpline and security, recently wrote to the ministry of home affairs regarding the concern of the growing racial discrimination since the rise of the pandemic. She was herself called as “corona” at the NCERT office in Delhi, so she had a clear idea of how the rest of the migrants are treated. They are exposed to all kinds of hatred by every social group around them. The hatred is not only physically, but also on online platforms like twitter, Instagram etc. where people are asking them to leave the country. Such comments leave behind a very traumatic effect in the mind of the people. They are emotionally disturbed and are vulnerable in facing the outside world, mainly women. The people should that the facial features are similar to those of Chinese, just because of their ethnic group, i.e. Tibetan Mongoloid origin and that does not serve as a basis of racial discrimination and prejudice.
Laws Implemented For Racial Discrimination
Constitutional Provisions identified under the Constitution of India
- ARTICLE 14 says that no person should be deprived of equality within the territory of India.
- ARTICLE 15(1) says that there should be no discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth and ARTICLE 15(3) guarantees to make special provisions for children and women.
- ARTICLE 16 ensures the citizens equal opportunities of employment to both the men and women.
- ARTICLE 17 abolishes the practice of “untouchability” and any person who practices untouchability shall be punishable under the law.
- ARTICLE 21 protects the citizens from deprivation of life and personal liberty.
- ARTICLE 46 ensures the protection of the weaker sections of the people the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and promotes provisions with special care to meet their economic and educational interests.
- ARTICLE 51(A)(e) signifies the duty of every citizen to the feeling of harmony and brotherhood among all the citizens of India and abandon the practices which are derogatory to the dignity of women.
- ARTICLE 243D(3) says that one-third (including the number of seats reserved for the women of Scheduled caste and Scheduled tribe) of the total number of seats has to be reserved for women in Panchayat.
- ARTICLE 243T(3) says that one-third (including the number of seats reserved for the women of scheduled caste and scheduled tribe) of the total number of seats in every municipality has to be reserved for women.
- ARTICLE 243T(4) provides for the reservation of offices of chairpersons in the municipalities for the scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and women as per the manner provided in the state.
Other Legislations and Acts
Anti Discrimination And Equality Bill, 2016
In the month of March, the Congress Member of Parliament had introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha. The bill signifies that there be no discrimination against the people belonging to the weaker and the poorer sections of the society on the grounds of caste, creed, religion, sex, color, place of originality etc. The bill guarantees protection to the weaker sections like the scheduled caste and the scheduled tribes, who are always exposed to irrational abuse and violence for mundane reasons. It provides measures for redressal and provisions for compensation and exemplary awards.
The Caste Disabilities Removal Act, 1850
This particular law was passes in the British India under the rule of East India Company in 1850. This law gave people the freedom to convert from one religion to another with all the equal rights. The conversion of the religion would not take away their rights, especially inheritance. This law gave a clear view that a person will not be denied his right of inheritance to the parental property, even after he under goes a conversion of religion. For example, a child of Hindu will still be considered a Hindu even after the conversion in terms of inheriting property.
The Prevention Of Atrocities Act (Scheduled Caste And Scheduled Tribes), 1989
This law was passed on September 9th, 1989. This law protects the SCs and the STs from the discrimination and exploitation. It provides protection to the weaker sections from atrocities, abuse, brutality and ruthless violence. It lists around 22 offences which would come under the category of discrimination like denial of access to drinking water, safe hygienic conditions, edible food, access to hospitals, education, entry into temples etc. Section 14 of SC/ST Act provides for the speedy trial courts so that the members of the OBC and other tribal communities get speedy justice and do not remain defenseless. There is no provision for an anticipatory bail for offence committed under the act as per the new Section 18(a).
Black Lives Matter Movement
Black lives matter is a platform which was established in the year, 2013 after the horrific and tragic killing of Trayvon Martin on 26th February, 2012. It is a platform founded to reveal how the black are always suppressed by the whites. Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American teen was killed by George Zimmerman, as a result of fatal shooting, in Sandford, Florida. Instead of being held accused for second degree murder charges, after a lot of deliberation, Zimmerman got acquitted and walked out freely. He claimed that he shot Martin as self defense and the jury found no probable evidence. This shows the racial prejudice against the black community. There was no justice given to the murder of Martin. Zimmerman got his freedom out of a murder and this revealed how the self-defense law prevailed in the favor of Zimmerman. It’s very clear that the supremacy of the whites always prevails no matter what. Black lives matter movement is a platform where people demand justice for the lives of the black. They emphasis on the issue that even the black lives matter and they should be a given a chance to speak up and fight for themselves. It reveals the truth of the dominance of the whites over the black.
In the light of the recent events, the racist murder of George Floyd on 25th May, 2020 has sparked a revolution against racial discrimination worldwide. George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American was killed in Minneapolis, by a police officer, named, Derek Chauvin who had his knees pressed against the throat of Floyd for nearly about 8 minutes and 46 seconds, until he was no more. Three other officers named, Tou Thao, J. Alexander and Thomas Lane were also involved in the killing. The police had been called upon after a grocery store made a call to the 911 stating that Floyd used fake currency to buy a packet of cigarettes. As the officer handcuffed Floyd, he lied down on the ground. Soon after that, Derek Chauvin suffocated Floyd, by applying a lot pressure on his back and neck. Floyd complained that he was having breathing problems and also that he was claustrophobic, in spite of this knowledge, Derek Chauvin still placed his knees on Floyd’s neck with an intention of assaulting him while Floyd was breathing his last. Derek is charged under an offence of second-degree murder and the rest 3 are charged under an offence of abetment of murder. This is a clear incident of brutality and ruthlessness.
Article 2 of the Human Rights Act talks about the right to life, except for the death penalty which is provided under the law. No person has been granted the right to deprive another person of his own life. The law guarantees the protection of life of every human. All lives matter, be it black or white. There should be no discrimination when it comes to the protection of one’s life, because life is important to each and every one. It is a definite and absolute right. No one can come and just snatch it away from you.
The blacks have been poor victims of racial killing, murders, sexual harassment, abuse, bullying or maybe to every other possible crime. The killing of George Floyd on the basis of his race was a pure representation of the abomination and dislike faced by the people of a deeper skin tone. The merciless killing led to a huge uprising of protests by the citizens in America, thousands of people opposed the lockdown in Britain and many other parts of the world and marched away in groups to demand justice for Floyd. People are mourning and grieving over the death of an unarmed, innocent man who was begging for his life. The people are overwhelmed and are in a raging fury. Cities which used to be peaceful and calm, are now filled with rallies, marches, protests etc. This incident has brought people from worldwide to come together and act against the illegal and unjust racial killing. Even on online platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. people are using hashtags like “BlackLivesMatter”, “GeorgeFloyd”, “Icantbreathe” etc. to inspire people all over to come up and fight for the rightful justice.
Police killings and police violence in the U.S have emerged as a serious problem. Another reason of the killing of George Floyd is police brutality. The police misuse their power and end up claiming the lives of the innocent civilians. The area of focus is mainly on the people who belong to a black race. The National Vital Statistics system released a report stating that police brutality and police killing stands as the sixth leading reason of death. Police killings lead to 1.6% of the death of the black people who fall under the age group of 20-24. A black man has a greater risk of getting killed as compared to a white man. Public reports have found out that lives of 52 of every 100,000 men and 3 of every 100,000 will be claimed by the police. The judicial system should implement stricter laws to reduce the cases of abuse of power by the higher authorities and police officers. The police departments should definitely be held accountable for their utmost misuse of their power.
I would like to conclude this article by saying that yes, racial prejudice does exist in our country. India being such a complex and diverse nation, is bound to have some differences between the people, be it the facial features, the skin color, the language, the caste or the religion. But these mere differences do not serve as a ground for discrimination. India is widely known for having varied cultures, traditions, ethics, religions, languages, communities etc. On one hand, we say that we are proud of living in a country so beautiful and diverse that it embraces people belonging to different cultures and traditions and on the other hand, we go freely discriminating and spreading racial prejudice against the people just because they belong to a different community or ethnic group, for instance the North East Indians who belong to the Tibet Mongoloid ethnicity. How ironical is that. Our Indian society has a pre-determined assumption that skin tone preferences have to exist no matter what. They are reluctant in accepting the fact that being dark is beautiful and that the dark is entitled to the same amount of dignity and respect that a fair would receive. Person will a lighter skin tone will always be preferred over a person with a deeper skin tone. This leads to the elimination of opportunities for the black people in every field, be it education or employment. They are a constant subject to hate crime due to their skin color, which makes them feel unsafe and threatened in their very own country. Its high time that the spread of racial prejudice and hatred against the blacks should be stopped, stricter law should be implemented and enforced.
Derogatory comments, racial slurs, racial insults, racist killings etc. should cease to exist. We should embrace and appreciate the people for who they are and not on the basis of how they look. Skin color or caste do not define the character of the person, passing judgmental comments on their skin color and looks does nothing good, but makes them feel isolated and alienated from everyone else. Just like the fair, the brown and black people are also God’s creation and there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. After all, Lord Krishna and Lord Shiva are also known to be the dark-skinned Dravidian Gods, dark, yet beautiful.
- Dr. J N Pandey (Constitutional Law of India)
- The Constitution of India, 1949
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