The whirlwind of racist hate crimes began with an alleged drug overdose. After an Indian teenager died, his family filed a report against five Nigerian men on charges of drug peddling, abduction and murder. Later, a postmortem revealed no evidence of a drug overdose and the men were released. African students peacefully gathered to protest against the arrest of the Nigerian men. Indians revolted with a counter-protest that, unlike the African students’ assembly, dove into drastic violence. According to Officer Amir Dikshit, a mob of 500 to 600 Indians attacked two African students. A horrifying video posted by the Association of African Students in India exposes the filthy actions of the mob. Indians hurtled metal objects—from sticks to breaking trash cans—at two innocent men.
While Indian media has been quick to cover the attack, few have been ready to address the racism flooding the situation.
Sonia Singh, a NDTV anchor took the lead when she said, “Just look at how India reacts whenever there is any kind of racist attack against Indians in other parts of the world, but do we ever stop and think how we treat those of other nationalities who live in India?”
No, apparently not. How long, then, has the anti-blackness penetrated South Asian culture? The racism likely began with the Indian Ocean slave trade. Beginning around the 4th century, the trade routes were first controlled by Arab and Swahili traders. The traders capture the Bantu people from modern-day Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania. Countries including India and the Indian Ocean islands held plenty of customers. Muslims continued on to enslave Europeans, Indians and Chinese, yet the trade began with India partaking in the enslavement of Africans. This, then, was when the anti-blackness rooted and continued to grow in the 19th century as Indians traveled to the New World as indentured servants to compete with the newly emancipated Afro-Creole people. The racism in the South Asian community ravaged like weeds across the world.
Africans should feel safe and welcome in India and any Asian country. Until then, every Indian and every South Asian and every Asian must burn this anti-blackness from their culture.