Racism and Law
In a world full of differences, racism plays a very crucial part. Whispers of racism have been very evident in the country. Racism is the belief that different races have different characteristics which distinguishes them into two groups that is the superior group and the inferior group. Articles 14 to 18 of the Constitution of India promise right to equality amongst all but it seems to be violated when it comes to racism.
RACISM DURING COVID-19
When the world was fighting the pandemic, a couple of instances proved how north-eastern people are discriminated on the basis of their appearance, region and much more. We have all been aware how the people from the North-East are treated in India. Nobody leaves a chance to pass comments like ‘Chinki’ or ‘Momo’ every time they come across somebody from North India, even if the intentions are harmless but passing such comments on people is truly discriminatory in nature. Normalizing such insults as identifiers puts the onus on the person being insulted to figure out if they are being degraded, mocked or both. Racism has been deep rooted in India and has existed since the beginning of the civilization.
Despite human rights and recognition of the issue by law, discrimination is a major problem even in the 21st century. The fundamental rights along with the Article 14 guarantees equality to the citizens of India but it seems to be violated in many cases. During the outbreak of COVID-19, a North-Eastern girl was spat on and was called ‘CORONA’ in Mumbai the discrimination did not end here, another case of racial discrimination came into light when a girl was spat on in Delhi and was denied essential groceries in a nearby market.
A number of people are also discriminated on the basis of their colour. Colourism has been always been one of the oppressive structures that curl around our society. The notion of inferiority around ‘darker skinned people’ and the supremacy and purity around fair/lighter people is rooted in caste hierarchies and colonial submission.
Internalization of white supremacy during colonial days ensured India’s obsession with fairness. Casteist oppression also uses the tool of colourism. Upper caste communities justify their racial superiority over Dalits and Adivasis by associating fairer skin with their ‘genetic composition’.
SAY NO TO DISCRIMINATION
Equality is not a luxury it is a necessity. All kinds of discrimination is unlawful and unethical. Individuals are discriminated due to gender, race, mobility, technical knowledge, color and much more. The discrimination is of various kinds but the reason behind it is the same, mistreating people due to something they do not have a control over. Given a choice no person would want to be a part of the weaker section of the society, but just because some people are helpless and are bound to be the part of a particular community, it does not give us or anybody the right to treat them differently.
We have all suffered this in numerous ways. India is defined by diversity; we must cherish the differences and preserve its beauty. We should come together as one in order to abolish the stigma from our country. The idea of equality is the first step in the upliftment and development of a country; it has to start from us. Attaining equality is important for us on different levels, it should be a responsibility of every citizen to treat each other equally and say NO to discrimination.
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION LAWS IN INDIA
1. Article 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of the Indian Constitution deals with Equality before the law, Social equality and equal access to public areas, Abolition of untouchability, Abolition of titles, Equality in the matters of public employment.
2. Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 – Guarantees equal pay to both men and women at work places.
3. Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes ( Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 – It is the act of the Parliament which was enacted to prevent atrocities against scheduled caste and scheduled tribes.
4. Hindu Succession Act, 1956 - It is a Act of the Parliament of India enacted to amend and codify the law relating to or unwilled succession, among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. The Act lays down a uniform and comprehensive system of inheritance and succession into one Act. The Hindu woman's limited estate is abolished by the Act. Any property possessed by a Hindu female is to be held by her absolute property and she is given full power to deal with it and dispose it of by will as she likes. Parts of this Act were amended in the Hindu Succession Act, 2005.
Every time we react more strongly to being called a racist than we do to the impact of racism, we lose the ability to see how we are existing within and upholding racist system. Our society uses racism as a barometer of personal goodness. People of dark color are not less of human beings. The idea is racist and rooted in the white supremacist. Discrimination in the working of justice has lasting consequences for the future generations. The commitment to equality should be a 360 degree campaign and should not just be limited to the states. We are all parts of a whole. Every piece counts, irrespective of race, caste and other discriminatory notions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This blog has been authored by Parini Bajaj who is a 2nd Year B.B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) student at New Law College, Bharati Vidyapeeth University, Pune.
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