DC Edit | Racism: It's time to say sorry

Deccan Chronicle.  | Deccan Chronicle

Opinion, DC Comment

The world of sport also stands exposed now as tales of racism and blatantly racist terms come tumbling out of the locker room

At a time of deep introspection over tragic events triggered by outright racial discrimination, sportsmen too must use the crisis as an opportunity for redemption. PTI Photo

Protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police in Minneapolis have led to the whole of United States and the world having to reckon with racism. In his unfortunate death, Floyd has become the catalyst for positive social change away from the racism embedded deeply in societies.

The black community may have endured such cruelty for generations in the United States but it is the age of the smartphone that brought about an awakening to the world by exposing police violence in such vivid detail as in the “I can’t breathe” episode.

The world of sport also stands exposed now as tales of racism and blatantly racist terms come tumbling out of the locker room.

Indian cricket is not blameless either in embedded racism. The recent expose of Darren Sammy’s nickname of “kalu”, bandied about by his teammates in Hyderabad Sunrisers, brings home the point that such dressing room pranks betray deeply entrenched racism, especially against black people.

Terms like gora for whites, kalia for blacks and chaptiya for the Chinese have been known to be in use for years in Team India conversations on and off the field.

At a time of deep introspection over tragic events triggered by outright racial discrimination, sportsmen too must use the crisis as an opportunity for redemption.

The least someone like the fast bowler Ishant Sharma can do is to apologise for himself and his cricket mates for using a derogatory term for a colleague from the Caribbean who distinguished himself as captain of the West Indies cricket team by bringing a disparate set of players together in a common sporting cause.

The world of sports is filled with racist abuse among players and at players and sportsmen made fun of for their darker skin tone are too numerous to count. But, instead of blaming their society for its obsessions with fair skin, Indian sportsmen can compensate for their own defects by calling out old racist practices with a promise to reform. If they do, Floyd’s death would not have been totally in vain.

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