Spleen

I’m a lovely person, but I do think some occasional shaming of baboons is right and necessary

I was just trawling the internet for interesting posts by Indian bloggers in order to do my duty by Blogbharti. I’ve often discovered interesting blogs this way, and it can be a lot of fun. Today, though, I discovered someone named Visithra.

This is Visithra on March 7:

So you tell me doesn’t this blatantly scream RACIAL PROFILING????????Private companies practice RACIAL DISCRIMINATION on a daily basis and what are these so called avengelers doing about it? NOTHING! Reality is INDIANS ARE A MINORITY – no matter who is in power, you will feel the pinch, you will be discriminated. The key is to excel in your own fields, work had and smart.

This is Visithra two weeks later on March 21:

And why are black/ africans so up front and persistent. Don’t they understand the word NO? These aren’t the first time I’ve had problems with them.

Sigh. Internet, you never fail to throw up winners, do you?

22 Comments to “Spleen”

  1. so how many none indian friends do you have? and how many from a different religion?

    its easy to sit under a coconut and call others baboons n assume you’re the high priestess of uthopia

    but when you’ve had to hide in a shopping mall dressing room for the umptenth time because of the same bunch of people – darn if I won’t point it out!

    lol you’re amusing – u must have so much free time to read baboons blogs obsessively ;) yawn

  2. You know, I’ve heard that “we’re Indians, so we’re second class citizens” thing so many times over the past 20-odd years…

    It’s also partly true, and that’s the point I’m trying to put across. The fact is that racism does exist, but not always in the way we like to imagine it (most Indians are second class citizens because, internationally, we behave and treat each other as such). Also, the Chinese bank doesn’t care because it’s Chinese, it’s because it’s a bloody bank.

    You can generally tell how someone from a certain ‘ethnic background’ (fancy words!) is going to behave, but this, when analysed, has to do with hundreds of cultural, social and historical variables that just happened to have trickled down into people from the same culture and ethnicity.

    But the same is true of any group: teenagers, doctors, engineers, nerds and fanatics all have tell-tale behavioural patterns. In 2000 years perhaps we’ll all be evenly brown and then we can begin herding the Hoodies into Gulags.

    Are Continental Africans ‘up front and persistent’? In my experience, yes. This isn’t because their skin is black or that they’re all imprinted with the rape gene (and that guy pursuing Visithra in the mall would be serious trouble whichever race he was).

    Does any Caucasian know how to successfully cross a street without nearly causing an accident? No. Not because their skin is pearly, but because they’re most likely to come from a country whose infrastructure is, um, structured well enough that jaywalking is a strictly punished offense, and they never learned how to do it properly.

    In every single cultural and ethnic group exists a bunch of people who are more than the sum of their component parts, and these people are worth finding, treasuring, and keeping sane so they may inherit the earth and keep the rest of the idiots from destroying it.

    I could go on and on here about the various traits Indians home & abroad have, but this comment has already gone on far too long.

    In short: melting pot good, but in order to navigate properly you may need a field guide with instructions that sound suspiciously racist if interpreted without a brain.

  3. Visithra – Sadly, while I’ve lived on three continents to date, been the only brown person at a very white school and dated people of different races, I have never actually lived in proximity to the rapist-because-black race.
    It is most lowering. I’d considered myself fairly widely travelled.

    Vishal – You get a serious reply. Well yes, people of different races possibly will be mre likely to behave in particular ways for socio-historical reasons. But you’re not really going to get very far with finding the real, interesting, worthwhile people from any group if you’re going to refer to them as “these insertderogatorystatementhere”. At some point you start crossing the street when someone black is walking behind you (omg crime rates!) and really, that way lies madness.
    But I would never have linked to this if weren’t for the original poster’s indignation that anyone should dare to racially profile her, while doing the same thing to other races herself (and indeed, angrily defending her own act of racial profiling as survival strategy). If it had been official bank policy to discriminate, sure.

  4. Aishwarya: “its easy to sit under a coconut and call others baboons n assume you’re the high priestess of uthopia

    Does she know you’re Tamil?

    Visithra: Say that this Chinese bank, whichever one it is, has some bad experiences with Indian customers and so is more careful when dealing with them/ generally behaves as though all Indians are genetically predisposed towards insolvency.

    You have had bad experiences with some black men and think this “same bunch of people – darn if I won’t point it out!” is full of chaps with follow-anything-female-and-rape-her genes.

    Mark the difference for me, please.

    -Jabberjee

  5. I protest the speciesist profiling of baboons in this post. Plenty of baboons are intelligent and capable of learning. It’s unfair to generalize from this one example.

    Me, I’m all in favor of grammatic profiling. You have only to read the first line of the first post you link to know this person is not going to have anything worthwhile to say. At that point, why bother reading?

  6. Vishal : My country is going through interesting times – they’re being promised things that will not be delivered. In the heat of the political wave that’s spread through my country – politicians are wielding promises with hidden agendas.

    That post was written to give just one example just before people went out to vote – if you read the comment section you would realize how many people agreed with me on the existence of racial profiling in banks in my country.

    My job requires me to know how banks profile their customers and how they decide on whose loans should be approved. The bank awards loans based on how you can pay installments based on 33 percent of your salary – I had more than the required amount.

    Its called credit score cards – if you must know. I can even give a lecture on the software used.

    The second bank gave me the loan without asking any questions. Heck they didn’t even call me. it has nothing to do with being a bloody bank!

    Whenever I mention that bank, even my Chinese friends agree that they do practice racial profiling. My loan wasn’t even disapproved it was just lowered by 8 percent which is really ridiculous.

    Here’s another very interesting point – my very white friend was given a credit card way beyond a limit she can afford – while another friend who earns more than her wasn’t approved a similar limit – even she’s baffled by it – that I believe is reverse racial profiling.

    Who said he was imprinted with the rape gene – I said I’d rather the possibility of such incidents. Have you heard the phrase prevention is better than cure. I’m not apologizing for my own survival skills.

    I for one believe Indians originated from the blacks. If you study history the breakdown of history will explain how that comes about.

    I based it on their persistence and not on just one person. I didn’t label all of them based on one experience. And yes I labeled ALL of them. The few I know as friends understand my point of view.

    Aishwarya : as I explained to vishal

    Who said he was imprinted with the rape gene – I said I’d rather the possibility of such incidents. Have you heard the phrase prevention is better than cure. I’m not apologizing for my own survival skills.

    – I’d rather be safe than sorry

    Everyone is racists in some way in my case for survival– but racism should not affect another person emotionally, physically or economically.

    Read my explanation on the bank to vishal – that bank is widely known to practice racial profiling – its not the official code but defiantly unofficial

    Do you rarely think a bank would officially let out that it profiles based on race – laws don’t allow that you know. I would assume the bank had more common sense to be sneaky.

    Do you know how many private companies advertise insisting that applicants must know mandarin? Do you know it my experience of working in 4 different companies in the last 8 years I’ve been the only executive non Chinese staff? Do you know my Chinese friend is baffled on why her Chinese friend whom she introduced to me won’t talk to me but found no qualms to discuss me infront of me in the Chinese language?

    This is a social issue in my country that I’m trying to address, because it’s being manipulated by politicians. Don’t make assumptions without understanding the political situation in my country. Each country faces a different situation.

    I write based on personal experience and feedback from others because end of the day no story is strong without facts.

    How do you know I don’t have interesting worthwhile friends? Just because I don’t like being picked up by strangers?

  7. Visithra: Honestly (and speaking as someone who’s been through the whole bank loan/credit card wringer), I would worry more about the bank that gives you a loan no-questions-asked than the one that is stupidly racist.

    Whether they admit to it or not, or they subscribe to some other form of non-finance-based discrimination, the Chinese bank is behaving just like any bank in any other part of the world. It just happens that in multi-ethnic settings such as ours, sorting people by race (white woman spend money, whee!) is the easiest, simplest, cheapest thing for them to do. Which, oddly enough, brings me back to my original point: they’re a bloody bank. They’re designed to be stupid.

    But yes: beware the easy loan.

    (Mental note: I know most of this is just not connecting. My approach to finances is never to get into debt again and to earn and invest wisely. Alien, scary concept, I know, but it’s worked so far.)

    Oh, and I fully understand and support your ‘prevention better than cure’ approach. I understand that your summation is based on multiple experiences, and while I know this sounds awfully like “Don’t paint everything with the same brush/can’t we all just get along?” …er, yeah, that’s what I’m saying. Slippery slope etc etc.

    Also, I have no idea of Malaysian politics, so when someone talks of ‘Chinese’ and ‘Indians’ I identify that with citizenry rather than ethnicity.

    Aishwarya: You took the words right out of my mouth with, “you’re not really going to get very far with finding the real, interesting, worthwhile people from any group if you’re going to refer to them as “these insertderogatorystatementhere”

    Exactly what I was trying to say in my mini-rant about people who are more than the sum of their component parts (my brother and I like to refer to the rest as, “The other 99%.”)

    jabberjee: Am now taking donations towards the Aishwarya, Queen of Uthopia campaign. Cash in an unmarked envelope, at the usual drop point.

    falstaff: I agree. They have such pretty bottoms. Up Baboons!

  8. Vishal: We split the cash, capisce? I’ll start working on the posters. Would a swallow carrying a coconut work for a party symbol?

    -Jabberjee

  9. Jabberjee: Well, now I’m going to have to say it, and in the context of this post it is that much more poignant…

    “African or European?”

  10. Well, now I’m going to have to say it, and in the context of this post it is that much more poignant…

    “African or European?”

    Now that was excellent.

  11. Vishal: Well, African, obviously.

    The European ones are weak and dainty and only capable of being delicate/ drinking tea from porcelain and china cups/ playing piano concertos. Completely lacking in the coconut-carrying department.

    But then of course African swallows are non-migratory.

    -Jabberjee

  12. And, as Visithra informs us, “I for one believe Indians originated from the blacks.”

    (proceeds to imagine the Harappans in oversized L.A. Lakers jerseys)

    -Jabberjee

  13. Jabberjee, Vishal, Aditya, you leave me no choice but to brandish links (threateningly) at you. Here!

    Falstaff – I’d tried so hard not to mock her spelling and grammar and…there you are. Sigh.

    Visithra – I think you’re continuing to miss the rather obvious point other people are making. Do you honestly believe that you have a right to be racist for survival whereas anyone whose racism affects you personally does not?
    And extrapolating purely from my own friends circle, as I suggested to Vishal, describing people from a particular community in a derogatory way is not conducive to making friends from that community.

    And why am I sitting under a coconut? Is it still on a tree? Is it being held over me by a hovering swallow? Am I levitating it with the force of my mind?

  14. Jabberjee – *snort*. No stereotyping, or I will look upon you sternly.
    (I think her point was that she isn’t really racist because she believes in evolution. I feel that I am justified in finding this hilarious.)

  15. ACK. You’re right. I HAVE been stereotyping!

    …They probably weren’t all Lakers fans.

    (grins) Alright, alright. In my defense, mocking her use of the word ‘blacks’ for our progenitors and the revolutionary application of the Out-of-Africa hypothesis selectively to Indians, when she spoke of her theory of evolution, was more than I could possibly resist.

    -Jabberjee

  16. I think the concept I find most disturbing (not to mention hilarious) is that all their behaviour is justified because there’s politics involved.

    ….Politics, really? Since when did a system for deciding who runs the maintenance company of a designated parcel of land trounce pure and simple humanity?

  17. Aishwarya, Re: Python xkcd

    Q: Why did the swallow have to carry the coconut?

    A: Because the parrot was dead.

  18. I came across visithra’s blog by chance yesterday. And through it I arrived here :). Aishwarya, I am a Malaysian just like vishitra is. And trust me that’s the typical Malaysian indian trademark (not something to be proud of, I agree). They go around lamenting that they are victims of racism failing to realise that they are just as bad a racist as the other.

    Read what visithra’s “fellow supporter” had to say about the issue…

    “seriously i dont know from whr all these ppl came..all of the sudden! they are everywhere – malls, parks, swimming pools. it will be alrite if they just mind their own biz, and we ours. but seems like the guys just enjoy disturbing local girls – indian girls particularly. and yes, they don’t take a ‘no’ for an answer. came across so many of them in puchong. ggrrrrr!!!”

    All I can say is – it makes me sad to see fellow Malaysians (not all, some) act as through they are all-knowing, when in reality, they know nothing but the surface of things. That’s us – half baked in all that we do (I am forced to include myself in the “us”… not because I am in any way like them…but because rightly or wrongly, I too was born on the same land that they were).

    I salute your observation, Aishwarya.

    Though never a racist, I too have had my weak moments when I wished that we had the country back to ourselves like we used to, before foreign workers started coming in by the thousands. That was me once – though even then I had never stooped to the level vishitra and her friends have.

    But experience over the years has taught me that …the world does not revolve around me alone…and that it’s really possible to co-exist amicably if only we tried to understand the reasons the foreigners leave their family, friends and loved ones and travel thousands of miles away to make a living at a place where they are treated like third class citizens. What’s really sad is – only foreigners who come to Malaysia to work as labourers are treated thus. The expatriates are “literally worshipped”. I wonder how Vishitra would have reacted had it been a good-looking American white man who had followed her (note – word white is used just to draw a comparison :) ).

    No offence meant Vishitra, if you are reading this. I am not here to dry our dirty linen in public. But reality has to be addressed as it is. When a person points out an obvious flaw in us, instead of retaliating with a defensive argument, take a few days to reflect on why they even brought it up. And do not live believing that those who agree with you are the ones ho will help you “grow”. “Have you learn’d lessons only of those who admired you, and were tender with you, and stood aside for you? Have you not learn’d great lessons from those who reject you, and brace themselves against you? Or who treat you with contempt,or dispute the passage with you? (Walt Whitman)

    Just a few days ago, I was walking around with my camera when I saw the most beautiful smile in the face of an Indonesian lady (who helps out her cobbler husband near the place I live). I must have passed her hundreds of times but had never even made the effort to look at her face…until that day. It was like a lesson slapped onto my face as I shot that beautiful smile – I realised that while I was definitely not a rascist, I was still living out the pre-conceived ideas I had in my head once – that only people who benefit us deserve our kindness, and smile.

    Your post made me reflect on many issues, Aishwarya. Thanks :). And please do excuse this rather long comment :)

  19. Now I, naturally (or unnaturally, perhaps), get my quote juice from elsewhere in the un-popcult:

    MANAGER: “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. What’s that?”
    A.J.: “It’s an Illyrian poodle. Choicest beast a man can latch onto. It’ll raise the tone of your trap.”
    MANAGER: “I suspect it to be a purple-assed baboon and it stands outside.”

    …which is a bit that really should have made it into the movie, though I suppose those animatronic mugwumps probably used up the necessary budget.

  20. Tsk tsk… blabbering about such small issues. From Visithra’s perspective she is right and Aishwarya is also right. Go the middle path. – OIC delegate from Senegal-

  21. Today I’ve got the most wonderfully eloquent comment on my blog regarding this.

  22. Hmm. May be I’m being bit dunce here. Don’t know. But surely I am challenged to speak out where all of the crowd is talking to everyone.

    So I address this to Aishwarya:

    I’ve read the two links and I cant figure how they are relevant to each other. And I see that, barring those links, you haven’t made any case in your post or engaged with the writer prior.

    From your response to her further down I wonder how the first issue which is being alleged as an institutional racism veiled in a policy ( you might differ with visithra, but as I have said you haven’t made your case) inconsistent with ‘personal’ experiences related to members of certain subset* who obviously from the post are undermining her authority? Further, she isn’t stating she is discriminating ( saying no) based on a particular attribute common to the subset. And I didn’t see any race involved anywhere? Africans is not a race, surely not in the Malaysian context. I think we should have given her the benefit of doubt and made an effort to clarify.

    Because unambiguously there is counter-racism in first post, which is as bad as racism, but the second at the best it would amount to being less politically correct, and at the worst a prejudice based on personal experience. Not any greater shame than finding that it is good enough to call someone a baboon.

    * I have used subset because I don’t see how blacks/ and esp the use of Africans ( which includes blacks, browns and even whites) amount to referring to a race. And in Malaysia.
    Thanks.

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