Having been born something called a Dutch Burgher in Sri Lanka and which I never could quite figure out what this was, my parents saw themselves as “white” and had a fear of me playing with “dark children.”
Even when finding the girl who became my wife and calling to tell them the good news was met by a number of very transparent questions: “She’s American? Blue eyes? No? Brown? Blonde hair? Is she.dark?”
No, she wasn’t “dark” and she remains just as beautiful today- inside and out- and the same intelligent, financially independent and career focused woman.
This all came back to me when I read the tome by a blogger named Anil Dash against Ashton Kutcher in “brown paint” portraying an Indian named “Raj” to advertise some product called PopChips.
I have no doubt that Mr. Dash is an intelligent man ad why he chose to have decided to rant against a B Grade actor and the manufacturers of a product, I must confess I have never heard of before, let alone tasted, I have no idea. But Anil Dash ranted and ranted on his blog and brought in all types of intellectual jargon to back up his case of racism.
Wait: Surely, Asians are the biggest racists of them all?
Think of my parents who feared me marrying someone “dark” or marrying anyone Chinese. Horrors of horrors!
Think of how Immigration officers in Hong Kong treat any single Filipinas, Thais or Indonesians coming into Hong Kong:
It’s back to the end of line for them as a little bit of power goes to the heads of these officers.
Do Hong Kong Chinese like Mainland Chinese- and vice versa?
Indians in Hong Kong are still called “Moh lah chais”- “black devils” and move way if they sit next to most locals on a bus, or tram…
Either that or they hold their noses as they believe every dark skinned person suffers from body odor.
Hell, many won’t even come to an Indian restaurant through fear of “curry smell” getting into their clothes.
Look, having been in the ad and music industries, I have seen real racism and not this rubbish Anil Dash has decided to make a mountain out of a molehill.
Which markets wanted to purchase music by artists from the Philippines? None.
Could Thai artists make it anywhere else in Asia other than their own market? Of course not.
Same with Indonesian, Singaporean and Malaysian artists.
The only “crossover” artists were from Taiwan who could have fan bases in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Today, we have K-Pop from Korea- but this is just a trend and K-Pop “idols” seem to have been hatched in some weird genetic laboratory run by the Mad Hatter and the Stepford Wives.
As for Anil Dash, he pisses me off as methinks He Doth Protesteth Too Much and thought he had found his 15 minutes of fame.
What he did was over-react, he made a few others knobs over-react and become tweetering twits and made Much Ado About Nothing and gave these chips or whatever the fuck they are, more free publicity than they would have ever had. The Popchippers must have loved it all. Hell, as someone who knows a few things about advertising, even the colours of the packaging “look Indian.”
I will leave you with the great Peter Sellers- in brown face- and playing a dumbass Indian actor in Hollywood in the hilarious “The Party.”
Many still watch this movie today- but do we think Peter Sellers was being a “racist”? Of course not.
Did the French get upset when he played the bumbling Inspector Clouseau? Non, mes amis.
And what about all the actors originally from the Sub-continent and living in the UK, Canada and the States who put on Indian accents, shake their heads and play the token “Raj”?
Anil Dash has got it very wrong and his holier-than-thou writing about someone as useless as Ashton Kutcher shows two people who seem to deserve each other.
To a Sri Lankan like myself, he comes across as someone with way too much time on his hands and yet another “typical” hysterical Indian one sees in movies and television series screaming, “Goodness Gracious, Me” and banging on their tablas.