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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Chp 174. Blaming the victim: Strange Logic.

We live in a World where everybody's a PhD at passing the buck. We either turn a blind eye to the most obvious of reasoning, or blame somebody else who we know are completely innocent. But then, majority rules, right? Let's be democratic and continue oppressing the weak.

Flashback four years ago. Mapuia, a system analyst for a reputed IT Firm in Bangalore, was not allowed to move in to his new apartment by his Landlord when he met him, even though the Landlord had already given his broker the green signal before. The Landlord returned the deposit, refused to sign the affidavit and even offered to pay the broker the one month’s rental fee which Mapuia had to pay to the broker.

Sure, as Indians we are all aware of the “unspoken” discrimination people face when it comes apartment leasing, especially if you are from the North-east, a Muslim, a non-vegetarian Hindu, or even a bachelor/bachelorette. But what was unique about this case was, the Landlord told Mapuia that the reason he couldn’t lease the apartment to him was because he did not want any trouble if somebody from the building called him a “chinky”! An incident like that supposedly took place with his neighbor’s tenants some time ago, and there was a lot of swearing, slugfest and police intervention.

Likewise, 10 years ago it was a known fact that discotheques in Bangalore like "The Club" and a few Pubs didn’t allow "chinkies" to enter their establishments because they usually get into a fight with the unruly drunken crowd after being racially abused. So the management prohibited "chinkies" from entering to avoid violence and also to "protect" us from such racism. Hmmm…

That was 10 years ago. Things are a little bit different now. Nobody stopped me the last time I went to "The Club".

But that is how it has always been for us. If people call us chinkies, it apparently is our fault. Hence we are denied accommodation, denied entry to public and private establishments, denied to enjoy the same basic rights that other Indians have, all in the name of "protecting" us from being racially abused. Yes, I guess I see the logic behind all these. Do you too?

I mean, take a look at how we use that same logic at other incidents. If a woman is raped here in India, people blame the woman. Forget the rapist. Who cares about him. The victim shouldn't have worn tee-shirt and jeans that was screaming out "RAPE ME, RAPE ME PLEASE" right? She was asking for it. If you leave meat out in the open,
cats will come to eat it right? She should have worn a full sleeved salwar kameeze. Wait a minute, did somebody say most of the rapes in India take place on women wearing the most traditional attire? Nah, they must have been lying. This is a conspiracy by the ISI or CIA, trying to taint our conservative tradition and heritage (...of the kamasutra).

And if somebody secretly filmed a couple inside their bedroom during their most intimate moment using a spy-cam and then leaked that out in public, the mob ire is directed at the couple (doesn't matter if they are married to each other or not). Meanwhile, most people don't even bother about the pervert who filmed them and distributed the clip.

Or take for example, the recent ongoing IPL cheerleaders controversy. One of the reasons why the moral-police wants them banned is because they supposedly incite sexual aggressiveness among the spectators. Yeah, so if the crowd makes lewd remarks at them and asks them how much they charge for a quickie, it is the cheerleaders' fault! Down with the cheerleaders. All hail the leerleaders.

If I am in a busy public place and a group of guys shout at me: "Chinky", then people around me stare at me! Are they waiting for me to react? To explode? To cry? To laugh? To act as if nothing's happened? To do a crouching tiger hidden dragon war cry? Hiiiaaaaaaooooooo! ??? Why stare at me? Once a shopkeeper even ushered me away after sensing trouble. The one that was asked to leave was ME! Ah yes, the logic. I am the perpetrator for being the victim


Now I guess you're also beginning to see the logic.

Remember what
happened in Mumbai on NY’s night when two NRI women were molested in public? Yes, I know. How dare they let themselves be molested, right? Shameless women.

Jessica Lall who was shot in a Bar for refusing to serve a customer beyond permit time? Yes, I swear! What was she doing working in a Bar? Women don't belong there. She was asking for it, right?

Remember all those
honor-killings? Yes, why did they marry somebody against their family’s wish? tsk tsk tsk…

Remember what happened in Gurgaon when two Mizo girls
travelling in a Santro met with an accident? One of them died. While a large majority of Mizo onliners conveyed their condolences, a few people blamed the girls! "What were they doing in a car at 2 in the morning, that too with non-Mizos?" they asked suspiciously.

Ah. Now you see the logic I am trying to make? This logic cuts across all races, all religions, all communities.

Stupid logic.

Maybe sometimes, this logic actually makes a bit of sense. Take for example,
red-light areas. At most metros, there are those "officially designated" red-light areas where sex-workers can practice their trade. Keeping in mind the PITA and SITA, you will not find such red-light areas at a respectable residential locality. The locals there will object to it because of the obvious reason that it attracts "unwanted elements".

Now if you really think about it, the same logic is applied here too. Prostitutes are blamed for the trouble makers that they attract, instead of nipping the trouble-makers directly in the bud.

So the question is, where do we draw the line on the use of such logic? And more importantly, WHO draws the line?

And when it comes to such logics, what determines a person’s ability to think alike with others or disagree on various issues? His cultural background? His demographic upbringing? Socioeconomic factors? Amount of experience and exposure to different societies? External influences like friends and family? Level of education? IQ? EQ? PQ?

Whatever be the reason, we still continue to argue and debate over such logics since the dawn of… Online discussion forums. Maybe that’s what life is all about in the end - Eternal opinionated disagreements.

Meanwhile, the victim continues to get blamed...


Anonymous said...

"Hats off & slightly bow” honouring your another beautiful post mate :) Being a chinky (Chinese look) lucky or unlucky! It ain’t that bad to be one, you go outside the world atleast that you don’t look like Paki or an Arab or an Indian or just another educated international terrorist to the world …LOL…thats a lil joke from my end. As people cannot change their race, discussing race cannot result in much. It is time to be realistic about our society. Together we can change this country to reflect the positive image that we think we have. It all begins with the individual.

My general perceptions, what do you instantly think of when "racism" is mentioned? Chances are you think of the white man ill treated, or literally hating the black man. In many instances that would be the stereotypical thought. Until all Indians can realize that this country is a free country, and that people should be able to live freely no matter their color, there will always be the talk of racism from all sides of the fence. Culturism hates racism for many reasons. Racism is not only stupid, it is also dangerous. If we start to divide by race, we will be torn asunder. As Franklin said, "We must hang together or we will surely hang separately." That which divides us makes us weaker, racists must be confronted and stopped.

Diversity asks us to alienate everyone and to look at our fellow global citizens as some exotic breeds of a different sub-species of animal -- as opposed to asking us to love everyone as brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers love each other. We should be focusing on our similarities, not on our differences. We should be dealing in equality, not in differentiation. No difference. No separation. No alienation.

As a Christian believer, or as any other decent human being, your role as a logical, intelligent individual is to distinguish between when there is a true allegation of racism. You are not to allow anyone to manipulate you with his or her own agenda. On the other hand, be careful with individuals who are quick to accuse others, on the surface, they present themselves to be "non-racist," while practicing racism in the subtlest manner. In the meantime, while they accuse others of being racist, they are no better themselves.

If you have been wounded in your soul by one or more experiences of racism and the "wound" is still an "open sore", you could be more receptive on one issue or another. This is why you must treat your experiences of racism like any other life’s negative experiences. You must continue to positively evolve from any experience with racism to become a better human being who simply refuses to be defeated by racism.

You have to make the conscious effort to remember that God has given all of humanity the mandate not to discriminate against anyone based on race, ethnicity or nationality, or any other reason. Cheers folks! I am disappearing again, will be back sooner or later!

Luce said...

Good post Kim. Posts like this remind me of an incident that happened to me, my sisters and brother a few years ago, in the middle of Majestic. We were so shaken and never uttered a word about it even among ourselves all these years. I shut it out of my mind whenever possible. I thank God we got out of the situation alive.

luliana said...

Very insightful indeed...made this lazy brain of mine jump up in deep thoughts..

During my school days in delhi way back in 2001, one of my classmate from haryana thought I was a japananese..and that too for 6 months until I told him that I too, was an Indian like him.

But then what can you and I do? Twenty years of violence in our state because of the discrimination, but nothing changed. Maybe it'll stay like this forever..

Philo said...

Thanks for broaching an issue that could go on ad nauseum and yet is also one that needs to be addressed continuously. Systemic violence impinges beyond just the physical and sadly, the civil society in India seems to have its hands overloaded and tied to effectively address the range of violence perpetrated. Repressed and ill-informed 'Indian' psyches only work to aggravate the violence. But beyond sound bytes, I envision the victims emerging as active players in the mainstream and asserting themselves even if it were to be on the terms set by the dominant. A good start would be a woman from the so called 'tribes' as a Prime minister or something but then even that doesn't seem to have even figured as a possibility as yet. Until then, I guess we keep the issue alive.

Pixie said...

Yea.. it makes me so mad that I feel like wrenching out the arm of this guy i really hate and throw it at someone...
(notice: it's not my arm that i;m throwing here!)
It's always the girl - who is told from the beginning that she shouldn't wear tight clothes, no showing legs - because she will get molested ... but, nothing is taught to the boy about showing respect to another person/human being... no one blames the person who actually committed the crime...
you can hear the colony ladies shaking their heads and tut-tutting abt an incident becuase the girl was wearing jeans/skirts... no one calls the person who actually committed the crime an asshole..
be it molestation or racism - its the victim who not only gets harrassed, but also gets the blame

mesjay said...

It's the same heart-rending story world over, perhaps ever since the first Fall. 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' Dalits, Women, Girl child... Endless. Is the human race ever going to become civilized? Doubtful.

During my early teens, some goons followed and teased a friend and me as we walked on the road, in broad daylight. Shocked and angry, we told it at home. My cousin (brother)'s response: "Mitmei an hmu aniang chu!!!"

Victimising the victim is a lot easier than fighting for justice. That's why even those big brave guys resort to it.

One of my colleagues can't get over a poor young villager, an environmentalist, shot down and declared a naxalite in Karnataka. After seething over it for a long time, all she could do was write a poem (in Kannada).

Perhaps your piece would make at least some people think too. Thinking is a good start. Have you published this in print media? Papers in Delhi (Hindustan Times?) and Bangalore (Deccan Herald?) would be a good idea. I've no clue how to get there, but do find your way if you haven't done so already. Here too TOI may be worth trying.

claytonia vices said...

Good post Kim. I think spread of awareness at all levels is critical... of course there will always be some who are immune to wisdom... and they need a good law enforcement to be taken care by... but then where is the law?

People love to take the path of least resistance...

Sekibuhchhuak said...

ku Kima nge nge,ziak tha thin hle mai.

India ram lairil lamah ka chet tlat tam loh avangin hetiang a nula lo pawh leh sual vel hi mit ngeiin kala hmu ve lova.Thiante sawi leh an tawn hi chu min hrilh ve thin Hmu ta ila,ka tanpui duh ngei dawn sia ..min sawp hrep ka ring.

A tuartu te blame hi chu thil fello tak ani.

rosaline said...

I regret the fact I am an Indian not because Laws never work here,not because MOST males here are psycologically imbalanced and frustrated,not because girls are treated as materials and grooms are BOUGHT here....these things has been going on and will go on as these exists in the genes....but because I don't have to explain each and everyone that I am an Indian.I wish if I was born in china or japan!!!

rosaline said...

.......and I would like to add a little more in that...I wish to be born there not just because I look like I am from there and would not face any racial discrimination as I do in India FOR NOT BEING BLACK.....but also because they are financially and intellectually well established and we don't have psych people like here! And...and...I really wonder why we.....sorry Indians laugh at chinese and japanese people?....They should learn to look from above so that they can see themselves and see the difference.

illusionaire said...

Ok I am just removing this part from the main post and I am pasting it as a comment because I wanted this post to concentrate on the issue of how we always end up blaming the victim in any situation. Adding too many examples and real life incidents on “chinky abuses” alone only seem to direct this article towards just one passage.

Feel free to ponder on the incident below and let me know who you think is at fault.

Two years ago, a couple of Mizo guys (including Ben, the drummer of "IIIrd Sovereign" and Isaac the vocalist of "Rave Vox") and four Mizo girls were beaten up severely by a mob in the middle of the night at Safdarjung Enclave, Delhi.

The mob was chasing a Nepali who was caught trying to steal the tyre of a car. The Nepali ran past the group of Mizos who were buying cigarettes, and on seeing the Mizos, the mob started beating them up and molested the Mizo girls, while the shopkeeper tried his best to stop the mob fury and later admitted that there was no chance in hell for anyone to mistake the guy in black tee shirt who ran past his shop for the Mizos.

Eventually, the cops arrived on the scene and stopped the barbarous act. But the damage was already done: dislocated shoulders, bleeding foreheads, torn bras and panties, bruised eye sockets. A good friend of mine who was one of the victims that night, is still extremely hurt not because of the injury, but because one of the guys shouted at her, “You chinkies only good for fuck fuck fuck.”

Now try to connect all these violence and abuses with the reason why the mob was chasing the Nepali in the first place. Related?

And if they mob was so confident that the guy they were chasing was indeed a Nepali (hell, even I can’t differentiate sometimes among who’s who from the North-east) then how the heck did the mob not know these people were Mizos?

Now here’s the grand irony. The cops after pacifying the crowd, reprimanded the Mizos harshly for being there at that time of the night, and then asked everybody to disperse and go home.

And you wonder why people from the North-east don’t trust the Delhi cops?

Ah, victimology. The reason why the Mizos were there that night, was because the girls had just finished recording a song at IIIrd Sovereign’s Sound Studio for an upcoming Christian Fellowship Programme. And since it was late, the guys decided to walk the girls back to their PG as security, even though it was just a walking distance from 9A Studio. Now I shudder to think what would have happened had the girls walked back home alone that night.

Who do you think was in the wrong?

illusionaire said...

Yes Pixie, exactly. Why do we always blame the girl???? Why why why? People blatantly shrug off such incidents as, “she was asking for it”. I mean, was she asking the people to do those stuff to her? Did she put it down in writing and got it attested by a witness that she wants to be raped? Did she put an Ad on the newspaper asking people to make lewd jokes on her face? Pray, do tell me how she was asking for it? I can totally feel your frustrations. But then, I guess we have all drawn different lines when it comes to this logic.

For example, I once said that I did not think it is wise for a girl to wander all alone in the middle of the night in a dark alley. People called me a chauvinist for saying that. I also said that I did not think it is safe for a guy to wander all alone in the middle of the night in a dark alley. What am I now? Anyway, when I said it is not wise for a girl in the first sentence, I am not justifying the fact that she got raped.

Little things a girl can avoid, like dark alleys and shady places. But with most of the rapes committed by somebody known to the victim or trusted by the victim, is there any way for her to avoid such people? People who have the habit of blaming the victims, really need to place their frame of mind under serious reconsideration. I’m with you all the way.

Mesjay and claytonia vices got an excellent point too. Victimizing a victim seems a whole lot easier than fighting for justice. It’s like Pontius Pilate washing his hands off the crucifixion of Christ when he could have very well stopped it.

It may be hard to change this mentality among Indians, but here is where the media can step in and make a big change. Show programs about how wrong having such an attitude is. Newspapers can print a little bit more opinionated articles instead of trying to remain as neutral and diplomatic as possible. And yes, Pi Mesjay, I once wrote to a newspaper and the editor told me I’ll have to make a few changes, like cutting down the tone etc and eventually in the end, the point I was trying to make didn’t have that zing anymore. Instead I write for magazines etc which don’t mind printing hard-hitting opinionated articles like this.

Rosaline, I totally understand how you must have felt like when you faced such situations. Hope I can reassure you by saying sometimes running away from the problem is not the answer, and that the only solution to it is to fight it. If we can all stand up together and attempt to fight it, then that itself is already winning half the battle.

illusionaire said...

@ Luce: I have hundreds of other such unfortunate incidents to tell. I don’t think there’s anybody from the Northeast settling outside Northeast who hasn’t faced a similar incident. For that I really admire the Northeastern people, especially the womenfolk, for having the courage and determination to carry on with their daily lives as if nothing happened. We live in difficult times, and sometimes I wonder if life was better off 40 years ago. When my mom was studying in Delhi in the 1960s, she was really frustrated about the fact that everybody thought she’s a foreigner. But hey, at least she never used to get racially abused. Now, year 2008, only the ignorant lot thinks we are foreigners, and the educated ones racially abuse us. In which time do you prefer to live?

@ Philo: I seriously don’t know about that, whether if a woman PM from a tribal background will change anything. Look at Prashant Tamang. He became the Indian Idol and many people hoped at least now Indians will recognize people who look like that to be Indians too. Instead, the number of racial abuses has dramatically risen soon after, with everyone making fun of Tamang and how all momo shops in delhi will close because he’s now the Indian Idol etc. That very night, there were incidents of beer bottles being thrown at people from the Northeast walking on the road near Kamal Cinema shopping complex in Delhi with the assailants screaming at them as “Chinky Idols”. I’m telling you this bro, this whole racial attitude against us can change only if people from the other side take the lead. I already know a large network of such individuals who abhor this kind of racism and I pray that many more join this league of broadminded people.

@ luliana: Things are slowly changing, brother. I personally don’t blame people for mistaking us for foreigners sometimes. Even when they ask me where is Mizoram, I have learnt how to understand and cope with the frustration. The one damn thing I can’t stand is, why racially abuse us??? I mean, even if we are foreigners, that still does not justify the fact that we got racially abused. And that’s the problem with most Indians. They just don’t know they are a racist lot, and then they make racial gestures at foreigners, saying it is perfectly alright for them to do that! By “they” I am only talking about the racists. “They” can be Punjabis, Tamillians, Bengallis, Mizos, Manipuris etc. Many Mizos in Mizoram still think all non-Mizos are like those non-Mizos from Silchar who come to work in Mizoram as manual laborers. The greatest damage from racism is that a victim can easily become a racist. And then the cycle just repeats itself.

@ Seki: A tuartute puh hi a diklo mai nilovin, thil zahthlak tak a nia. Pathian pawh hian a pawm kher chu ka ringlo khawp mai. Mahse heihi thil awm dan a nia, han siam that deuh chu har ve tak a ni. Mahse siam that chu kan la tum zel a, nakinah chuan he khawvel hi kan fate tan hmun nuam leh zual a lo nih leh ka beisei khawp mai.

illusionaire said...

@ anonymous: As always, my mysterious commenter, your comment left me honored. :-)

Well, of course in the international backdrop, we may be luckier than the Aryan/Dravidian stock of people because we don’t get stereotyped as terrorists, but what’s the point in living with such relief in the international level, when we are fighting a daily battle right at home? At our very own backyard?

And the scariest thing about all this is the psyche of a typical Indian. Remember what happened during the Anti-Sikh riot? That may be so many years ago, but things don’t look to have changed at all. Remember the recent Godhra riot? It’s the same case, with people from one community targeting innocent people of other communities. What if one day, somebody from ULFA plants a bomb at PM Manmohan’s car? Can you truly assure the safety of all the Northeastern people residing outside the Northeast?

I just fell in love with this particular paragraph of yours:

As a Christian believer, or as any other decent human being, your role as a logical, intelligent individual is to distinguish between when there is a true allegation of racism. You are not to allow anyone to manipulate you with his or her own agenda. On the other hand, be careful with individuals who are quick to accuse others, on the surface, they present themselves to be "non-racist," while practicing racism in the subtlest manner. In the meantime, while they accuse others of being racist, they are no better themselves.

How true indeed! I’d like to add one more point. I truly believe if one is going to battle racism, he or she must do so both ways! The same way I speak up for the Northeast people, I also write articles on the way some Mizos treat non-Mizos. If I see anybody attacking the NE community, I hit back at the article with all guns blazing. Similarly, at our Mizo community websites, if I see people unfairly discriminating non-Mizos, I rise to their defense. I just can’t stand racism of any kind, whether its from that side or this side.

Another point I’d like to make about your paragraph is, how true it is if you take a look at the way we reacted on the charges of racism by the Australian team. Most of them are in quick denial. That’s the problem with us. We are a racist lot, but we just don’t wanna admit it.

I have asked you in my previous post too about your identity :-) Its ok if you wanna remain anonymous, but it would also be nice to meet a guy who I share a very strong rapport with. Why haven’t you given blogging a shot before? Or are you some really well known columnist who prefers to remain anonymous among us commoners? :-)

Aqua said...

Your post touched a raw nerve Kima. I get you completely. the examples you have cited are heart-tugging and cruelly true. And this discrimination...this prejudice is happening as we speak.

I once had a boorish north indian tell me that I spoke very good english compared to other north east folks. i told him that people don't "think" with an accent, so he should not judge a person's cerebral capacity by the accent in his english. moreover, most south indians have strong accents, even most bengalis have strong accents while speaking english. but i don't think people go up to them telling them that they speak good english "inspite" of being a bengali.

Another grouse I have right now related to the case of the unfortunate murder of the young girl in Noida. The moment it was discovered that the family servant was a nepali man, the police were quick to pronounce him the prime suspect. why? simple, because he was nepali. i strongly feel that the UP police should issue an apology for falsely accusing him of the crime. but this will never happen.y're right...the victim continues to be blamed. and the Noida murder case bears testimony to this cruel fact.

Anonymous said...

We and our new generation....seems we don't know what to follow.Staying far away from parents with a very good reason 'STUDIES' or 'WORK' and living with boyfriends before marriage, being pregnent before marriage has become a common thing, drinks and frequent late night parties a necessity and there far away our parents working so hard thinking that their daughters and sons are studing and working and they will be great people oneday.....sounds so sad. We have destroyed our own image 'northeast' or also called 'chinky'.Everytime we do something do we ask ourself?... 'would my parent allow me to do this?..NO!.I watch our clothes and I wonder why only chinkies feel so hot with hardly anyone of us wearing decent enough clothes, would we wear such clothes in front of our parents?...I am sorry for those who doesn't belong to this category and not all are same but I am speaking here not as a northeastern but as people in this country speak. Lets take an eg. if theres a girl who is staying far away from parents, wears wierd clothes to leave upto the fashion, has loads of boyfriends, drinks and smokes, has been pregnent no. of times, goes out late night parties with guys(masked with the wordcalled 'FRIEND'nowadays)...was found dead on the road raped.......I wouldn't be surprised!.....not at all...and there 'victimising the victim' comes into picture. Lets take another example if theres a college girl staying far away from parents and with her friends(here I don't mean boyfriends),is very good in studies,wears decent clothes (it doesn't always need to be a salwar kameez),never gets out of her house at night, doesn't drink and smoke....was raped by some locals as she was returning home from tutions.......I swear I would always stand up to protest for her......but not for the previous girl I mentioned. Now lets think in which category we belong AND LETS BE HONEST....I garauntee most of us belongs to the first one. I want to ask how many of you (especially girls)haven't drunk,haven't gone out to pubs and drank and on....(I cannot even ask more)....if you were staying with your parents would you do that???No.....! My intention here is not to insult our own people but to make us aware of what people think of us and how they see us. Lets not be responsible for those innosent victims who gets the bad response because of the IMAGE created by some of us(or rather sounds correct if I say most of us and I feel very sad about it).I boubt its not racism that gives us such response from locals but because of the image we have created ourself.Its always good to write about victimising the victim,creating awareness and protesting against it but we can do that better if we are not WRONG in any way!.I work and one of my friend who is a local told me "you people stay in a group,isn't?..all guys and girls together".....I couldn't speak or reply back,I had no answer ,I felt bad as I realised thats what our IMAGE is. Lets learn to be strong and rebuilt our image so that we can be proud enough to give a tight slap in public if anybody teasing us 'chinky girls' and not allow people to victimise us when we get victimised.

illusionaire said...

@ Aqua:

but i don't think people go up to them telling them that they speak good english "inspite" of being a bengali.

Well Aqua, in this situation I think you may not know about the fact that Indians LOVE to make fun of each other’s accents. The worst victims to this atrocious form of racism are the South Indians. And those who make fun of such accents are people who speak decent English or those who believe they speak good English. But all that doesn’t give anybody the rights to make fun of other people. In this situation, North east people can heave a sigh of relief because most of us have a natural good English accent.

Speaking of the ongoing Aarushi Talwar murder case, I too feared for the worst when the cops unprofessionally declared Hemraj as the murderer immediately with no concrete evidence. If anybody from the mongoloid stock does something heinous, the entire community has to pay. To those seeking vengeance, it doesn’t matter if they are beating up a Nepali, a Mizo, a Tibetan etc. To them, we are all the same so we should all face the same consequence. Hope you read my first comment in this post. I thank the Almighty Lord no such incidents took place.

illusionaire said...

@ anonymous:

Phew! That was one hell of a comment, my friend :-)

I can sense a lot of anger in you. Take a deep breath. Hoooooo haaaaaa.... hoooooo haaaaaaaa :-) Now sit back, relax, and let’s talk about this anger of yours and try to see where it is coming from.

I completely agree with you about how some women ask for it if something happens to them because of their promiscuous lifestyle. At the same time, I also firmly believe that, that doesn’t mean we show them any less sympathy in case something happens to them. Eventually, in the end “a girl who drinks and parties every night and gets pregnant many times from different guys” as you have put it, and a girl who leads a virtuous life, are both the same. They are both humans.

I know you are angry because it is because of such girls that women like you are being stereotyped by mainstream Indians as loose and immoral. But maybe sometimes it may make more sense to direct your anger at the ones who are stereotyping you, and not the ones that are the reason for such stereotypes. Just a thought, my friend.

I know damn well that such women will not dress and behave in that same manner if their parents are with them. But you should also know that there are many “non-chinky” women who behave in that same manner too, except that they don’t get noticed that much because they can blend in with the crowd, whereas “chinkies” stand out because of their differences.

In the end, ask yourself this honestly. If someone suddenly comes up to you and calls you a thief, just because another girl from your place (who you’ve never met before) stole something, would you get angry at the person who called you a thief or at the girl (that you have no idea who she is). Answer me that, my friend, and we’ll continue with this interesting discussion. I really hope you check back on me with your reply.

jinghani said...

The discussion that this post ensued has been by far the most interesting and insightful. I for one, was left reflctiong on the thoughts and views expressed by many and cannot help myself but put my own bits and pieces on the issues.

Like everyone agreed, we have always been victims of circumstances for the way we look, speak or the regions we come from or the food we eat. The thoughts expressed by one "anonymous" hit me the most. Here I am...i can fee the same. Part of the blame should go to me. To you. To everyone of us. We tends to lose ourselves on the way; and in the process forgets that we, as generation X has a responsibility and obligation to our roots: to fight back for our own dignity; the right not to be victimised and a duty not to act in ways that might be detrimental to the these mentioned above.

Let us pause for once and examine the way things are back home. Be it in our own backyards in Mizoram or any ther northeastern states for that matter. How many of us will stand up for a "bai" who is abused and (better still, kicked out) of a town bus in Aizawl? How many of us considers it a moral obligation to stand up for a non-Mizo who is being chased and then thrashed by local mobs just because a non-Mizo from sichar did something stupid?? Just trying to draw a parallel here to the Delhi incident discussed earlier.

Not to forget about the relegious intolerance that infest our minds, a reality many of us will not have the guts to even accept. I dont say this with pride but I saw Muslim people, with their white prayer caps being mocked at in Aizawl streets; a completely shaven Buddhist monk once became the reason of a traffic jam at bara bazar because almost everyone started laughing at the monk in red robes; and I even remember seeing other minority tribes in the state being abused (racialy or in wahteve ways...)and looked down upon...

People, may be its high time that we reflect on the many things that this post has brought about; and see if we can be the change that we want around us.

God bless...

Anonymous said...

You said........."Eventually, in the end “a girl who drinks and parties every night and gets pregnant many times from different guys” as you have put it, and a girl who leads a virtuous life, are both the same. They are both humans.But maybe sometimes it may make more sense to direct your anger at the ones who are stereotyping you, and not the ones that are the reason for such stereotypes."
My answer is....I had said "My intention here is not to insult our own people but to make us aware of what people think of us and how they see us. Lets not be responsible for those innosent victims who gets the bad response because of the IMAGE created by some of us". They are both humans and they both have lost but the first girl I mentioned is RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 'RESPONSE' THAT THE SECOND GIRL WILL GET WHEN THEY ARE VICTIMISED. I don't say criminals are god and should be spared in any way but rather I say that in our country where most rapes happen the rapists and the ones who mollest and torture girls should be hanged straight away.I repeat "My intention here is not to insult our own people but to make us aware of what people think of us and how they see us".....its about nourishing our own image. Racism has always been a challenge within humans and not just WE are victims of it but I repeat........"Lets not be responsible for those innosent victims who gets the bad RESPONSE because of the IMAGE created by some of us".
You said....."But you should also know that there are many “non-chinky” women who behave in that same manner too, except that they don’t get noticed that much because they can blend in with the crowd, whereas “chinkies” stand out because of their differences.In the end, ask yourself this honestly. If someone suddenly comes up to you and calls you a thief, just because another girl from your place (who you’ve never met before) stole something, would you get angry at the person who called you a thief or at the girl ".
My answer is....
Its not about one person.........I think this situation fits better into the picture....If you are working in an office and if there are 6 northeast people and four of them stole someting or the other and was kicked out of the office.......The one who blames you because of what our people did should be kicked hard but we should also be realising that something is terribly wrong with us as well.

Bill Stones said...

Hey Illusionaire, very very insightful. It's nice to hear a Mizo brother bring up the issue of racism and hitting the nail straight on the head with such structure and articulation. Racism affects everyone to a certain degree but i've always felt that being a Mizo, the load becomes a bit heavier because we are after all a minority group anywhere, any place outside of Mizoram. Racism has so many different layers that it creates a very large web of complexity and once you are in such a cycle, it is hard to break free. I've never really thought about the issue of racism until i experienced it myself for the first time in Bangalore where I was beaten by cops just because I was waiting for a taxi a bit late at night on this street with 2 of my girl cousins. A police jeep pulled up in front of us, and 4 to 5 cops jumped out and called me over and just started whacking me with their police sticks or batons or whatever you call it. I remember the leader of the pack shouting at me in a really thick indian accent, "Troublemaker, why are you out on the street so late at night? And that too with girls". Seriously, i just could not understand it at first but then it started to dawn on me that they probably picked on us because of us being "chinkies" as we are all such "troublemakers" (sarcasm). Stupid shit like that is so obviously racially motivated because I doubt that they go around the streets of Bangalore beating everybody they find on the street.

So anyhow, based upon my own personal experiences, not just the Bangalore one, I think that when one is on the recieving end of the bitter blow of racism in any form whatsoever, we become more fully conscious of its vicious cycle and the role that we play in it. I'll admit that the experiences I've had in life with racism has transformed me into a "passive racist". Me being a "passive racist", I don't act upon my racist impulses so I feel that it is a harmless form of racism but still racism nonetheless. I still try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and still believe the individuality of each person. But there will always be that nagging thought in the back of my head of the conept of "we" and "they" all because i've been treated as a "they" one too many times.

Now living in Australia where it is considered to be one of "most racist" countries in the world, the level of racism has just gone up a whole nother level. It may be surprising for you to hear that it is not the Australians that are the most racists, it is in fact the Asians that have created and added much of the layers of racism in Australia. So how does it feel being a Mizo here? To most of the caucasians (note that i'm saying "most"), i'm immediately labeled a Chinese. In Australia, all Asians are Chinese (Sarcasm). And to the Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesians, Vietnamese, Thais, Filipinos I am still labeled as an outsider because as i've mentioned the Asians in Australia are the biggest racists. The Indians here don't recognize me as one of their own (surprise, surprise eh). The issue of race is something that im forced to think about on a constant basis, either subconsciously or consciously as a result of the environment that I live in. I would describe Australia as a melting pot of culture with too many ingredients that refuse to melt. SO yeah, I'll cut it short here as i've written too much but it was very interesting to see a Mizo brother tackling the issue of racism. Hey, Illusionaire, if you have the time, do a google search on "Jacob Holdt". He is the author of "American Pictures" and has spent his life learning, experiencing, understanding, teaching about racism. He has really good materials on it.

feddabonn said...

good write, kima. as someone who has seen racism from both sides, i know the anger you speak of. in the NE i was often attacked for not being chinky enough, and on the mainland for not being indian enough. one lives, one learns!

illusionaire said...

@ feddabonn: Your comment reminds me so much of two of my closest friends who are of mixed race, Mizo mother and non-Mizo dad. They get the worst treatment possible from both sides. And for a brief moment, I was extremely opposed against interracial marriage just because I pitied my friends so much. I didn’t want any repetition of their experience. But then, I realized I became exactly what I’m writing about here today: Blaming the victim. My anger should have been directed at those who abused my two friends instead. And I guess that’s why they say life is a constant journey of self-discovery.

About facing racism from both sides in your case, well I have never gone through that. I was racially abused by Mainstream Indians only, but back in School and College I used to be criticized by other students from the NE because all my closest friends were non-NE :-) Now things have changed as I have best friends from both sides of the community. It is important to cherish those friends instead of just having a grudge against the entire community.

@ Bill Stones: Totally unrelated to this post, may I ask if this is your first time visit to my blog? I distinctively remember a name like yours leaving a comment here before.

Coming to your prolific comment, I would request you to check some of my older post if you are really interested in reading issues on racism written by a Mizo brother :-) Most of them revolve around what you have just mentioned in your comment.

Chp 94. Chinky: What Me Insult?
Chp 165. Chinky: Confused Nationality
Chp 134. Ethnocide: The great Hibu Fiasco
Chp 163. Sex, drugs and North-east girls
Chp 142. Nepali: A racial slur in India?

I think you’ll read a lot of what you feel about this issue on those posts. The most important thing is never to forget that racism begets racism, and there is absolutely no point in having a racist attitude just because we are a victim of racism.

And I completely agree with your point about passive racism. I firmly believe that all of us are at least a little bit racist. It is only human nature to be such. Even many notable psychiatrists and researchers have proven that. What is important is how we handle that passive racism. Do we display it in our actions and judgments or do we lock it up inside our head and never show it aloud? That is where the all the difference lies.

illusionaire said...

@ Jinghani

Thank you so much for your comment. You have mentioned a very good point about racism and reverse racism.

As an Indian battling against racism, it is very important to know that the only way to successfully combat racism is to fight racism of every form. Hence, we must also vehemently oppose the racism that is emerging from OUR side too. For example, suppose Group A and B are continuously waging a race war with each other. To stop that, somebody from A must not only do something to stop B but also stop other people from A.

During the recent discussion about two Mizo girls who met with an accident in Gurgaon in a car with their two non-Mizo friends, I was actually expecting the usual rhetoric from some of the guys about interracial issues and I was gearing up myself to stand up for the girls who lost their lives. Surprising, it was only a handful of guys who objected to it, and more impressive than that was when many guys actually came in the girls’ defense. A couple of years ago, it would have never been like this.

Similarly when the MZP called for the usual “Vai” curfew a few months ago, the people of Aizawl actually spoke up for the vais and some even went on a rally defying the MZP. This shows that Mizos are growing up as a community and moving towards progression.

I still remember around 20 years ago when all “vais” were forcefully told to leave Mizoram, my dad sheltered more than 30 vais in our house (in hnuai) most of them were mistiris that we personally know very well. My dad’s theory was simple: By forcing these vais to leave, we are endangering the lives of many Mizos who are living in Silchar and Gauhati. I pledge to keep my father’s principle alive.

Here is what I have observed with my own eyes. There are indeed some Mizo guys who behave badly against innocent vais. And these same people complain and cry of racism when they are in the receiving end. Sometimes can anyone be blamed if people don’t stand up for such guys?

I agree those two incidents you have mentioned about the vai treatment and the monk treatment in Mizoram is utterly condemnable, but one thing I have noticed is that, people who resort to such abuses are usually the despicable lot. None of my friends from our gang in Mizoram would ever heckle a non-Mizo for no reason. Mizos who do that, are also fond of looking for trouble with other Mizos. You just stare at these people for a few moments and they will come up to you challenging you for a fight, regardless of whether you are a Mizo or a non-Mizo.

For most people from the Northeast who are anti-vai, it is so because we are a highly insecure lot. We feel threatened that our tribe would disappear from the face of this earth soon. That is why I totally understand why we are a highly anti-miscegenation lot. But that doesn’t mean we should behave badly against outsiders. Especially when we don’t want the same people to behave badly towards us.

illusionaire said...

@ anonymous:

Thank you for keeping this discussion alive. As usual, you have written a very thought propounding comment regarding the issue of stereotyping.

Sometimes it is easy to simply say that such women should behave just because they give a bad name to the rest of our community. Even I once belonged to that crowd who randomly criticize such women. The only thing we could do then was to write about such detestable behavior and tried to publicize our articles as much as we could on various internet platforms, regional newspapers, community magazines, community newsletter etc.

And here is the hard truth about such women. They are not the type who spends their time reading such articles on the net or newspapers. They don’t care about what people write about them or their own community. There was a brief moment many years ago when I knew such women. And once you know a couple of such women, you get to know the others because they all belong to the same network as they all share a common passion for partying.

Here is a brief generalization of such women. They come from a very simple background in Mizoram. They are not very bright. All they have is looks and a good ability to charm others. They are lazy (regarding their studies or work), loves partying, loves to get high or drunk, loves the fast lane. They know if they use their bodies well, they can get anything they want. They think of only the short-term, never the long term. Even they themselves know that guys want them only for satisfying their pleasures, and they don’t mind.

They dress up as scantily as they can at discotheques, hoping to attract more males that would buy them drinks or drive them home or buy them a new phone. All in all, they behave extremely shamelessly.

Hence because of them, the entire northeast community gets stereotyped. I agree with you on this.

Another harmful consequence is that, any one from the northeast who has a boyfriend/husband who is not from her place, is also immediately stereotyped as somebody just doing it for the money. That is another reason why the guys from our place are extremely protective of our women. For eg, if any Mizo girl has a non-Mizo boyfriend/husband, the rest of the people immediately call her a gold-digger, which is never the case in a genuine relationship.

But eventually in the end, what can be done about such types of girls? If we tell them to change their lifestyles and they don’t listen to us, tell me, what can we do? They may be responsible for giving our women a bad name, but we are not responsible for their lives. The DMZP used to send home such girls back to Mizoram a long time ago, but people heavily criticize them for doing that because it is undemocratic and also a violation of human rights. It is quite similar to honor-killings, except without the bloodshed.

Hence, our hands are tied. We cannot change the way these girls want to lead their lives. Therefore, the only remaining solution left is to target those who stereotype us. In fact nobody has the right to stereotype anybody. And that is the reason why I feel we should vent out our anger at anybody stereotyping us, and not to the people who are the reason why people stereotype us.

By the way, do you support the idea of sending such women back home even if it is against their wishes? Just curious to know your opinion on this, ma’am. And hoping to continue this discussion. As a woman, let me know how you feel about “getting rid” of such women who give a bad name to women like you? I am working on a post on this topic and I’d really love to know your input.

Blue Floppy Hat said...

Ok, I'm a bit late to this discussion too, but I must be honest- a victim is a victim, no matter what his/her lifestyle is, what clothes they wear, what hours they keep, who they sleep/don't sleep with. I agree that wild children might give a community a certain image, but does going out to parties serve as a signal that says 'it's ok to rape/harass me'? I think not.
And I really don't get why people are so uneducated about the North-East. But then, that's mainland India for you, and I can't say that I'm any better because there's so much that I don't know either.
As for the question of 'getting rid' of girls who you think are behaving objectionably (I don't mean you personally, of course), it gives me the creeps. It's one thing for parents to call their kids back home if they're supporting the children in question or there's something serious like a drug addiction, but the idea of external- even community- intervention isn't something I like. I mean, once you're an adult and self-supporting (by whatever means) you should be free to make your own decisions and mistakes. And why does this forced 'sending home' apply only to women? It isn't as if guys can't give a community a bad name, right?

illusionaire said...

@ Blue Floppy: Thank you for your comment and there is no such thing is being late for a discussion. The fact that you arrived here is in itself a great privilege.

I guess what anonymous above was describing about is not just merely about partying and then justifying a rape later. It’s about the image people who go that extra mile at parties portray. I have just finished a phone interview with an ex-office bearer of the DMWA who is responsible for such actions like sending women home if they misbehave, and I promise you the conversation details are extremely interesting. I do hope you visit again to read it (although just to let you know that I will be posting a different post next as that has already been written).

Most of the cases are about parents asking their daughters to return after a bad reputation, and the daughters refusing to go home. That is when the community steps in. You’ll read all about it later when I publish that interview excerpt. It will give you a good insight to what goes on from a different perspective. Even I never realized all that until the interview today.

Arunima said...

good post. Read the comments too and don't have much to add.

illusionaire said...

The fact that you visited and read the post is in itself a great honor, arunima. Thanx for the visit.

Blue Floppy Hat said...

Thanks for your response, illusionaire! I'll be very interested in that interview when it does show up.

Cyn said...

I just stumbled upon your blog through a friend of mine linking to you on her post about Racism in India.

I'm a foreigner living in India, married to an Indian, and being a westerner, a vast group in the population think you are a walking money bag, I don't get any verbal abuse, but I do get abused about my wallet size (supposably stuffed with crores of $$$).
As a woman I get eve teased, and yup it as if I was asking for it being a westerner and dressing in jeans and t-shirt. God forbid we put the blame on the asshole who made a rude comment (or as in one case 15 guys in a tempo throwing stones at any ladies passing nearby including myself). India seem to just want to ignore the obvious fact : the percentage of racist and ill mannered people is huge and education should be needed. Nope far easier to blame the minority and tell them to stay out of the way. if biggots aren't punished, how will they ever stop doing what they do?
What I would find "laughable" on a good day is when people in shops and such ask me "Where are you from?" expecting me to spill an exotic location outside India, and then accuse me of practically lying if I say "I'm from Bangalore". How can I not be from there? I've been living there for 4 years, I work there, pay my taxes there, got married there, who are they to decide where I should be from in the first place? ironically in a couple of years I will be able to apply for Indian citizenship, but then will India be ready for a fair skinned blue eye woman to actually bear an Indian passport and not accuse me of lying if I say "I'm Indian"?

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