America is burning for the past few days. A video circulated in which a White police officer Derek Chauvin was kneeling on an African-American man Mr. George Floyd’s neck while he was pinned on the floor and Mr. Floyd was heard saying “I can’t breathe”. Mr. Chauvin has now been charged with murder after a few days. George Floyd’s death sparked the civil unrest, America is witnessing.
This incident started the protests in Minneapolis and soon in other cities and #BlackLivesMatter started trending on different social media platforms. People started talking about systematic racism in societies. People opened up about what they have experienced throughout their lives because of the colour of their skin. American Businesses started showing solidarity with the people and added their voice to the BLM movement.
Bringing Issue Home
People across the Globe expressed their anger. Many American-Indians also expressed themselves and I wondered what stopped the same fury and rage from happening in India in the past few months. If the majority of India can learn one thing from what’s happening in the USA, it’s ‘how to show resistance’. And, not just performative resistance but the real actions that lead to result. Bravery and Resilience of people who are out there to fight the racism, are other things to learn.
The issue at the core of this is – supremacy. Now, that can be White Supremacy what we witnessed in Minneapolis. And, If I circle it back to India, It can be religious supremacy and Casteism. Leave the outrage at door, It is something that many people take pride in that supremacy. The conditioning is too heavy that many people don’t even realize that they are indulging in Casteism and religious supremacy. It is too much ingrained in our society that asking someone about their caste is so normal where It is actually not. We have pre-defined judgments based on the caste of a person.
This supremacy people feel based upon their caste or the place of worship they go to, leads to devastating social effects and economic inequality. And, if as an Indian, you think that supremacy doesn’t exist, you just have to look at your WhatsApp inbox.
The first step to address a problem is to acknowledge that it exists. How many of us make an effort to change that conditioning when we grow up. I didn’t even think about it for a long long time because it didn’t affect me. After all, I grew up in the same society. People kept using slurs around me and I kept silent too but that was bad enough and without even realizing, I was being the part of the problem. Luckily lots of reading and conversation with sane people happened. It doesn’t mean that now I know everything. I am still learning every day about it but I have become very conscious about conversations that happen around me.
Trust me, It takes a lot of effort to break that conditioning but it’s not impossible. Things are changing but not too fast. Things are improving but not too fast. To expedite the change, We all have to play our part in speaking up against any injustice we witness. I am leaving here a reading list of you want to learn more about Caste in India.