Is calling someone a monkey racist? | india | Hindustan Times
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Is calling someone a monkey racist?

Some of the surfers of our Website feel calling a person of colour a monkey is to suggest he/she is subhuman, and that is unacceptable. Join the debate on Hindustantimes.com.

india Updated: Jan 09, 2008 21:08 IST

Here is a compilation of some of the responses sent to us by our readers to the question -- if an Indian calls someone "monkey", is it racist?

Chupke Chupke from Anantpur says
Calling a person donkey, monkey etc may be tolerated within India. However, calling someone "monkey", whether with a racist intent or not, is certainly inviting trouble overseas. Bollywood should be more careful in permitting the use of "Kutthey Kameeney", "Gadhe ke Auladh", "Ullu ke Patte" etc in Hindi movies.

Vibhor Jonathan from Anantpur says
Names of several animals are used in the Indian context but they are not 'racist'. They rather describe certain behaviours. For example, 'donkey' (foolish), 'owl' (slow-witted), 'pig' (filthy), 'monkey' (naughty), 'dog' (mean), 'cow' (gullible). It's time the Australians become familiar with the Indian Lingo!

S Ganguly from United States of America (sganguly@hotmail.com) says
I never consider monkey a racist remark. But Australians have given a big publicity to the new nickname of Andrew Symonds.

Rupesh Shah from Bikaner says
Come on. Monkey is not racism.

Robert Moore from Australia says
Yes it is racist. It is a well established racist term in European football and elsewhere. It has history already in India/Australia cricket contests, having been offensively directed at Andrew Symonds. It is known to be a racist term, and if it used it is racism.

Colin Caudell from Australia (ccaudell@henzells.com.au) says
The article in the Australian was right. This is more about politics and flexing muscles than cricket. What has gone around before comes around. Maybe you should read the stories of the past first before picking up the ball and throwing it. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23025954-601,00.html Refer Peter Lalor 9/1/08. Calling a black person a monkey can easily be considered racist.You must look behind the word and understand the context in which it was said.

Bushan Bhat from Canada says
Calling a 'monkey' is not a racist remark in the Indian perception. It may even be an affectionate way of addressing someone clever and naughty. Infact calling an Indian a bastard is much more offending.

Asif Hossain from United States of America (shripm@aol.com) says
Absolutely not. This is a common word used in South Asian countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Friends use it against each other, parents use it for naughty children. Sometimes even schoolteachers use it incase of naughty students.

Vipin Sharma from Canada (Vsharma47@rogers.com) says
It can definitely not be catagorised as racist. People here in Canada sometimes call each other nuts, chicken or turkey. Symonds, take a chill pill buddy.

Joginder Chadha from Delhi says
It is not a racist remark.

Seema Sharma from United Kingdom (seema_sharma@hotmail.com) says
No, monkey, donkey are words of common use in India.

Sumit Gupta from United Kingdom (sumitgupta_mit@yahoo.com) says
Whether a comment is offensive or not is only determined by the fact that towards whom is it directed.

Simran Singh from Thiruvananthapuram (badasspunjabi2005@yahoo.com) says
No not at all. When the universe calls the Australians kangaroos they do not feel offended then I do not understand why are they feeling offended with the word monkey.

Hemanth Kumar from Bangalore (hemanthmn@yahoo.com) says
No, it is not a racist word at all.

Ritu Aggarwal from Australia (ritu.au@gmail.com) says
No it is not. Monkey is our god, the Lord Hanuman. So it is not a bad word for us at all. No one should feel offended.

Sunil P from New Zealand (skpp@hotmail.com) says
Not at all.. but if a monkey is called Symonds, that's racism.

Rajesh Mathur from Canada (mathur3@hotmail.com) says
I don't think so. It's synonym Vaanar is used respectfully for Hindu God Hanuman. Is that "racist"?

Ramji Abinashi From United Kingdom says
Monkey chants are generally recognised across the world as anti black people. We should learn to respect this understanding. The Indian reaction to this incident is just amazing - it almost looks like "Do what we want, or else...."

Sachin Khanijow From Delhi says
Depending on the tone .. but yes it is racist.

Vally DebFrom United States of America (valmontdebonair@gmail.com) says
No matter what, if it is a comment meant to degrade a person it is racist.

Srinivasa T From Bangalore says
No

Krish RaghavanFrom Chennai (swatikrish@gmail.com) says
This is not sportsmanship. When Andrew Symonds was offended by this term during their visit to India last year, why provoke him again by calling him a monkey? If that word is not uttered, then Harbhajan should'nt be punished otherwise a ban is appropriate.

Sachin Khanijow From Delhi says
Depending on the tone .. but yes it is racist.

Vally Deb From United States of America (valmontdebonair@gmail.com) says
No matter what, if it is a comment meant to degrade a person it is racist.

Srinivasa T From Bangalore says
No

Krish Raghavan From Chennai (swatikrish@gmail.com) says
This is not sportsmanship. When Andrew Symonds was offended by this term during their visit to India last year, why provoke him again by calling him a monkey? If that word is not uttered, then Harbhajan should'nt be punished otherwise a ban is appropriate.

Zohaib Khan From Pakistan (zohaibkhan01@hotmail.com) says
Not really. Atleast not in our part of the world.

Narine Singh From Canada (narines@hotmail.com) says
The next time you call your little comedian son, "You cute little monkey", you could get a blast from Symonds, Bucknor and Ponting. So be careful about what you say.

Atul Shah From Anantpur (atul103@yahoo.com) says
No it is not. We all call our kids monkey at times.

Ram Gopal From Anantpur (ramgopalverman@gopal.varma.com) says
Yes

Samir Bhargava From Kota (samir_eck@yahoo.com) says
Monkeys were our ancestors. So such a comment cannot be called a racist comment. Donkey, however, could be.

Sumeet Sikka From United States of America (sikkasumeet@hotmail.com) says
It is racist no matter how you look at it.

Anil Kumar From United States of America says
No, it can't be racist. I believe the phrase 'quit monkeying around' is common in most languages and cultures. I would be surprised if it is not used in Australia.

Sarosh Hamid From United States of America (saroshhamid@rediffmail.com) says
It is worse than any other racist remark.

Prof Krishan Dev SharmaFrom Delhi (kdsharma@yahoo.com) says
'Monkey' is certainly not a racial remark.