The Truth in Black & White

POV

The Truth in Black & White

Illustration: Namaah

I

f Masonda Ketanda Olivier’s brutal murder in June last year was not enough to hold up a mirror to ourselves and admit that we have a problem with “blackness”, it is high time we got the memo. Last evening, four Nigerian students were beaten up near Ansal Plaza in Greater Noida’s Pari Chowk by a mob protesting the death of a 17-year-old local boy. It didn’t matter that the four students were in no way related to the death of the teen, who it is claimed, is a victim of a drug overdose. An entirely different bunch of Nigerians have been accused of the boy’s murder, but I guess when you’re a mob looking for someone to lynch, being black is crime enough.

Anti-blackness has always been a problem in India, but in typical desi fashion, it’s something we’d rather sweep under the carpet. A similar incident happened in Bengaluru last year, where a mob stripped a Tanzanian woman because she happened to be driving down a road where a Sudanese man had run down a local half an hour prior. It prompted one DailyO columnist to claim the attack wasn’t racist because, basically, we’re not white so we can’t be racist. In fact, after Olivier’s death, the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma dismissed the murder by saying “even Africa is not safe”, a statement so blasé that it makes me wonder if he’s actually human.

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