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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chp 279. Racism and online discussion forums.

The internet has brought people closer, they say. I’ll drink to that. But the internet is also responsible for pushing people further and further away from each other too. Bitter pill indeed.

Long time ago before Netscape and Napster, we had opinions. Opinions on various issues ranging from politics to society. Opinions that we shared with our close friends. Hence, people around us (more or less) used to agree with our opinions. Our world was small then. Very small. And then the boom happened and suddenly everybody thought it was pretty damn cool to design a homepage at geocities or freeservers with marquee text effect.

Soon, social media kicked in and mankind for the first time interacted with a different kind of community – the onliners. Various issues were discussed at various chat servers. Suddenly people realized – hey, not everybody share my views or opinion on this or that. OMG!!!

The goody ones came across the trolls. They learnt that the world was not all sugar and spice and all things nice. The trolls came across the troll-hunters. They learnt that there were others more “intelligent” than them. The nerds pwned everybody with Slashdot while the noobs continued to be the butt of all jokes.

In the midst of all this, we started having discussion forums. Here in India, things kicked off pretty well. Discussion forums were created (oh those ugly threaded design days). Blogs gained momentum and it became a rave. Followed by the blog conglomerate sites. Desipundit, mutiny, blogbharti, etc etc became the hub of all opinionated netizens. Soon news portals started implementing a “comment system” on their articles. Web 2.0. Orkut still dominates Facebook in India purely due to its first mover advantage. And then there’s twitter and the hazaar other new applications.

And so we are now faced with one very uncomfortable question: The world may have become a global village, but what is the point when all the huts within that village are on the warpath with each other?

You see, as much as the internet brings people closer, it also pulls them apart too.

Talk about groupism and India has it all. From caste to race to ethnicity to religion to region to politics to language, any article on this topic is bound to raise one helluva storm.

People often say racism begets racism. The problem is, we cannot see this with a myopic view. We always come to a point where our act of racism is “actually not racism” whereas other people’s act upon us is indeed racism. Playing the role of the victim has always been more convenient than the victimizer. And we vehemently defend our action, which is nothing more than our intellectuality slowly sinking in quicksand, or should I say, cesspool.

Racism is ugly. Yes. But one thing we should never forget is that racism indeed begets racism. After all these years of exposure to various discussion topics and taking part in many of them, one thing is for sure – any racial abuse is resolved with another racial abuse.

I mean, seriously, isn’t that pathetic?

Take for example, the recent Rina Dutta episode. If you are not from the North East, you probably wouldn’t have heard of her. But every net savvy person from North East India knows about this. Her article first appeared at Assam Times. It was taken down within a couple of hours, but not without getting more than 500 responses from people all over the North East. That continued at other mirror sites, facebook pages etc etc.

Likewise, there are hundreds of other such abuses out there. The target can be anybody from the Northest north to the Southest south of India. If a person says something we absolutely abhor, instead of criticizing him or his reasoning, we usually end up saying something nasty about the other person’s community. Pray, do tell me then, when will this vicious cycle end?

Along with a couple of friends, we run a very popular Mizo discussion forum: And yes, sometimes it is A VERY BIG pain editing or removing all the hate comments. admins too have faced this same situation, so do all the other renowned discussion forums. My blog too is no stranger to racial slurs either. Most (if not all) renowned News websites have activated comment moderation already to prevent this.

I still remember reading a hilarious post about hate comments, I think it was (do correct me if I’m wrong), with a fake report on one News site infamous for harboring extremely detestable and insensitive comments targeted at various communities, suddenly amazed that one fine day, there was not even one single hate comment. And so they celebrated and partied.

When it comes to racism or any of the other form of –isms, replying in the same manner only fuels the episode. It won’t stop there, and will only entice others to take part in the discussion in full swing.

Suppose A+B+C+D are members of X and E+F+G+H are members of Y, here’s a small slideshow I made…

You can also download/view the animated gif version by clicking here.

If you flame a community, then not only be prepared to be flamed back by that community, but also expect that community to flame back at your community. Even among individuals, expressing your opinion is bound to create a ripple somewhere. Anonymous cowards everywhere ready to rip you apart and feel good about themselves (to make up for the obvious lack of you know what). You try to make others see things with reason and you’re attacked. The seculars are branded the SICKulars (seriously, I didn’t coin that term. It’s everywhere on the net).

As an admin, I subscribe to Google alerts for key words like “Mizo” and “Mizoram”. Half the results I get disgusts me. But I guess we just move on. If you have a bone to pick with anyone, make sure you address that person and his opinion only. Leave his community or “people” out, else you’re just becoming as bad as he is.

I’ve created three simple smileys, and from today onwards I am going to paste this at various forums where I participate or visit when I see anybody replying with a racial slur because of another racial slur. Feel free to use these images and spread the love.






Peer Gynt said...

missed the dot com boom. read: got net-savvy Really late hihi..and which explains why 'm Still tryin to mek sense of yo 2nd para!

the slides sho mek terrific sense though. mebbe blogging about racial utopia makes it a little closer :)

Clio said...

Ziak thra thei khop mai:)

Vikram said...

Good one Kima ! Sending out this message is crucial, especially since the next generation of kids (who have access to internet) will grow up exposed to the retarded discussions that populate the Indian blogosphere if we dont act.

irene said...

Rina Dutt article ziah kha ka chhiar hetiang article te newspaper a han chhuah mai chuh..thin a khawih zawk mai male.

A nih tur a ni zo tawh bawk a positive lamin thlir thiam ngai khawp..hnam dangin min lo thlir dan chu ka chhiang leh zual hre tho mah ila ziak meuhin a han au chhuah pui bawk a. Rilru chu khawih tak ani. An ni pawh negative lam hlir hmuh tum ila chu sawi tur ka hre teuh tho alawm nasa deuh2 pawh..dress code etc..

But Well Written.

Mizohican said...

@ Peer: :) yeah, I think you can now imagine how we felt when we made our first email account! :)

@ Clio: Thank you :)

@ Vikram: Exactly. And we really don't want this next gen to grow up with such bias-ness or hatred, do we. This is quite a serious issue...

@ Irene: yes, thats what I mean. We should criticize her for having such a sick mentality and pathetic outlook, but let us leave her community out of our arguments. That will not get us anywhere.

Evangeline said...

Great Post, very illuminating...

Just Read the article too, Na zawk thei.... But like you said, hate the ignorant person and not the race, though sometimes its hard not to do a 'tit for tat' and resent all 'Vais' :P

dr_feelgood said...

Recently watched the movie'Hotel Rwanda'. Ethnic cleansing at its worst. Then I realised why every one goes overboard about the Tuikuk issue here in Mizoram. Hope the ACHR visit will bring about more truth and people will form a more saner opinion about it all.
Extremely good post( As expected).

Mizohican said...

@ Evangeline: I completely understand. Its like returning something with equal measures. But again, I guess that won't take us anywhere.

@ dr_feelgood: Thanx! And about the ACHR, I am sure they will be fair in their findings. I know one of the people involved with it (I think).

Eveline said...

I think the universe measures our contribution by our actual contribution. Good post Kima!

chawnghilh said...

Neglected sparks can burn —your lines gather them well. Rina Dutt and her readers share new lessons alike.

Alejendro said...

Mister Sandman, bring me a dream
Make her the cutest that I've ever seen
Give her two lips like roses and clover
Then tell her that her lonesome nights are over

Sandman, I'm so alone
Don't have nobody to call my own
Please, turn on your magic beam
Mister Sandman, bring me a dream

Mister Sandman, bring me a dream
Make her the cutest that I've ever seen
Give her the word that I'm not a rover
Then tell her that her lonesome nights are over

Sandman, I'm so alone
Don't have nobody to call my own
Please, turn on your magic beam
Mister Sandman, bring me a dream

Mister Sandman
Mister Sandman

Mister Sandman, bring me a dream
Give her a pair of eyes with a come hither gleam
Give her a lonely heart like pagliacci
And lots of wavy hair like liberace

Mister Sandman, someone to hold
Would be so peachy before I’m too old
Please, turn on your magic beam
Mister Sandman, bring me a dream
Mister Sandman

ManuniChantre said...

Hi Kima, I enjoyed reading your Chp 279 entry. It sure has a National Integration material. The slideshow makes so much sense.

I guess we should write more on this imperative topic without any bias.

Mizohican said...

@ Eve: Thanx Eve. And I like your comment a lot. Makes a lot of sense.

@ chawnghilh: True indeed.

@ Alej: Ah. Mr. Alejandro.

@ Manuni: Thanx for your comment. I think we should too.

VaiVa said...

Great post! After a long wait though...

You reminded me one of those tit for tat comment I had made in one of your post! You are absolutely right- racism begets racism. But, to err is human :P

Paritosh Chakma said...

Hi kima, what a brilliant piece once again from you. Can't agree more when you say "fighting racism with racism is racism". Exactly..
I have one request to make with regard to the colour of your blog. Now, its totally black. It is too catching to the eye. Can you kindly more it more readable?

Blind Dayze said...

Congrats on the Tehelka feature... Well deserved!!!...

it's posts like this that make worthy of reading... and of course the occassional football/Arse posts..not so serious ones... :D ...

Unknown said...

Well written Sandman :) liked it

Mizohican said...

@ VaiVa: lolz. Well, now you know where my arguments came from :)

@ Paritosh: Thanx bro. Well, about the layout, I do know that it is difficult for some people to read in this format (after all, I do work in the leading digital agency where GUI and UI governs our life), but there are so many things to change if I change the layout now... Really sorry about this. But thanx a lot for the compliment.

@ Blind: You know what? One of the inspirations I got for this post was from you only :) Sometimes we take a dig at each other regarding Arsenal and ManUtd, and we usually generalize when doing it. Its human nature and thats what made me realize how we all act in a moment of passion and frenzy.

@ cool: Oh thank you, boss. :)

Ashish Singh said...

Kima dude... you ROCK...
I loved the slide.

Peer Gynt said...

Read the piece (by Goldilocks) announcing yo Tehelka boom and Congratulations!!

its an Osum achievement and be reminded of ze fact that you've become a harbinger of blogfidence(?) for the many generations of future mizos to come! :)

dr_feelgood said...

Congrats on your tehelka achievement. Keep up the good work.

Unknown said...

Tehelka Magazine-in i blog an thlang ka lawmpuina che hetah hian ka rawn ziak mai. I contribution hi a thain a puitling hlawm reng a ni.

Mizohican said...

@ Ashish: Thanx dude! :) Glad you like the slide :)

@ Peer: :D It was indeed an honor to be featured in Tehelka's "Game changers 2000 - 2009".

@ dr_feelgood: Thank you boss :)

@ Fela: Thanx a lot, Fela. i ti lawmawm khawp mai. Kan tih ve theih a ni e, hna inkarah hian.

Anonymous said...

didnt read ya post :D but wanted to say congrats... me n tribal saw ya on the newspaper today recievin some awards for being a net nerd :P hehe congrats again :D D/M

wonderboy said...

Vanglaini ah pawh an chhuah a :D


David Ralte said...

Nia, Vanglaini ami kha ka lo chhiar a, kan lawmpui tak zet zet che. Misualah post awm :)

Unknown said...

Racism, kan racist vek in ka hria :tewisted:

Sekibuhchhuak said...

Big Boss, i post hi ka chhiar hman lo tlat mai! Mahse, nimin piah lam khan; VANGLAINI chanchin-phek-ah; i blog a vanga i chanchhin ropui tak ka lo hria a, ka lawm pui em che ani, ka rawn ti zuai ani e! MAsi hman nuam le!

alexxfender said...


Mizohican said...

@ Tribal & Marina: Oh thank you so much you guys. Nice to know you could still recognize my ugly ol face after all these years :D

@ Wonderboy: Thank you :D Nia, an lo chhuah a, an ti lawmawm khawp mai.

@ David Ralte: hehehe... thanx. misualah chuan hman ni khan an chhuah tawh a, kha kha chu a tawk viau :)

@ Chhangte_II: Racist vek e. But the difference lies in whether we let our actions reflect on our thoughts or not :)

@ Seki: Big Boss, i va ti lawmawm ve min rawn congrats tur ringawt a i rawn online zuai chu. i lo phu zawk lo maw, nang ai a hmeltha chanchinbu a i hmu thut chu? :D Tun Xmas hi i lonely Xmas hmel bawk sia... hahahaha....

@ Alex: Hehh??? :)

Chicco said...

'Anonymous cowards' You wrote in the third last paragraph. If i have anything against the internet, it's them, the cowards! Am I a racist? hehe!
Congrats Kima on the Tehelka thingy.
Merry Christmas all.

feddabonn said...

saw the tehelka feature- good stuff!

Malsawmi Jacob said...

Good response! It's not only about race---There's a group in Mumbai named Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA). They got a lot of hate mails and abuses because they supported the bill against domestic violence.

Arunima said...

the slides were amazing and it said all. :-)

RTPA said...

Ziak tha thei ve Bro chu.. Thu leh hla ziak2 hian kan tar mai dawn mi kha :)

Mizohican said...

@ Chicco: Thanx, and same to you too :)

@ Feddabon: Thanx bro. Yeah it felt pretty good. hehehe :D

@ Mesjay: Sometimes it is hard standing up for what you believe in. But in the end, thats what real men are made up of.

@ Arunima: Thank you Arunima. Glad I could deliver what I was trying to using those slides.

@ RTPA: lolz... Nih pawh a ni mah na. hahaha :D

Unknown said...

I live in the US. In the SOUTH...I am heartbroken over this exact issue and feel that I am only ONE VOICE in my small corner of the world. I may be only ONE, but I am STRONG and will always stand for justice when it comes to Race, Creed, Equality, Ethnicity, and most of all just plain humanity. Thank you for this very eye-opening and well written article...I am so glad I ran across it looking for images for my blog. ALL FOR L.O.V.E. Pam

Geneza Pharmaceuticals said...

The Internet has passed through rather long and interesting evolution together with its communities

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