While I’m much more worried by an apparently fascist government in Ukraine that is supported by the US/EU, Russia clearly has an extremely bad problem with racism. Anyone who is not very pale is described as ‘black’ but the ‘blacker’ you are the harder it is. There are a number of videos on YouTube describing the hardships black people face but I found this one particularly interesting for its more intimate and strangely poignant glimpse at the life of an African family living in a Russian village.
Ray Jasper was executed on March 19th. His letter is a last testimony and what he has to say is remarkable. He is not talking about his own situation but about the position of black people and a system that persistently disadvantages them and in prisons equates or near equates to slavery. Here’s a quick quote:
A French woman who moved to America asked me one day, ‘Why don’t black kids want to learn?’ Her husband was a high school teacher. She said the white and asian kids excel in school, but the black and hispanic kids don’t. I said that all kids want to learn, it’s just a matter of what you’re trying to teach them. Cutting a frog open is not helping a black kid in the ghetto who has to listen to police sirens all night and worry about getting shot. Those kids need life lessons. They need direction. When you have black kids learning more about the Boston Tea Party than the Black Panther Party, I guarantee you won’t keep their attention. But it was the Black Panther Party that got them free lunch.
Yes, a beautifully made commercial, albeit for a toxic beverage, that presents America as land of harmonious, relaxed multiculturalism. However the storm of protest at the song ‘America the Beautiful’ being sung in different languages undermines this message.
Some of the information in this short video is inaccurate, notably the reference to ‘Dravidians’ but the assertions about Gandhi’s racism are correct.
Throughout his life, Gandhi preached racism and prejudice against every minority group he encountered – African blacks, Indian blacks (commonly called Dalits), Sikhs, and Muslims. He severely damaged Indian minority campaigns for equality, and arguably even contributed to the rise of apartheid in South Africa. He never admitted to his racism or apologized for it. In fact, India’s black community condemns Gandhi. Mayawati, a Dalit leader, blames Gandhi for India’s caste problems, saying, “He divided Indian society into two categories – the weaker sections and upper castes.” Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, a contemporary of Gandhi, was even more blunt, saying: “If a man with God’s name on his tongue and sword under his armpit deserved the appellation of a Mahatma, then Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a Mahatma.”