A Clarification on Symonds

I’ve already written too much on the Symonds issue, but I’m not being as articulate as I would like. Firstly, understand that I am not defending what the Indian crowds are doing. Picking on any one player does not particularly excite me as a cricket fan, and Indian crowds have a long history of embarrassing me for their shoddy behavior. I still recall, to this day, crying as a young child when the India v. Sri Lanka semifinal match in the 1996 World Cup ended with India conceding the match after the Eden Gardens audience turned their bottles into messages (that sounds better if you’ve heard the Police song).

What I am saying, however, is that we cannot deem this behavior racist, or as equivalent with right-wing crazies in Europe throwing banana skins at black footballers in Europe or with what Australian audiences have belted out to brown and black cricket players.

Again, this might seem inconsistent or unfair, but it is not: in many race-related discussions, parity between racial players is always assumed in ethical discussions, even though historically (and presently), that is not the case. For instance, conservatives in America will readily argue that since we aim for a “color-blind society,” absolutely no color distinctions can be made by the government. That would make sense, however, only in a world that is truly color-blind and always has been, which, alas, is not the case.

So, there are idiots in Indian crowds and idiots in Australian crowds. In the former, I’m just not entirely convinced that any racial messages were or are intended; it seems like a puerile attempt to mock a player that has gotten under the skins of many an Indian fan (and not because of the color of his own skin). In Australian crowds, however, such behavior can only be intended as racist, because that society has been built on strongly enforced racial boundaries (the benefits of which many Australians enjoy to this day). Even if a white Australian considers himself to be tolerant to a fault, he systematically enjoys privilege only because he is white (and thus, he is implicated).

Lastly, if anything, the Indians’ behavior reveals to what extent British colonialism has impacted the Indian consciousness. Of all the players to pick on, they choose the one with the mixed heritage, and continue to worship the white “sahib” as the ideal; just as many Indians buy “skin-whitening” cream because they have been led to believe that whiter is better (by fairer-skinned Aryans; white British colonists; present-day Indian modern media). This is an issue that white Australians or fans do not face, but this is the ultimate irony of this tragedy: when Indians want to be “racist,” they end up only revealing, I think, a huge level of self-hatred and insecurity.

3 thoughts on “A Clarification on Symonds

  1. moody says:

    “when Indians want to be “racist,” they end up only revealing, I think, a huge level of self-hatred and insecurity”
    -you’ve hit the nail on the head mate.

    I do have indian origin in me and when i visit India to see my grandma, she’s always telling me how ive gotten darker and how thats a bad thing.

    Among my indian friends even now there are jovial slurs layed out on sri lankans for their darkness, and even dark south indians… obviously these aren’t racist, just for fun.. but the fact that they still exist shows insecurity.

    It is my belief that indians have int eh past viewed themselves as inferior, especially to modern anglo countries such as Britain, America and to a lesser extent Australia. So to call this symonds saga a race issue is far from logical. I dont think Indians love themselves enough to think they are better than someonee else purely based on race/skin color.

  2. moody says:

    ps. i am sick of the supposed ‘political correctness’ present in society.

    I am not sure if anyone has read Wendell Sailor’s autobiography – In it he mentions this issue.
    “If you call a black guy black, it is not racist.. its just what he is.. its just what i am, i take no offence to it, infact i am proud, and so should every other black person”

  3. […] one of the most mystifying things about the Harbhajan-Symonds scandal was that it involved two non-white players, who otherwise would have found much to agree […]

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