Racism is like UFO sightings. It might happen anywhere else in the whole world but it just doesn’t happen in India. Accusing an Indian of being racist is as ludicrous as accusing George Bush of being eloquent or Britney Spears of covering her pole-vault. Perhaps it’s a genetic trait, but we Indians just aren’t inclined to be racist. We do not discriminate any human being on the basis of his/her skin color. In fact, there’s a large part of the Indian Advertising Industry which has dedicated itself to making sure that all dark-skinned people overcome their obscure condition and become healthy, normal fair-skinned members of the society. And it’s an incontrovertible fact that we embrace people of all skin colors. In fact, some of our most revered Gods, if we are to go by the evidence seen in various illustrations, were blue in color. Now, you show me any other nation who would embrace blue individuals and venerate them like we do.
                Not only are we accepting of all races, including horse races, but we are also a nation who strongly supports the new wave of political correctness that is imperative in today’s troubled and hostile world. In fact, a recent episode that I had in a café enlightened me of my own latent prejudices and completely changed the way I think and speak. It all began with the well-mannered, unassuming waiter who came to get my order.
“Hello, sir, are you ready to order?”
“Yes, I’d like a black coffee please.”
“Sir, we do not tolerate that kind of language in our café.”
“Huh?”
“Kindly refer to it as ‘African-American coffee’, sir. We have a very strict policy against racism in our cafe.”
“Umm…ok. I apologize. I’ll have one ‘African-American coffee’ and a plate of chicken breasts.”
“Sir, I repeat that we do not practice any form of discrimination in our café and I’m going to have to ask you to follow our norms. Your language is quite unacceptable.”
“I can’t say chicken breasts?”
“I’m afraid not. The first half of the compound word you used suggests a baseless allegation of cowardice and the latter half is blatantly sexist. The appropriate term is the ‘thorax of the fowl that has a pox named after it‘.”
“Ok, alright, my mistake again. So, I’ll have one African-American coffee and a plate of the ‘thorax of the fowl that has a pox named after it’. If you can please make it fast, it would be helpful. I have an insane work schedule that I have to get back to.”
“Do you think it’s funny, sir?”
“Huh?”
“Do you think you can pick on anyone merely because they act differently? The word you used to describe your work schedule is highly derogatory and demeaning. If you have to, resort to the socially accepted substitute of that word- ‘differently sane’.”
“Look, it’s just words. You’re making it sound as if I’m some kind of a criminal.”
“Sir, you are absolutely crossing the line with your disrespect for our rules and humanity in general. You cannot, under any circumstances, use the C-word in a civilized society like ours.”
“The C-word? You mean criminal?”
“Sir, please, mind your language. You have no right to outcast the ‘alternately employed members of the society’.”
“Look, stop making a scene here. There are people at other tables who are looking at me and giving me these weird sniggers.”
“What did you just call me?”
“What?”
“Did you just-?”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, are you deaf?”
“How dare you, sir? I do not possess a ‘permanently switched off biological audibility device’, if that’s what you meant.”
“Look, I’ve had enough of this ‘metabolic waste produced by a male member of the bovine community‘ from you. Forget the food, I’m out of here. If you have a problem with what I said, you can go to ‘the monosyllabic place with an extremely tropical climate and trying living conditions run by a very demanding dictator’
“Well, at least you had the courtesy to portray your disagreement in such polite words. I respect that.”

                                                             *** *** ***

Advertisements