What is racism you ask? When Somnath Bharti says “Nigerian girls and men all indulge in prostitution and drug trafficking”, it’s racism. When people refer to “Africans” and what “they” do, it’s racism. It doesn’t just end with race or nationality. Though religion is not a race, the essential idea of grouping people together and making derogatory statements about them as a whole is racism. Talking about “Muslims” and the problems they cause is racism. Pointing to certain castes is racism. The Shiv and Raj Sena singling out north Indians, Biharis, or outsiders as the cause of Mumbai’s problems is racism.
Do you know how to not be a racist? It’s simple! Don’t mention race, nationality, gender, religion, or caste in your words or use them as criteria in your actions and you should be fine. Whenever you hear someone say “I’m not a racist, but…”, you can be sure the next words to come out of their mouth will be racist!
AAP minister Somnath Bharti said he received letters or complaints that African, Nigerian, Ugandan or whatever were causing problems in a certain neighborhood. That letter itself is racist! Did the letter mention specific complaints of illegal activities against specific persons with names or who match a specific description? Did the letter say “At such and such a time, I saw people meeting xyz descriptions do so and so illegal acts”? No. Did the minister have a warrant from a judge getting permission to raid the house of a specific person? No. Instead, all he had to go by was the race.
How do you not be a racist? Don’t mention race, nationality, gender, religion, or caste in your words or use them as criteria in your actions and you should be fine.
That is textbook racism.
The Delhi police did absolutely the right thing in refusing to pander to his wishes. Whatever laws they break in other circumstances, they didn’t break it this time. Civil liberties are in place for a reason. India is a civilized country with a certain system of jurisprudence. Warrants, credible evidence and reasonable suspicion are not inconveniences or hinderances. They are what make India worth living in. They are what separates India from many other countries in the world. The next time you hear someone compare India to China and say “In China they would have just sent the guy to jail”, please respond by saying that your standards are not so low as to compare India with countries like China, or Pakistan, or Iran.
Racism is disgusting, and for a minister to so publicly open his mouth and spew this dangerous trash is doubly disturbing. But by itself I don’t think racism should be illegal. A person (even a minister) should have the right to say anything they want. Of course, we have an equal right to judge and condemn them. In this case however, it went beyond mere racism and took on the form of illegally entering someone’s house without a warrant and without any credible specific evidence. That is illegal and cannot be glossed over.
Somnath Bharti has to be kicked out. Resignation is not good enough. He has to be thrown away like a diseased cancer. With any other party, I would not expect any such thing. But part of my outrage and disgust is due to the fact that I thought AAP was different. I thought it was made up of right thinking people and not goondas and thugs. I was wrong.
It’s still not too late. Kejriwal needs to stop supporting this idiot, admit his mistake, and simply sack him. After all, isn’t that one of the planks of AAP? That they will not have criminals as party members? Bharti broke the law in a horrible and callous manner. Now let’s see if AAP stands by its commitment.