So, today, the kid and I were discussing tennis. And I was saying that there is not much grace or rallying left in the Wimbledon anymore, it’s just brute force. And to prove my point I said, look at Venus Williams… She leaps with the grace of a gazelle and hits with the power of a gorilla. And the men too. Like gorillas with sledgehammers. And he completely lost it. And short of screaming (which he couldn’t do on IM) he did everything he could to accuse me of being racist.
So just because a gorilla is percieved to be ugly and brutal and I happened to compare the force used by a non-white tennis player to the power of one of our lesser evolved cousins – in addition to making other comparisons, I must add – does that make me racist? In all due honesty, a gorilla is a fine creature. Powerful, intelligent, almost erect spine, almost vegetarian, tree loving and family type. That doesn’t mean I would keep one for a pet. But to me, it’s not as nasty a creature as, say, a hairy blanket-worm that bites. (Blanket-worm lovers will differ with me on that issue…)
Now, this raises a more interesting question. What if I called Anil Kapoor a hairy gorilla? What would that be? Just plain insulting or would that be racist as well? We all know the answer. And it would not be racist because the word used to describe the colour of his skin and the colour of a gorilla’s fur is not the same.
So, that’s it? That’s the depth of our concern? Skin deep?
I sometimes wish we could admit that deep down, we have preferences for race, gender and lifestyle that manifest in our likes and dislikes. And I wish the only crime would be to bring these biases into the workplace and in displaying a lack of respect for all individuals.
I wish we lived in a world were we understood our differences and respected each other as human beings. And I wish personal likes and dislikes did not have to be justified. I wish I lived in a world where I did not belileve that in the near future, everyone would have to maintain a “diversity ratio” in their preference of friends, teachers, co-workers, actors and sports-persons just to prove that they’re not biased.
And I wish I could pass cheeky comments on anyone I liked without having to view them through the filter of race, gender and politically sensitive issues. For that, I have to believe that the “other kind” can’t take a joke as a joke and to me, that is really racist.