Stories about racism

Racism overshadowed Ozil in Germany, but at Arsenal, a season of magic awaits

In the summer of 2010, Mesut Ozil burst onto the scene of international football. Already making waves at Werder Bremen, the then 21-year-old playmaker became the fuel for the German machine. His creativity and pace went on to define German football for the next six years, with Ozil being a vital part of Germany’s 2014 World Cup winning squad. It was also that summer that my obsession began with Ozil. His creativity and pace defined German football but his relentlessness and commitment defined why I fell in love with the sport. The five-time German Player of the Year, who has earned ...

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Is Imran Khan the Donald Trump of Pakistan?

If you were to look back and think of one of the most unbelievable decisions made in the past five years, Donald Trump getting elected as President of the United States would perhaps top the list. Just imagining the “strongest” democracy in the world actually handing over its reigns to the man without a plan makes you feel a little bit better about the state of your own democracy. You think, maybe America is worse than us, for what sane mind would ever vote Trump into power?  Well, all this thinking made us wonder, who is Trump’s equivalent in our ...

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Quantico’s apology is a slap in the face of every Muslim misrepresented by Hollywood

The past week has caused uproar in the international media, after a Hollywood show had the misfortune of treading conflicting political grounds. ABC, an American television studio, later issued an apology to Indian fans after its crime drama Quantico portrayed Hindu nationalists in a negative light, as they planned a terrorist plot and tried to frame Pakistan for it. The scene from Quantico’s most recent episode, The Blood of Romeo, received prompt backlash from Indians after Priyanka Chopra, who plays the lead character of an FBI agent, holds up sacred Hindu prayer beads as evidence that the plotter, who planned to detonate ...

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How Cheena Chhapra showed the fashion world what ‘real’ women look like

I was nervous as I entered a room full of ladies, anticipating the scrutiny and the consequent remarks. The response confirmed my fears; right after greetings, I was bombarded with remarks about the weight gain and also the dreaded query about whether I was pregnant. Someone rightly said that don’t ask a woman if she is pregnant unless you see the baby’s head crowning. I guess the question is aimed more at making the person uneasy rather than the actual literal intention. The first thing that anyone notices about you these days, whether it’s in pictures or in person, ...

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No, you may not call me a ‘Paki’

There was a strange time when I was growing up, where I didn’t fully understand the dual identity I had as a Pakistani-Canadian. I thought I was just like everyone else, until I was nine-years-old. At school, a notice was given to students with information about how to keep hair clean to avoid lice. A young white boy scoffed at the notice, and announced that the only people who needed this reminder were the “Paki” kids. This was my first taste of prejudice, but it became all too familiar as I continued to grow up in a diverse, yet inharmonious society. Fast ...

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For a nation obsessed with fair and lovely, are we really surprised at #Blackface?

If there is one thing Pakistani TV is good at, it is never failing to surprise audiences with how low it can go in its attempts to “entertain”. The most recent instance of such an effort took place on Sanam Jung’s morning show, Jaago Pakistan Jaago, where a bridal makeup competition segment required participants to turn naturally fair-skinned models into a darker complexion, and then give them a bridal makeover. As I came across pictures of the models, with their faces transformed to dramatically darkened skin tones and dressed as brides, it disturbed me to see yet another racist message being propagated ...

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Is the Sana Safinaz campaign actually racist, or are we just selective of our outrage?

Social media may have been created for people to be more closely connected, but it would not be an overstatement to suggest that today it is largely just a tool for people to share their outrage with the world. The most recent case is of a new campaign launched by Sana Safinaz, where the models being surrounded by natives of the Maasai tribe in Africa has generated a lot of backlash on social media. The response has been unprecedented, with people suggesting this is blatant racism and is exploiting the culture of the native tribes. Of course, many marketing campaigns have ...

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Black Panther is hypnotic, imaginative and nothing like anything you would have ever seen

After spending thousands of hours watching films over the years, I rarely come across anything that I haven’t already watched before in a slightly different guise. It doesn’t necessarily mean that we have run out of good cinema. It is just that someone like me who is a prolific movie-watcher hardly gets to experience a work of cinematic art these days, which is truly novel. But to my utter surprise, I did manage to find such a gem and that too in the most unlikeliest of places. Imagine my astonishment when I went in to watch a Marvel movie ...

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‘Victoria and Abdul’ wittily and poignantly portrays the bond between an authoritative British queen and her Indian-Muslim munshi

Victoria and Abdul, the latest offering by director Stephen Frears, is a cautiously patterned yet realistic biographical drama about the deep friendship between the Queen of England and her Indian-Muslim servant. The story of this rather unbelievable bond is all about reminiscence and loss, making it immensely pleasing to watch a historical narrative presented with such convincing solemnity. Based on eminent author Shrabani Basu’s book of the same name, Victoria and Abdul is set in 1887 against the backdrop of the queen’s golden jubilee – the 50th year of her ascension to the throne of England. Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), ...

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‘Basmati Blues’ unsurprisingly does what Hollywood has always done – exoticise India’s ‘otherness’

In case you were wondering, the white man’s burden is still alive and well! Even though it is the 21st century, while India is launching US satellites into space and is the world’s fastest growing major economy, the country’s poverty and social ills continue be alluring for moviemakers in the West. Falling back on clichés is a remarkably effortless way to create content for mass entertainment. Every culture offers ready stereotypes, and there are a large number of people in other parts of the world who readily lap up the concocted and twisted narratives. It is not surprising then, that ...

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