Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty was made to feel bad (and cry!) because she is brown-skinned. As part of the UK reality show, Celebrity Big Brother, Shilpa has had to face racial barbs from other inmates. While some dismissed it as plain jealousy, most see this a racist act.
Small wonder it has raised quite a storm among the surfers. While it was expected that surfers of Indian extraction would be loudest in their denouncement of such demeaning behaviour, what was heartening to see is that many white men and women wrote to say how disgusted they were at such behaviour.
Here's how it went:
Purushothaman from Kannur in Kerala felt that "Shilpa is not only a beautiful star but also an 'iron lady'. Racist devils never succeed, they simply die out."
Anjum from Hyderabad also rooted for Shilpa.
"Shilpa, keep it up! We are all for you. Show them what modern Indian woman is all about and what to expect if turned into a foe," she said.
Richard from Copenhagen, Denmark, felt there was a jealousy angle to the event apart from the racist slur.
"All these 'hi society' guys and girls suffer from a complex when someone more intelligent and more attractive comes in contact with them. They should be taught a lesson. We Indians are far more smart and have a much better sense of humour than these goras."
Alka Girdhar from Sydney, Australia, felt this incident has just exposed the underbelly of white European cultures. The bottomline is that it is rude and racist by nature much in contrast to Indian hospitality.
She said, "It is disgusting that Shilpa Shetty, the Bollywood actress, has been treated harshly in Celebrity Big Brother just because she is an Indian."
"Indian hospitality is a contrast to all this outright rudeness and racism. Whenever some Western singer or movie star visits India, Indians really welcome them; rather go crazy about them. All this makes one wonder though. Why do Indians have to be so obsessed with anything and everything Western? Why do we glorify and ape the West whereas Westerners are just in love with only their own culture?"
"It's high time we respected ourselves if we want others to respect us."
R Mathjmugan from Tamarin, Mauritius, said the incident showed how hollow the West actually was. All talk of equality certainly is not to be practiced in real life.
"However much they try portray themselves as more civilised and superior than people from the non-western world, their baser instincts and hypocrisy cannot be hidden. Shilpa has brought out the worst in them for the world to see."
"Besides, Indians who love to be patronised by westerners and consider such or mistake such a kind of behaviour as a status enhancing one basically reveal their own inferiority complex and subservient attitude."
Vijay from USA was not surprised Shilpa had to face such behaviour.
"I am not surprised that this happened to Shilpa. I have worked in the UK and experienced firsthand and that's one of the reasons I wanted to move from there. But it takes a while before you realise that you are not reaching your goals because racism is hindering it."
"One has to recognise the fact that if it can happen to people like Shilpa, what about other people who work there? But I also realise that these things happen all over Europe."
Rehman from London, UK said these comments were not directed at her but rather at her community, ie, South Asians.
"I believe that all the comments made against her at not directed at her in person. They are meant for the entire continent. These Europeans hate us. I hope Indian and Pakistani government official will ask their counterparts and sue the Channel 4 for broadcasting such comments. I hope Celebrity Big Brother, Channel 4 and UK government come forward and apologise to her."
Some white people wrote in to express their embarrassment.
James from Houston, USA, felt that such people were a despicable lot or as he put it "white trash".
"Shilpa should forget this bad behaviour by these unfriendly, ill-mannered, unethical, illiterate and uneducated white trash. Yes, we call them white trash, because they themselves have no clue where they belong or where they come from. They still live in early 1900s, thinking they are rulers of India."
"So cheer up and let's see what happens."
Adam from London, UK, wondered how the inmates who abused Shilpa found her using her fingers to eat so revolting thought nothing of bunching into McDonald's burgers with their hands!
"She is a victim of racist bullying. Especially the fact that Danielle and Jo said it was dirty because she ate with her hands, referring to the fact that Indians eat with their hands."
"Funny thing is every western person in McDonald's eats a burger with his/her hands!"
Melissa from Cambridge, England, said rather sarcastically what an "English welcome" this had been for Shilpa!
"It just shows money and status don't mean that you have morals. People who can't even speak proper English are treating a foreigner so badly. That just shows what an 'English welcome' feels like."
All views and opinions presented in this article are solely those of the surfers and do not necessarily represent those of HindustanTimes.com.