Sunday, January 06, 2008
Indian Cricket Player Harbhajan Singh Suspended for Racist Remarks Against Australian Player
The BBC reported that Harbhajan Singh (pictured left) , a member of the Indian cricket team was found guilty of calling Australian cricket player Andrew Symonds a "monkey" during a recent match between the two teams.
Referee Mike Proctor found Singh guilty after a four-hour official hearing. Symonds is the only non-white player on the Australian team, which beat India by 122 runs.
This is not the first time Indian cricket players and fans have vented their frustrations by using racial slurs and gestures against the 32 year-old Symonds, who as born to West Indian parents in England. Singh's suspension comes on the heels of four Indian fans being banned from a one day international match in Mumbai (Bombay) back in October.
Photographs submitted to officials showed fans using monkey gestures when Symonds came up to bat, both Symonds and Australian team captain Ricky Ponting have lodged complaints of gestures and monkey chants by Indians fans in earlier matches - charges Indian cricket officials dismissed as a "cultural misunderstanding".
Singh is no stranger to controversy, besides his offensive on-field behavior he was sharply criticized by Sikh leaders in January 2006 for removing the traditional head-covering worn by Sikh men in an ad for Royal Stag Whiskey.
While the actions of a few fans certainly do not reflect the views of all Indians, on more than one occasion I have personally experienced subtle and overt prejudiced behavior by men of Indian descent driving cabs or working in bodegas here in New York.
Racism is infectious and I think some Indians, who themselves experienced prejudice because of their status in India's notorious caste system, sometimes project their resentment on African Americans in this nation as they all too quickly absorb the negative perceptions that result from the entrenched racism in this country.