Germaine Greer wrote in the Guardian, "There
are no good reasons for watching Celebrity Big
Brother and very good reasons for not. Not
watching will spare you the nerve-fraying
annoyingness that is Shilpa Shetty. Everything about
her is infuriating: her haughty way of stalking
about, her indomitable self-confidence, her
chandelier earrings, her leaping eyebrows, her
mirthless smile, her putty nose and her eternal bray,
'Why does everyone hate me?' Not to mention the
The problem is that most of the
housemates are too dim to convey what a pain
in the ass Shilpa is without appearing to persecute
her. So Danielle, beside herself with rage because
Shilpa cooks with onions, calls her a dog. Jack
Tweed calls her a cunt. The word was bleeped out,
leading many viewers to speculate that she had been
racially abused. That is not surprising. This is a
racist country; to the vast majority of couch
potatoes out there, Shilpa is a 'Paki bird.'" (Emphasis
Why is Shilpa still sticking out? She has the choice
to walk out, and avoid the company of her hellish
housemates. She is not, for one simple reason: her
staying is giving her an option to revive her
flagging career in India. Even more importantly, if
she stays, she will go home with a guaranteed
300,000 pounds, at least.
The hypocrisy behind "racism"
In an Indian city, Patna, fans of Shilpa have taken
protest against racial discrimination. Others
are lobbying to ensure she wins. Support for Shilpa
has been unprecedented. She is believed to be a
victim. But isn't this quite condescending? What
about Shilpa's racist statements? Is it that only
whites can be called racists, tacitly meaning that
the whites are innately more powerful?
The world over, white Westerners are called racists.
This is anything but true, at least when you take an
objective look at what happens outside the West. I
have never found a non-Western society that is less
racist. India is the most bigoted/racist country I
have ever been to. Not only skin color, but all
sorts of genetic and superficial features are the
bases for how much respect one gets there. Indeed,
the darker-colored south Indians, like Shilpa,
suffer racism in Mumbai. I am surprised that she
does not acknowledge the truth.
Servants in India sit on the floor. They are usually
treated worse than pet dogs are. The people from northeastern provinces are derogatorily called "chinky,"
for their Chinese features. A girl from a northeastern province living in Delhi is automatically
assumed loose by local men. Muslims in India are
pretty much barred from jobs, or at least the
professional ones. Women in most of India's rural
areas, if not so much in cities, have an abysmally
low status. Lower caste people in many rural areas
of India are barred from going into higher caste
areas. In some areas, even their shadow is not to be
"touched." If you drive an expensive car in India,
police hardly ever stops you; if you drive a cheap
one, they mostly do. Africans are called Negros, a
word used with negative connotations as is now usual
around the world. Hierarchies, classes and castes come in so
many shapes and sizes in India that it is impossible
to put it in words.
Of course, such "racist" Indians have a hugely high
respect for those with white skin. I hated
traveling in India with a white person. Mostly
Indians, who would otherwise treat me with respect,
then treat me as an escort. In some public sector
offices, I get my tea in plastic cup while a white
person gets his in a china cup. The whites are very
often provided services that have nothing to do with
hospitality, but servility.
Indians and others around the world should do some
introspection. They should learn to be honest.
Racism from Westerners is a very marginal issue. It is time non-Western societies start
addressing their own racism and bigotry. If not, at least, they
should stop pointing fingers at others.