Okay, I am now opening a Pandora’s Box, but I hope that it generates some introspection on both sides of the fence.

I just read this piece called My Racist Encounter At The White House Correspondents’ Dinner in The Blog.

I also went through the entire section covering 2419 comments which took me a while to understand various approaches to the reality of racism.

I wrote a comment ” Balderdash Lady, stop whining and exercise an option that you have. You don’t have to live there. Go live where you are treated with the dignity that you think you deserve. No one is forcing you to live there. It is their land, their home and their own value system that is on display. You don’t have to accept that.” On reflection I decided that it is best left unpublished and deleted it without publishing it.

Having been at the receiving end of racism in the West, Australia and also strangely enough, from a couple of white persons in India, I can relate to Ms. Jeelani’s angst, but and that is a big but, as I wanted to convey to her, she has a choice of living in a place where she will not be exposed to that. Her own land of origin from where her parents had emigrated, presumably one of my subcontinental countries.

What she would find in that sub continent will not be any different. Though it may not directly be racial, she can most certainly experience other forms of prejudice from poorly educated people doing unskilled jobs like Security detail. A classic example could be linguistic. In my home state for instance, if you do not understand and speak Marathi, you will receive a similar treatment from the cops and watchmen and other low level employees who savour such moments to exercise power over someone, in their eyes, superior, but different and fair game. If she is from Pakistan, which is most likely, and if she is a Shia or a Christian, she can expect worse. If she is from Bangladesh, if she is from one of the two main stream political parties, the other party will most certainly give her worse treatment than she received in Washington.

Grow up lady. This is the world. This is humanity. Ask yourself how you treated your fellow country of origin people when you last visited them. Would you like me to tell you how without ever having met you?

21 thoughts on “Racism.”

  1. Racial / Regional prejudice exists everywhere . I mean if you don’t have a ticket at a “do” like that one what do you expect ? If a ( different looking/sounding) migrant wishes for a “better life” there is a price to pay and it would be very naive to believe that ir is not the case – sooner or later they will be up against it . Racial profiling in the US and elsewhere is a fact of life whether one likes it or not – 9/11 has only made it worse , much worse ! Conversely a “white face” can be viewed with suspicion in countries like China , Korea or many middle eastern countries – they stand out ( a “chinky” looking American citizen would probably get away with it ! There are more blacks languishing in jails in the US than whites , despite a back in the White House ! In India there is a higher admission fee for “foreigners” to places like museums , safari parks etc , but a Person Of Indian origin who is say a British or American passport holder,can get away by paying the lower “local” rate , like I get “senior citizen” discounts in museums in the UK without providing any proof ! Like most of Life , Swings and roundabouts I think !
    Nandu Pillay recently posted..LBC Topic – Letting Go

  2. Pandora’s box indeed, Ramana. You know what stinks to high heaven in my opinion? Her repeatedly pointing out her own standing as in “… a physician who trained at a prestigious institution.” What’s that got to do with the price of butter and racism? Had she been a public toilet cleaner the treatment of her maybe justified? Give me a break, Lady.
    Thing is, she is clearly angry, and possibly justifiably so. However, a spot of judiciously applied charm does, in my experience, work wonders. Directing anger and aggression at those at the longer lever never ever works.

    There are a l lot of angles to her post, too many to be explored in detail here. I think you were right to delete your own comment. Sometimes we need to know when something we can contribute will make zero difference.

    One thing I can vouch for – and I believe to be the main point of your post: All of us, whether we are white and sun burnt, black and cool, dumb and doughnut, blond or red haired, will be subject to prejudice at some point. Main thing is to rise above it.

    Ursula recently posted..Once upon a time

  3. It’s not just ‘their land.” It’s her land, too. She was born in New Orleans. Her country of origin is the United States. The “value system” those security people displayed is despicable. If either of my daughters had been treated like that, I would be outraged. Just because it is like that elsewhere in the world doesn’t make it right.
    Mike recently posted..Sipapu

  4. The article gets a 5 smirk rating from me. The US White House and their guests represent the greatest achievement in sanctimonious anti-racist rhetoric ever achieved by the human race. She isn’t interacting with “White America” at the White House Correspondents Dinner. She is interacting with rich, upper-crust, highly educated, super connected Leftist America.

    But I would also like to know what else happened that didn’t make it into Seema’s story. She looks white enough to pass for a white, and her picture does not remind me of Yasser Arafat, so I am skeptical that this is a racist incident.
    Looney recently posted..Critical Scholarship as applied to Jack and Jill

    1. Looney, I am always so stupidly grateful when someone introduces a hitherto, to me, unknown concept/quantity. From now on ‘smirk rating’ will be my daily joy.

      Ursula recently posted..Once upon a time

    1. I am one hundred percent with you on this, that it is her land and that the morons are her people. Does her lament give consideration for this sentiment anywhere? I do not see it. She treats them as if they are different.

      Reading the comments was mind blowing for me. I would like some other questions answered too. Were Black and
      Hispanic women allowed without showing their tickets? What was she wearing? Had she dressed like all the other women who had come to the White House?

      Mike, I submit that this lament is not addressed to people like you and me. Her target audience is different and it does not take a genius to figure that one out.

      If her origins are in Afghanistan, she should know what happens there between the Pakhtuns, the Hazaras, Tajiks, Uzbeks and so on; and also my question to her as to how she treats other Afghans when she goes home stands doubly validated.

    2. Let me quote Edouard Machery
      “Racism is a case in point. As I have argued, following in part Gil-White’s groundbreaking work, we have evolved a sensitivity to “ethnic markers” (roughly, to markers such as clothes, accent, etc., that indicate what cultural group one belongs to) and a motivation to interact preferentially with members of own our cultural group. Racism is a by-product of this evolved sensitivity and motivation, and it emerges when skin color and other physical properties trigger our sensitivity to ethnic markers.

      This hypothesis is useful to understand the unity of a large range of social and psychological phenomena, whose fundamental identity has often been ignored, or even denied, by historians and cultural anthropologists. On the other hand, research in history and cultural anthropology is needed to understand the peculiarities of racism in different historical contexts.

      This hypothesis and this integrative approach have been overall well received, and some anthropologists such as Ray Scupin have been looking for evidence of the universality of our sensitivity to cultural markers. “

  5. had i been she i think i would have said in a serenely polite and professional tone . . . “yes. by all means. please do call the secret service. perhaps they can understand that all i need are my car and house keys from my husband who is attending this event. i don’t really care who gets them for me! i simply need them to get home!”
    as to the bigotry.
    it is unfair of the reporter to say they didn’t know whether there’s bigotry in the whitehouse or not based on this incident.
    i agree with ursula. just as at airports. very often ‘security’ are extremely underpaid positions manned or womaned by people with very little education and a sense of ‘power and authority.’ and they use it in a ridiculous way. the little child in a wheelchair that they aggressively ‘patted down’ . . . a little 3 (THREE!!!) year old with spina bifida cried terrified throughout. and she was white.
    i’m thinking it’s not so racial as it is there are a lot of STUPID insensitive uneducated uncultured people in this world. she ran into some.
    and… on the other side of the coin… there are some people not born here but who live with an actual chip on their shoulder just waiting and wanting someone to ‘knock it off’ so they can claim bigotry.
    to those types … i have no problem saying… then go back to your own home.
    tammyj recently posted..dear rena carmelseed

    1. Exactly what I would have done too Tammy. There is more than meets the eye in this episode. As I have mentioned elsewhere, there must be another side to the story. I hope that comes out soon.

  6. Sounds more like cliquishness to me. She was angry she was in the out group — she didn’t mind going to at least part of an exclusive function. She just wished she had been included in the main event. And yes, the guys manning the access were jerks.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Path of Least Resistance

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