Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Obama Should Worry More About Racism In Us

Updated: July 14, 2015 9:00 am

Obama must know that India is not Pakistan where Hindus and other minorities are treated as second or rather third grade citizens. Muslims and other minorities enjoy all rights which Hindus enjoy and whole nation stands with them in all respects and India does not need Obama’s mentoring or lecturing in this regard or the mentoring or lecturing of any US or UK citizen

It is a matter of grave concern that racism, racial violence and racial discrimination is increasing very rapidly in US. What is even more deeply worrying is that US President Barack Obama keeps worrying about the condition of minorities in India! Obama must know that India is not Pakistan where Hindus and other minorities are treated as second or rather third grade citizens. Muslims and other minorities enjoy all rights which Hindus enjoy and whole nation stands with them in all respects and India does not need Obama’s mentoring or lecturing in this regard or the mentoring or lecturing of any US or UK citizen.

However, one is happy to note that finally now Obama has realized that things are not all bright in US which has compelled him to make his position clear on this. Obama admitted that racial legacy still haunts US and underlined the depth of his frustration over America’s ongoing battle with racism by employing the racially-charged ‘N-word’ which stands for “nigger” in a radio interview to underline his point. The word “nigger” is so charged that most Americans dare not even utter it.

Obama expressed his dismay by saying that, “What is also true is the legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination in almost every institution of our lives, you know, that casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on. We’re not cured of it.” “It’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say ‘nigger’ in public,” Obama continued. He further went on to say, “That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not.”

Obama’s comments were made public five days after the shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, the bloodiest attack on a black church in the United States, since the civil rights era. At theWednesday evening Bible study, on June 17, six women and three men, including Pastor Clementa Pinckney, a US state Senator, were brutally shot dead at the Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church which is located in a predominantly white area of the city’s down town peninsula by a 21-year old white gunman Dylann Roof who brazenly emptied his semi-automatic handgun on an essentially African-American congregation. Needless to say, hate crime has gone deep inside DNA of US citizens and still Obama keeps worrying more about minorities in India rather than increasing racial attacks in US or growing intolerance among US citizens especially among whites!

It is a matter of grave concern that there were more than 3000 hate crimes committed in 2013 as is clear from the statistics available. More worryingly, of these, 2000 were directed at the African-American community and whites were victims in just about 700! RK Raghavan who is former CBI Director very rightly points out that, “Incidents like the Charleston shooting pose a question mark over the US administration’s capacity to ensure harmonious race relations. Affirmative action has failed to bridge the chasm. Perhaps the US can learn something from the Indian experience, where some deft balancing of administrative processes has helped achieve a lot more than marginal positive impact on furthering social cohesion.”

To say the obvious, it is high time and now Barack Obama who is US President must take strong measures to check racial discrimination and growing racial attacks by whites on blacks! Obama must take into account what RK Raghavan who has a vast administrative experience of many decades by virtue of being in CBI and an IPS officer who headed India’s premier investigating agency CBI and who is himself a graduate in criminal justice from the Temple University in Philadelphia in US had to say in this regard. Raghavan pointed out that, “Perhaps the most questioned aspect of the criminal justice policy and enforcement is the continued high rate of incarceration of African-Americans, considered disproportionate to their numbers in the country’s population. This perceived imbalance causes maximum offence to most African-Americans across the nation. The practice of “stop and frisk” prevalent in most police departments is another irritant. Recently, the New York Police Department has had to drastically revise its guidelines to patrolmen to ensure a more circumspect exercise of its authority.

All these factors greatly reduce the administration’s credibility in the eyes of the African-American community.”

All said and done, if US still fails to check growing racial attacks against blacks then there is bound to be retaliation which can never be good for America’s long-term interests which Obama also understands fully well! Therefore, this necessitates Obama’s worrying more about racial attacks against blacks and other minorities like Sikhs and Muslims in US rather than worrying about minorities in India only! The latest gruesome racial killing only underscores what I have just said right now which Obama too has started acknowledging publicly now! Ah! Rightly said that, “It is better to be late than never”!

By Sanjeev Sirohi

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