We get appalled when we hear about racism against African-Americans or Asians in the West. But do we conveniently forget the racism we display in our own country agsint Indians from the North-East?
Rapper Samir Rishu Mohanty aka Big Deal from Odisha – he’s half Odia, half Japanese – certainly thinks so. His music video (above), Are you Indian?, condemns the racism that Indians from the North-East face from the rest of the country in no uncertain terms. The powerful music video, admittedly inspired by Joyner Lucas’s sensational I’m Not Racist video (bottom), depicts Indians from the North-East engaging in a rap dialogue with people from elsewhere in the country over a dinner table.
The first half of the song summarises the kind of discriminatory and racist comments that North-Easterners are subjected to on a regular basis. The lyrics, which are rapped from the point-of-view of the racist Indian, read:
“Who are you? What you even doing in here?
Pardon my ignorance, but lately too many immigrants in India
Did you sneak in through the border, you look Chinese
I ain’t racist, I just judged you based on how your stupid face is
Sometimes you tryin’ to fit in, sometimes you tryin’ to be different
Sometimes you tryin’ to be western, sometimes you tryin’ to be Indian
All I’m tryin’ to say is all of this is very conflicting
Why don’t you make up your mind and then make a decision.”
And then the rapper responds on the behalf of North-East Indians. “I am me, tryin’ to fit in as an Indian citizen, I can’t pardon your ignorance for thinking I’m an immigrant.” He concludes: “I am Indian, let me be Indian.”