It is like deja vu all over again. Recall the horrific rape-murder in Delhi in December 2012. Recall how India, Indians & Indian culture were gang-raped by American & European media. Recall how facts were mangled and prejudice ran amok in articles in US media about India. We were first aghast and then livid about those expressions of blatant prejudice. So we wrote our response titled “Gang-Rape” of Indian Culture by US Media.
This week we felt like that all over again. We read an article about Ferguson that left us aghast and livid. This article was every bit as prejudiced and hateful about America as the articles in NYT, Washington Post, CNN & Reuters were about India in early 2013. This article was written by Seema Sirohi and published, as a Letter from Washington, by the Economic Times of India, a publication of the Times of India, under the title Can’t Americans be more honest about race?
Compare US Media’s blatant descriptions of India with Sirohi’s opening paragraphs:
- “The story of Ferguson through which black America seethes and white America mostly stays smug shows that the gaping wound of racism remains half-stitched as it has for hundreds of years.”
- “American society doesn’t like to acknowledge the wound or even believe it exists. That sore has no place in the mythical goodness of this vast land where people go about in “pursuit of happiness.”
The synonyms of “smug” are self-satisfied, complacent. You can call America many things but no one can sensibly call America as complacent or self-satisfied about what happened in Ferguson. There are different opinions, there are different way of looking at what happened but there is no denying the pain America feels about what happened in Ferguson, So to describe “white America” as “smug” is a blatant coloring of facts. And Sirohi’s contemptuous remark about “mythical goodness of this vast land” says more about her own passionate prejudice than anything about the American people.
Sirohi then proceeds to demonstrate her contempt for the US legal system:
- “Right now it’s all raw and shocking – how a grand jury can be snowed and misled by a prosecutor, how badly informed it can be on legal intricacies and how despite killing an unarmed boy, an unrepentant officer can be exonerated.”
Consider Sirohi’s words “snowed and misled” & “badly informed … on legal intricacies“. These words open a window into Sirohi’s contempt of ordinary Americans. Sadly, Sirohi is not alone in this regard. The majority of BrIndians (Brit-educated, Brit-obedient Indians) believe Americans to be generally stupid. To be fair, they feel the same about ordinary people everywhere. This is why India’s British-inherited legal system gives higher weight to “eminent” people and doesn’t permit juries in trials because they feel ordinary people can be “misled” by lawyers.
Frankly, Ms. Sirohi is the smug idiot here. The reason the Ferguson Grand Jury decided to not indict the police officer is that they saw all the evidence in the case and understood the legal “intricacies” involved, “intricacies” of self-defense and of justified shootings. Reasonable people can look at evidence differently and can come to different conclusions. But not Sirohi. She gives in to her contempt and expresses her prejudice:
- “Whites looking in see little wrong with the grand jury’s decision not to charge Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown in August. Even though many witnesses reported the suspect had raised his hands in a motion to surrender, the jury chose to believe Wilson who said Brown was “charging” at him. He felt so threatened that he pumped six bullets into Brown.”
Look at the sarcastic contempt in Sirohi’s line “he felt so threatened that he pumped six bullets into Brown“. She doesn’t bother to point out that other witnesses testified differently and some described a charge by Mr. Brown at the officer. Then she again expresses her contempt of the jury with her “chose to believe” usage.
This, in our opinion, is fairly typical of how Indian media reports on “sensational” news stories, They tend to become a part of the mob instead of remaining fair reporters of facts. In this, they are worse than the worst of NYT, Wash Post, Reuters & CNN et al who attacked India back in early 2013.
Just as her counterparts in American media trashed India for its inequalities, Sirohi trashed America for its symptoms rather than discuss the underlying causes:
- “The income disparity is sobering. White median household wealth is $91,405 while for blacks it is only $6,446 and the gap has tripled over the past 25 years. Only 43.5% of blacks own their homes compared to 73% of whites but they constitute nearly half of the 2.3 million in jails. They live in broken neighborhoods with broken schools and broken families.“
Frankly, Sirohi knows better. She knows that Indian-Americans, her own race, have done very well in America. The median income of an Indian American household is higher than that of the “White median household”. But then facts don’t seem to matter to Ms. Sirohi, not facts about the evidence presented, not facts about the legal considerations of the Ferguson case and not about how several non-white races have done in America.
As we opined above, this article by Ms. Sirohi reveals more about her own prejudice and shows her to be as bad if not worse than her peers in US media who attack India & Indian culture with similar prejudice. But Ms. Sirohi is better than her counterparts in America media in one respect. She did not use the Ferguson case to insult Christianity with the same side-swiping contempt that her NYT counterpart Ellen Barry used recently to insult an Avatar of a Hindu Representation of God.
Sirohi’s article made us recall an old comment from an American observer that US-India relations would be more cordial but for the media in both countries. The sad spectacle of US media gang-raping India & Indian people in early 2013 and now the hateful attack on America & American people by Ms. Sirohi in the Economic Times confirms this old tenet to us.
Perhaps President Obama and Prime Minister Modi can sign a deal that bans American media from India and Indian media from America. That might be the best thing the two leaders can do to build an enduring friendship between America and India.
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