racism against dark skin

To protect and to serve, they say 

In parts of North India, men have been putting on their uniforms in the morning, pretending to be protectors and guardians, but only to grasp tightly to their prejudice and proceed to arrest innocent students. 

This is a reality. Policemen have been barging into the apartments of African students and taking their valuables without any warrant, and without any right. Why? They believe they are rightfully tracking down individuals who might be staying illegally. 
This begs the questions:

Why only Africans? 

Why without warrant? 

Why with so much prejudice? 
Why without so much of a pinch of common sense and general regard for other human beings? 
This has happened to someone I actually know. He was staying over at his friend’s place when a group of policemen came barging into their house and pocketing valuables. They claimed they were searching for Nigerians but when shown the IDs of students from Angola (the true tenants of the house), they continued their unlawful acts.  They demanded IDs while refusing to show their own. The neighbours themselves protested at the policemen’s actions, but to no avail. When my friend reached the police station, he was returned his wallet but not the money that was initially there. The policemen deined any accusations of stealing. And that was that. 

This occurred a week ago, and my friend has still not received justice for this foul act of discrimination. Once again I’m left fearing for the safety of all my African friends in this country. Will India ever pull itself together when it comes to its treatment of African students, or will it continue to harm and harass innocents? Do these perpetrators not know that these innocent students are also children of parents who have raised them with all the love and care they could give? How would it feel to know that strangers view the apple of your eye as a thug and hooligan, and that they laugh and call him names? These are young adults who’ve chosen India as their home for the first time they’re ever away from their home and parents. To find out that the country one has sent their kids into is actually targeting them based on their skin colour is something no one should have to face. #FixYourRacismIndia 

[Refer to this link to view a much more detailed post on these recent misguided and unwarranted arrests of African students in India.]

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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