Racism galore (Daily Times (Pakistan))

I consider myself a fairly ignorant kind of cricket fan. I am one of those people who would not be up to speed with who is who in the cricketing world of today but perhaps know enough to carry out an educated conversation. I do see a lot of people overly passionate about it and for all the right or wrong reasons. To some folks a sport is more than a sport and they go into major denial or depression mode if their team faces a loss. The recent setbacks the Pakistani cricket team has suffered at the hands of its archrival India and then the West Indies has brought major gloom to many faces. Many registered their unrestrained disdain for their national team. This is all part of the programme. Bless Twitter for being that medium for people to vent their frustrations.
If Pakistan loses against India, of course it is considered a major dent to our national pride. It is as though it is not a game but some sort of a battle. Passions and wagers, both run deep at any such event. One often wonders where people find the money to bet on such games and that too knowing very clearly that gambling is explicitly forbidden in the Islamic faith! This brings our discussion to another angle that is totally against the spirit of our faith, yet very pervasive in our culture. When our team received a drubbing by the West Indies, the not so clever copywriters on the idiot box called it “dark thunder”. Of course the word dark was implied as a racial slur against the West Indians but it comes as no surprise, as our society is quite dark from the inside when it comes to this particular issue.
The fairness of one’s complexion is considered a mark of beauty and if you were to look at every sphere of life it is repeated endlessly and, quite frankly, with no shame. Most women spend their time in front of the mirror applying all kinds of creams to look as fair as possible. The clever folk who write copies for such cosmetics play with the emotions of such naAA‚¯ve consumers. Men who may not be quite fair themselves are always interested in a ‘fair’ complexioned bride. Again, the slick copywriters for matrimonial ads always emphasise that particular feminine attribute.
If you think only women are under pressure when it comes to their complexion, then you are definitely mistaken. Regrettably, dark men go through a lot of societal drubbing as well. They are called with all sorts of names, with derogatory racial connotations. If you go through social media, you can see a lot of our otherwise educated folk making racial remarks about Christian janitors, Pakistani or Indian Hindus, Africans and, come to think of it, anyone who is not as fair and good looking as our blessed brethren.
Conversely, these are the same people who, in most cases, find westerners and quite openly consider Caucasians, commonly termed as ‘whites’, to be conspirators. At that particular point, these folks become the poor victims of the socalled racist ‘white man’ who does not want the poor and otherwise talented Muslims to advance, progress and thrive. The evil white man, who has ruled over the subcontinent for many, many years with sheer connivance, is discussed with deep disgust.
One has to scratch the head and wonder: where does all this stem from? This racist attitude perhaps predates Islam. Unfortunately, most dark complexioned people were considered slaves in most cultures in the olden days. Yes, slavery is not practiced in these times but the attitude towards people of colour is very questionable. Though Islam brought equality for all the believers, was slavery abandoned by all the Muslims? Perhaps not.
Please do not even get me started on what most Arabs in Saudi Arabia or the Gulf States think of people from the subcontinent or folk from the continent of Africa. Even then you will see our otherwise subcontinental brethren complain about the arrogance of these Arabs and how rude, racist and uncaring they are. Even though they share the same religion as us. If you are still scratching your head in surprise, disgust or denial, please do not. Let us be honest and fair, and admit that we are quite racist ourselves. We treat others with sheer disrespect but when it comes to ourselves, we demand fairness, equality and respect. That is the story of our lives.
The darkness within our hearts makes us solely focus on the darkness on other people’s faces. No matter how much we deny or refuse to accept, we are a clan of extremely racist people. We are the silliest of the silliest when it comes to this aspect of life and, yes, very hypocritical too.