Opinions

People love to bask in negativity.

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Once again, as I read through the comments on articles reporting the recent racism towards Africans in Greater Noida, I am overcome by the intense impulse to punch someone.

“That they are not in Africa” – do they not realise that Africa is a continent with 54 countries? Or do they hold the belief that all Indians act just like Chinese pople and Chinese people act like Indonesians? Since when did continents of billions of people all have a rigid set of identity and personality?

For someone who has forsaken the path of religion, I was taken aback by the amount of faith most Africans I’ve met have. Their dedication and love for their god was astounding. Not to say that being religious means one is good, but this means that some of them don’t indulge in drugs or any form of substance, drink to a minimum, and are well-behaved.

I can’t lie though – I have met the Africans who smoke, drink, and do drugs on a daily basis, but what about the Africans who don’t? Why must we have this negativity bias when it comes to Africans?

My friends are well-mannered – they don’t drink (except for some in social situations), they hold the doors open, they are polite, they are generous. Oh, if I were to speak of the generosity of some Africans I’ve met, I’d never stop gushing. Some of them are selfless and giving. Yet no, people are automatically inclined to label approximately 1.2 billion people based on the 20, what, 30 people they’ve met?

The ugly side of Incredible India

We all must agree that India to a large extent has a preference for lighter skin. Products claiming to lighten skin splash the billboards and play on TVs. Potential brides and grooms are advertised majorly as ‘fair’ and children are told not to play out in the sun too long in fear of getting dark. Some of my own Indian friends are terrified of the sun and its ‘tanning’ effect. Now I go could on about this but it’d be a whole other issue I rather speak about next time.

The reason I brought this up is because I think that this preference towards a certain skin colour is the cause of the unfounded negative attitudes that some (if not most) Indians have towards Africans.

On 27 March 2017, four innocent African bystanders were assaulted in daylight by a mob of “peaceful” protesters in Greater Noida. This mob was protesting against Africans.

What happened?

An Indian 12-grader had gone missing in the area, and the fingers were pointed at the Nigerians in the neighbourhood. People BARGED into their house without so much of a care for their privacy to search for the boy. Upon finding nothing, these ignorant people accused the African men of cannibalism. Yes, people, in THIS day and age!

The boy was found seemingly overdosed on drugs and he later passed away in the hospital. The parents still filed an FIR against these men, because the boy claimed to have been kidnapped by a “dark-skinned man”, and also because Indians cannot be dark-skinned, only Africans can be. They believed that these men were responsible behind the boy’s drug overdose. Claims were apparently made that the boy used to spend time with these men as well.

However, the accused had to be released because there were no evidence that it was any of their doing. There was NO link between the victim and these Nigerian men, except maybe that both of them lived in a racist neighbourhood.

People took to the streets demanding justice (wish justice could really dealt) and turned violent upon seeing four African men who were innocentThe Africans in India are also protesting against racism by the Indians towards them.

That’s what happened.

So now:

Let us say that these men were the true perpetrators behind this alleged murder. Why is it that this incident took a racist undertone and generalise the behaviour towards the WHOLE continent of Africa? Why is it that a bunch of Nigerian men, based on this assumption, were held representative of a continent with 53 other countries? Why is it that all Africans must be responsible for the act of some men? This is my issue with many things in this world. Why must I, an individual who is fit to make my own decisions, account for my countrymen, my race and my gender?

But more likely than that, these men were the true victims of a racial attack, and this incident (one of the many) has just been an open window to the mindsets of some (again, if not most) Indians.  This is, unfortunately, not the first act of prejudice and discrimination towards Africans in the country. Many African people have been assaulted in India – last year, there was the infamous case of the Tanzanian woman who was assaulted and STRIPPED (because they have to sexually oppress women, yes). She was forced to take the fall when a Sudanese man earlier that day had been involved in a fatal road accident. Then in 2014, three African men were mobbed in a metro station for allegedly harassing local women, the same year in which Delhi’s former law minister allegedly led a mob to illegally detain a group of African women who were accused of prostitution.

Why must we be so stuck upon the colours of our skins? Why must the colour of our skin dictate our behaviour and who we are as a person? When did a certain ethnic group become lesser because they were darker? When did a whole continent become lesser just because of their skin? My fair skin does not make me less capable of a crime next to a dark skin.

Curiosity is one thing, when you see a foreigner so unlike you (although the issue of boundaries must also be discussed). But it is another thing to assume his or her whole personality and make him or her a representative of a whole country/continent.

 

Yes, yes, fair skin is beautiful. But dark skin is no lesser. Beauty comes from within; beauty is who you are. A group must not be based on one’s actions.

 

Sources: Google, Hindustan Times, Times of India, and others

Rape disgusts me.

I’m currently writing an assignment on whether juveniles should be tried as adults and I’m referring to India’s Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015, which came into force after the infamous abominable 2012 New Delhi gang rape in India.

One of the offenders was just short of turning 18 at the time of the crime, and was on trial in a juvenile justice court. He got away with just three years in a reform home…

I, for one, support the idea of having offenders who commit heinous crimes on trial as adults. At the age of 17, I believe that if you rape a woman so brutally with a bunch of other men, you are a disgusting human being that deserves as much sympathy as you gave to that poor woman.

But, wait, let me rant on about how despicable rapists are, how despicable these men in the New Delhi gang rape were. Rape has always been something I could never take lightly, not as a joke, not ever. The idea of forcing yourself on a person sexually, penetrating him/her is just a lot to handle – that you can look past their tears, be deaf to their screams, be unconscious of their struggles. It is so vile, so inhumane.

How can you not imagine the pain the victim is going through? And especially for rapists who use TOOLS to rape their victims, how is it possible? What is it, that drives these people through the whole process of rape? Are they void of empathy, of any emotions?

This is just beyond comprehension.

When we look this 2012 New Delhi gang rape, the way they assaulted the woman, the way they physically tortured her. What would allow these men to attack her in such a way that she succumbs to the injuries and dies? A 23-year old medical student? I always ask of people who die too young/early: what about their dreams, their aspirations, their hopes of the future? What about their plans for the next day, the next hour? All of that, all of the emotions they’ve felt, things they’ve done, contributions they’ve made to someone’s life, all of that turns to nothing.

This feeling I have of confusion, hatred and disgust fuels my interest in sexual offender. It’s so heinous, but I want to know why? And sometimes, I’m afraid I know why – because humans are selfish, and self-centered. That’s all there is to it. Our own desires overpower other people’s…

Why can’t I be ugly?

I was younger, when this question crossed my mind: “Why can’t I be ugly?”

What’s wrong with being ugly?

Yes, some people might generally not be considered attractive (“pretty”, “handsome”, “hot”, “gorgeous”). Some people might be considered unattractive even.

So what?

So what if they’re ugly?

Now what I’m going to rant about, you may not understand.

So what if someone is ugly?

Why must they be offered some consolation? Why must it be that “it’s okay, you’re not THAT ugly” or “what matters is that you’re beautiful on the inside” or “you’re beautiful because you’ve got a beautiful heart”? Why must the person think “why am I so ugly? I wish I was prettier” or “what can I do to make myself look better”?

Why can’t we just live and let be? Can I not just be ugly and leave it at that? Must I get some consolation words? Must I be told that there will be someone for me? Must I be told that it’s okay? Why can’t I know myself that it is?

Let’s say I’m ugly. Let’s leave at that, why don’t we? Must you go on to ridicule me, must it be an offensive or harmful to call me that? Am I already facing some (un)conscious biasness from people around me for being ugly?

Less likely to be offered jobs, less likely to be warmed up to, less likely to wanted be friends with. Now we must go on to make it a big deal?

Maybe I have a good heart, maybe I’m smart. How is that related? There could be someone who finds me attractive, there will be someone who won’t. It’s like that. If I’m ugly, I’m ugly. That’s it.

~

(I don’t think I’m ugly. But even if I do, so what?)

 

[Picture credits: Not mine; found on Google images.]

 

“That man is lucky to be raped by that gorgeous woman.”

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“However, these 28 lucky individuals probably don’t receive a lot of complaints.”

This is one of the posts on the website called Wild Ammo that I came across while searching for images related to sex offenders for my dissertation. Titled ‘28 Convicts You Wouldn’t Mind As A Registered Sex Offender‘, you may want to vomit already.
The gallery contains mugshots of attractive women portrayed to have been arrested for sexual offences, and it implies if you are a straight man, you would surely enjoy getting raped by this attractive woman
This is a pathetic reflection of the gender inequality and norms in our global society. Men are automatically assumed to like sex and they are actually considered ‘lucky’ to be sexually assaulted. If not, he must surely be homosexual.
“Man, I wish I was ‘raped’ instead.”
“He is so lucky! That woman was hot!”
“If he’s complaining, he’s gay. Give her to me instead.”
These are many of the comments we’ve heard of whenever someone posts about a rape of a male.
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Some  actual comments on the gallery

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People are asking to be raped.

(Not all of the comments were stupid. There were quite a bit commenting on how it’s still an offence whether it’s an attractive woman or not.)

This idea that men cannot deny the offer of sex or that men will always want sex is also a form of gender inequality. Male victims are not show any sympathy and are instead considered a ‘lucky bastard’ by many others. Their pain is disregarded and, most times, laughed at.

The patriarchy hurts not only women, but men. That is why when I, as a feminist, and many others, stand for the fight for equality between men and women (and also other genders), I know that I fight not only for women, but for men. For men to be able to show their feelings, for men to be able to say no to sex! For men to be feminine or what society deems as such, and for men to not always be horny!
(Also: if you assent to being “raped”, technically, you’re not being raped, but rather engaging in consensual sex. Unless you’re a minor of course.)

Identity

You are more than your skin colour, your race, your gender, and your physical attributes.

Recently, I was in a heated discussion with a friend of mine about a few things, one of which was the topic of identity.

He defines ‘identity’ in regards to physical attributes – what you first see in a person.

I disagreed. I define ‘identity’ as the collection of the unique features and characteristics of an individual (in this case) has that sets him or her apart from the rest. (According to some websites online, that might be generally what identity is defined as too.)

I have this thing about identities. The first time I actually spoke about identity was with another friend of mine on the topic of race and skin colour. I couldn’t stand with his point of view that he is only his race and skin colour; I almost couldn’t understand.

I told him – “You are more than your skin colour, your race, your gender, and your physical attributes. You are you.”

You are the person who loves football. You are the person who loves to read. You are the person who is so sweet and charming, and you are the person who gets happy at certain specific things. You are someone who likes to make people laugh. You are you. You are beyond what the world sees at first glance.

You are beyond these physical attributes.

That is what I truly believe.

Of course, our identity also constitutes of our race, sex and physical attributes. But does that define us wholly? Are you only a twenty-year-old Caucasian male? Or a forty-year-old African woman? What is it that makes you truly you?

My friend in this discussion asked me who I am. I told him I am someone who loves this and someone who loves that; I gave him my name. He scoffed, “There are other people with names like yours.” But isn’t that my point too? There is another person who has the same first name as mine, or even the whole name. But what makes her, her, and I, I? Isn’t it our values and our beliefs, actions and inactions, and our likes and dislikes? There will be another person who is of your height and weight, someone who looks similar to you even. An Asian teenage boy and another Asian teenage boy who look similar – but are they the same? No.

Do all Asian men act in the same way, as do all African women? Do all dark-skinned individuals have a similar behaviour, or do all females have a similar attitude? No. There will be ten Caucasians who all act differently, so how can they only be defined by their physical attributes?

It all boils down to individual differences that make us who we are.

It is important, our biological roots, but there comes a point where people have to understand that that alone won’t define our behaviour, our actions, our beliefs, and our identity wholly.

I am proud of my race, my gender and my physical features. But that is not my sole identity. I am a person who is passionate, loud, stubborn, hopeful, loving, emotional, and so much more. I am more than my physical attributes.

Just like you are. Just like he is. Just like she is. Just like they are.

Just like we are.