MTV MAMAs Amplification of India’s Anti-African Racism.

©2014. Secular African Society. All Rights Reserved.

 

Introduction

Africans are very quick to recognise, accept and serve others. All in the name of good-will and promoting humanity. Nowhere on the surface of this earth are others as quick to extend this same level of goodwill to Africans. Idi Amin was a nasty piece of work but many Ugandans agreed with him when he said Asian migrants were occupying too many prominent positions in Uganda’s civil service, taking influential jobs, hoarding wealth and sabotaging the economy. Till this day, there are influential voices in African nationalist circles who laud Amin’s decision to strip migrant Asians of indigenous African wealth. They may disagree on the means through which the end was achieved – a total purge of Asians from the economy and land. They may also unequivocally fault the way that most of the seized firms, agricultural estates, ranches, cars, homes and other household goods were reallocated to a horde of Uganda’s middle class and Amin’s close aides. They however do agree that indigenisation was and ever will remain the native’s right. One must not make the mistake of sanitising Idi Amin. As mentioned already, he was a nasty piece of work who not only expelled a minority of migrant Asians from Uganda in a most brutal fashion, encouraging his soldiers to engage in widespread thefts and rapes; but he also expelled fellow Africans – Kenyans. Further, he was equally brutal at home to his own people.

 

Background

The pages of history cannot be ignored. They are to be viewed upon, to chart a sagacious path for the morrow. The systematic disenfranchisement of East Africans by migrant Asians is rooted in the policies of the British colonial era. In essence, it was a form of British economic colonialism, upon which an Indian face became the agency. In all of Britain’s former colonies in Sub-Saharan Africa, a de-indigenisation policy was put in place by the British Empire, whereby South Asians (Pakistanis and Indians specifically) were brought in from British India to do clerical work and semi-skilled manual labour (i.e farming, construction work, etc) in imperial service. Britain cocooned Asians in elitist and coveted power spheres such as sartorial and banking businesses. In the 1890s, a good 32,000 labourers were brought in from South Asia to work on the construction of the Uganda Railway, under indentured labour contracts. Although most of them returned home after the railway’s completion, some 6,724 of them decided to remain in East Africa where they continued to occupy higher statuses over the vast majority of natives. They used their influence to acquire more agricultural estates and to further concentrate their presence in spheres of economic power. In Uganda for example, the tariff system was historically skewed in favour of the economic interests of Asian traders. Also, as already mentioned, Asian representation was visibly high in sartorial and banking businesses. It was thus easy to stereotype them as bankers and ‘controllers of wealth’. It was also easy to paternalistically envy them as the ‘dealers of style’. Further, although they constituted 1% of the population, they also received one-fifth of the overall national income. They were called dukawallahs, which was an occupational term at first but soon degenerated into an anti-Indian slur that meant ‘the traders’. They were quite influential in other sectors in Uganda and often provided elite healthcare and schooling to ‘their own’ in gated ethnic communities. Indophobia was so high during Idi Amin’s reign although it did predate Idi Amin and existed in the previous Milton Obote government. It is safe to say that Indophobia was the native’s direct reaction to a British colonial system of indirect economic exploitation in which the British took power from the natives and gave it to migrants. Whereas in Zimbabwe, the British visibly administered control over the native’s economy, in Uganda they created an Asian administrative and elitist class. Amin capitalised on stereotypes of Indians as ‘controllers of wealth’, scapegoated them and eventually expelled all Indian migrants from Uganda. The point to this piece is not to chronicle the immigration and eventual expulsion of Indians from Uganda. Acknowledging this aspect of Indian-African history serves only as an introduction. The double edged-point to this piece is to question the de-indigenisation of prestige at the MTV Africa Music Awards and to illuminate the anti-Black racism that till this day remains rife in India. One may not agree with Idi Amin’s choice of policy in rectifying what he considered a visible economic and paternalistic threat against the natives. However, his policy at the time was supported by many Ugandan natives who felt power was being snatched from them by migrants who weren’t even indigenous to the continental abode. Many of the natives felt that the exaltation of the migrants was a slap in the face of hardworking and skilled natives who already existed in ample supply. Ugandans were systematically de-skilled by Britain’s de-indegenization policy on Ugandan land. Suffice to say, they resented the British but took their umbrage out on the 1% Indians whom the British imposed on them.

 

MTV MAMAs

Recently, what could be described as a similar de-indigenisation debacle was staged at the MTV MAMAs 2014 ceremony. They prepared a category for Leadership Award presumably to celebrate indigenous leadership from amongst the African people. After pitting the names of five acts (the others from Uganda, South Africa (2) and Nigeria), four of which were indigenous Africans, they awarded the prize to Ashish J. Thakkar an Indian! An Indian awarded a continental leadership prize at an award ceremony said to produce the best Africa has to offer? Why, in what way is he an indigenous product? When does the reverse ever happen in India?

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MTV’s Prestigious Africa’s Leadership Award Recepient

The winner Thakkar describes himself as “a native son of the [African] soil, with Indian roots and British nationality”. Unfortunately, these are no longer the days when anyone can simply be a bit of everything, add something-African to the mix and violá, qualify to be a symbol of African prestige. When NGO’s are promoting poverty porn out of Africa, hardly does anyone ever argue about who the acceptable representational figure should be. It is patronising to the indigenous people of Africa to award a non-indigene with continental leadership award, on a platform as far-reaching and identity-branded as the MTV MAMAs. Again, it is insulting to the indigenous people of Africa to award a non-indigene with continental leadership award, on a platform as far-reaching and identity-branded as the MTV Africa Music Awards! No African, no matter his achievement, investments potential in India or anywhere else, will ever be recognised in any way remotely close. In the U.S where Blacks have garnered significant prestige for themselves on a land that is not native to Blacks, they still don’t have a Black person for president. What they have is a mixed-race man appointed to lead the nation. In the entertainment sector, it was their own alternative platforms (the likes of BET, Motown) not those of the establishment, that truly chauffeured African American brilliance to visibility. Their subjugation was sealed in the fact that they were the visible descendants of African natives. Coming back to Thakkar, one cannot be a native son of the African soil when one is not native-lly African. What Thakkar is, is an adopted son of the soil who at best defends and promotes the native culture, but he cannot be “native” whilst being rooted elsewhere. Are African Americans native Americans? Are Black Brits native Europeans? No and no. It may seem a somewhat trivial issue to some, but the native debate is very important where Africa and India are concerned. First of all, there are no prominent African figures in India. Not in her government, civil service, media, entertainment industry or any other note-worthy sector. MTV certainly does not award native Africans with anything prestigious on the MTV India platform. Why then are there different standards in Africa? Is Africa a free bus ride to anyone with money? Or is it the scrawny pottage of money and lightskin that the African ancestral inheritance is so readily sold to?

 

India’s Anti-African Racism

Rather than clap as non-natives like Thakkar are awarded prominent leadership awards meant for natives, a question should be posed as to why Blacks don’t receive such awards in India. Bollywood has no prominent Black figure, in an industry that constantly indoctrinates Indians to utterly despise the dark skinned. By “Black”, one is not here expecting Bollywood to go shopping for actresses in Africa, one is expecting Bollywood to recognise its own dark skinned fellow countryfolk! The very dark skinned Indians who look like indigenous Africans rocking a cool perm! Or does human talent exist on the basis of melanin? Don’t dark-skinned actors/actresses thrive in the U.S where Jim Crow laws were once the norm? Racial profiling that works against the dusky is the bedrock of Bollywood’s casting. It’s even caused some to ask: ‘why Bollywood does not have a single Dalit superstar – lack of talent or selective rejection’? Dalits are the predominantly dark-skinned lower caste strata of the Indian society. There are approximately 167 million of them, constituting more than 16% of India’s total population with tens of millions in other South Asian countries. They fall outside the traditional four-tiered Indian caste system. They truly are the lowest of all lows and face discrimination at almost every level in the Indian society and industry! When it comes to access to education, employment, representation in spheres of influence, Dalits are the utmost last to be considered. National-award winning actress Usha Jadhav who is much lighter-skinned than most Dalits aptly lamented during an interview that “many producers refused to cast me because of the colour of my skin. They’d say that they want a fair girl to play the heroine”. And she isn’t even Dalit! Jadhav is merely lower middle class! Compare Bollywood’s overall mentality to that of MTV MAMAs leadership recognition and one is left with the whitewashing of melanin in both coveted categories.

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The Duskiest a Bollywood Cast of Leading Roles Ever Gets.

It is the mindset of the self-hating African and the racist anti-African apologist to argue that there is nothing wrong with Thakkar being awarded with indigenous African prestige. ‘Why shouldn’t he be awarded the title, they say?’ ‘Who is to decide that he is not native to the land?’ ‘Oh but he’s an extremely influential and successful business man who has made a lot of investments in Africa – Isn’t that leadership?’ Well, why aren’t Africans reaching influential positions in India? Is it because Africans are lazy as is the stereotype African migrant students in India often have to fight against? Is it because Africans just don’t have the same business savvy as Hindus? Of course the answer to those are no. It has nothing to do with being lazy or lacking ingenuity. Even if said African(s) worked overtime in India, invested heart and soul and praised the native ancestral culture incessantly, they would still not rise to a similar level of prominence or prestige. There are systems in India designed to decollate and usurp any such non-native upward mobility. The argument in India’s academia used to justify this native favouritism is ‘India first’ which often also translates to ‘Hindu first’. In India where Thakkar is native to, ideally, African Thakkars would be told that leadership jobs should go to the higher Brahmin caste, the natives, Hindus – not the African son who promotes and defends the Indian ancestral heritage. In India, the African Thakkars would invest and make profits from their investments but they would not ascend to any prominent leadership positions! The extent to which the African would even be allowed to invest is also debatable as the glass ceilings systematically put in place are there to guarantee economic opportunities for the Indian first. To be very clear, the purpose of this writing is not to fault native-centric outlook in India. Native favouritism is a beautiful and grounded ideal. Native-centric idealism is the antidote to foreign economic exploitation and other agencies of colonialism. The purpose of this writing however is to contrast India’s native-centrism with the lack of native-centric idealism in Africa – and particularly on a continental native-heralding platform such as the MAMAs.

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Dalit girl.

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Dalit women and kids.

For an African Thakkar to spring out from India, he would firstly have to be Hindu (not in the religious sense but ancestrally, which could be a Muslim Indian). He would have become Hindu through an African-Hindu inter-marriage somewhere in his ancestral line. Or he would have to marry a Hindu himself and then wait for his second or third generation offspring to become the native Indian flag bearer. This is the simple reason why there are no prestigious or prominent Blacks in India – Blacks in India are visible descendants of native Africans, not Native Hindus. India’s dark-skinned predominantly occupy her lower caste strata. The caste stratification in turn plays a vital role in power allocation.   Black-centered news websites frequently compile multiple reports of anti-Black racism prevalent in India. Black people targeted and punished for no other reason than the fact they are Black! In some even more horrid cases, Black and African migrant. Firstly, dark-skinned Indians are stratified to a lower status. Then Black migrants from Africa are profiled as prostitutes, drug dealers, lazy, a stain and other appellations worthy of abuse. Anti-Black racism in India often goes beyond mere abuse and manifests itself in rapes and fatal mob violence. What’s more unacceptable and shocking is that India’s police has often been complicit in perpetuating these anti-African racist onslaughts. In the case of a 24-year old Rwandese woman who was gang-raped, her attacker was ‘well-connected’ and the police reportedly tried to suppress the incident from being reported in the media. Did diplomatic sanctions from Africa follow? No. Blacks in India often have to protest on the streets, deliberately creating road blocks, in order to force the police to take action when racism is perpetuated against them. By so doing, they undoubtedly end up inciting more annoyance from Indian pedestrians and drivers. India’s Dalits don’t seem to be in an uproar about continuous attacks on African migrants. Dark-skinned Indian activists who have spoken out in the past have been labelled ‘Nigerian’ – as though it were meant to be an insult. What’s more, in spite of the numerous cases of racial stereotyping and racist attacks prevalent in India, the country has no anti-racist law. There are laws criminalising discrimination on different grounds but none on the grounds of racism. The good news is that a number of campaigners in india are currently clamouring to introduce anti-racism legislation. It is questionable how successful they will be considering that the racist Bollywood itself is an influential lobby, powerful enough to contest policies that will drastically undermine its casting regiment.

 

Conclusion

African institutions must be mindful to award prestige and privileges to non-natives with a pinch of salt. There are mutual benefits boundaries that must be recognised. If on this account of de-indigenising prestige at the MAMAs, MTV merely made a mistake, then MTV should be mindful to not repeat the same mistake in the future. MTV shouldn’t even dare to! If on the other hand, MTV merely sought to amplify the African’s failure to be as native-centric as other nationalists are, point taken! India to Indian natives, Africa to African natives. Possessing a desire to promote good-will, charity and equality on a pan-racial scale is no excuse to shamelessly exalt self-hate on a continental platform.

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African leader, Ashish Thakkar.

©2014. Secular African Society. All Rights Reserved.

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$260 Milli Worth – Ashish Thakkar.

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18 thoughts on “MTV MAMAs Amplification of India’s Anti-African Racism.

  1. Pingback: MTV MAMAs Amplification of India's Anti-African...

    • ABOUT 17,000 YEARS B.C. TO 3400 YEARS B.C.; THE BLACK AND AFRICAN COLONIES THAT MIGRATED TO THE MIDDLE EAST REGIONS, HAD DOMINATED THERE FOR THOUSANDSOF YEARS….WAY-WAY-WAY….BEFORE ANY OF THE ISLAMIC RELIGIONS,CULTURES, CIVILIZATIONS, AND EVEN BEFORE THE MIDDLE EAST PEOPLE, MUSLIM PEOPLE, AND ISLAMICPEOPLE WERE EVER CREATED !!! THE TALIBANS, ISIS, BOKO HARAMS, AL-QUIDAS, HAMAS KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE !!! COPY THESE IMPORTANT MESSAGES, AND GIVE TO FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND OTHER GROUPS. E-MAIL ME AT WAVEFORM1@RUNBOX.COM/ AEELECTRESS CORONITE…..FACEBOOK.COM/ AELECTRESS CORONITE….WATT34@word press.com….thank you.

  2. The truth is an African could never rise to the same level of prestige in India. Thakkar should be asking people to boycott Bollywood for being so anti-Black. I really don’t get why it’s so easy for Asians to be exalted on alters in Africa but impossible for Africans to excel on their lands without being disenfranchised by caste systems and Bollywood anti-Black propaganda.

  3. People often talk about Pakistani racism. Indians are no less racist. Fact. Asians in general are actually racist against Africans. They see Africans as beggars and the women as prostitutes. They find it very easy to dehumanise them. Am I racist for saying that? No. I’m not the one with the anti-Black Bollywood.

      • ABOUT 3200 YEARS B.C. TO 580 A.D.; BLACK AND AFRICAN COLONIES HAD FOUGHT MANY ESCALATING CONFLICTS, REVOLTS, INSURGENCES, AND RACIAL ATROCITIES….AGAINST THE ISLAMIC PEOPLE, MIDDLE EAST PEOPLE, AND MUSLIM PEOPLE….OVER LAND AND TERRITORY, GOLD DIAMONDS, WATER SOURCES, FARMS AND AGRICULTURE, POLITICS, AND RACIAL NATIONALISM. AND WHENEVER TROUBLES BECAME WARS, THE LACKS AND AFRICANS DID WIN SLIGHTLY OVER ONE-HALF TO FIVE-EIGHTHS OF THE BATTLES !!! THE TALIBANS, ISIS, HAMAS, BOKO HARAMS, AL-QUIDAS KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE !!! COPY THESE IMPORTANT MESSAGES AND GIVE TO FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND OTHER GROUPS. E-MAIL ME AT WAVEFORM1@RUNBOX.COM/ AELECTRESS CORONITE…..FACEBOOK.COM/ AELECTRESS CORONITE…..WATT34@WORDPRESS,COM……’DARRELL ALBERT’….THANK YOU.

  4. I came across this article recently and am in full agreement with everything written in it. Unfortunately, someone from an India-Africa oil and gas company said this to me on facebook after posting the article on their page…
    “Well for starters this article belittles a mans achievements and contributions to society (not mine, but yours) simply because of the origins and the colour of his skin (not dark enough…) Secondly it talks about the lack of Dalits in the Indian film industry as if that is the be all/ do all of the Indian society. If you had done your home work you’ll realise that one of India ex president was Dalit, so have been a Home Minister, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, State Chief Ministers… Just to name a few!! More so I think you too are extremely racist just to raise a topic which is totally unconnected with what this page stands for – which is all about oil & gas”.

    So I said this to him…

    “Nobody is belittling his work. he has made a lot of money for himself, trading in Africa. MTV de-indigenises African prestige and facilitates Hindu colonialism of Aricans. Before calling anybody a racist you really need to do some soul-searching and ask why non-Indians never rise to prominence in India. The article raises a lot of salient points – at the end of the day, Africans endure racism in India while an Indian is busy receiving African leadership award and being crowned with prestige in Africa. Save your ex-president Dalit retort, Dalits are still the lowest of all classes in India. I didn’t write the article, it was brought to my attention and I decided to share it to see what kind of feedback it would receive. Your feedback only confirms the racist allegations outlined in the article”.

    And then I said this…

    “Raising a topic about racist exploitation in African-Indian relations, on an African-Indian oil page, makes me racist? Haha. Keep making your money and masking your racism”.

    Thank you for this article.

    • ABOUT 3200 YEARS B.C. TO 580 A.D.; BLACK AND AFRICAN COLONIES HAD FOUGHT MANY ESCALATING CONFLICTS, REVOLTS INSURGENCES, AND RACIAL ATROCITIES…..AGAINST THE MIDDLE EAST PEOPLE, MUSLIM PEOPLE, AND ISLAMIC PEOPLE….OVER LAND AND TERRITORY, GOLD, DIAMONDS, WATER RESOURCES, FARMS AND AGRICULTURE, POLITICS, AND RACIAL NATIONALISM. AND WHENEVER TROUBLES BECAME WARS, THE BLACKS AND AFRICANS DID WIN SLIGHTLT OVER ONE-HALF TO FIVE-EIGHTHS OF THE BATTLES !!! THE TALIBANS, ISIS, HAMAS, AL-QUIDAS, BOKO HARAMS KNOW THIS TO BE TRUE !!! COPY THESE IMPORTANT MESSAGES AND GIVE TO FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND OTHER GROUPS. E-MAIL ME AT WAVEFRM1@RUNBOX.COM/ AELECTRESS CORONITE……FACKBOOK.COM/ AELECTRESS CORONITE……WATT3344@WORDPRESS.COM…..DARRELL ALBERT

  5. “India to Indian natives, Africa to African natives.”

    I say, “Europe for European natives.”

    “Racist!” shout the Invaders and their exploitive Enablers of European ancestry.

    “Your point?” I ask.

    Good article, good website.

  6. It’s really a nice and useful piece of information. I’m happy that you simply shared this helpful info with us.

    Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  7. LATER ON IN TIME, THE TALIBANS, ISIS, HAMAS, AL-QUIDAS, BOKO HARAMS MUST KNOW !!! ABOUT 17,000 YEARS B.C. TO 3400 YEARS B.C.; THE BLACK AND AFRICAN CIVILZATIONS HAD RULED OVER THE MIDDLE EAST REGIONS FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS…..WAY-WAY-WAY…..BEFORE ANY OF THE ISLAMIC RELIGIONS, CULTURES, CIVILIZATIONS, AND EVEN BEFORE THE MIDDLE EAST PEOPLE, MUSLIM PEOPLE, AND ISLAMIC PEOPLE WERE EVER CREATED !!! COPY MESAGES AND GIVE TO FRIENDS, FAMIILY, AND OTHER GROUPS. E-MAIL ME AT WAVEFORM1@RUNBOX.COM/ AELECTRESS CORONITE…….”DARRELL ALBERT”

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