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thoughtsnips
Friday, May 23, 2003
 
Kartic,
You had asked for an opposing POV, I provided it. But you still seem to be miffed. Please calm down and let me end this rationally.

1) Why its not wrong when Indians call them "black": Because that's what they call themselves, and that's what newly-arrived Indians see people calling them. OTOH, Indians don't define themselves in racial terms, but cultural terms. Having been around US and Canadian ABCDs a bit I find that some of them do refer to the indian, paki and arab community as "brown" quite often. Now that's alright, but personally I'm not too fond of that epithet, because it doesn't say anything about me, and its not how I choose to define myself.

But Af-Ams don't identify with African culture anymore. Like you, I also find this use of colour terms shallow. But within Am society I suppose that's how Af-Ams distinguish themselves. Due to the prevalence of ridiculous stereotypes in Am society, they are embarassed by African roots (just as some ABCDs are embarassed because of the way India and Hindus are portrayed in the Am media and education). Incidentally, the feeling is mutual -- the few African students I know here have equal contempt for Af-Ams. Anyhow, we use the term "blacks" for them since it is common and convenient, and that's what they use for themselves. If they tell me that they do not want me to use it, of course I won't.

2) I was *not* defending "Indian's cause to shun Af-Am society". I was only doing 2 things:

a) Providing legitimate reasons why some Indians do shun Af-Am society in general (but open up when they get to know a decent Af-Am individual personally).

b) Refuting your misplaced references to partly real and partly imaginary Indian mental complexes and history.

Now there are bigots in all communities, including ours. Let's not generalize. In fact, you will find Indians carrying as many prejudices about whites, chinese or any other foreigners as about Af-Ams (and vice versa).

The issue you brought up is a good one and worth thinking about. It only reflects the fact that we Indians do tend to be more thoughtful and sensitive about these things in general. However, remember that prejudice in general is not necessarily bad.
Cheers

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