Racism, the formula that does not work: The Tribune India


Rohit Mahajan

FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton, seven-time UK world champion, is a great motor racing champion. He’s 37 and has mellowed now, but at one time he was a hothead – any youngster driving a fast car in a high-adrenaline sport could be. Any criticism of him, if any, should be based on his conduct and actions, or his beliefs and comments – not the pigmentation of his skin. Yet it is something he has endured all his life, even in the West, which is unquestionably more educated and sensitive to issues such as racism and race relations than the developing or underdeveloped world.

Nelson Piquet, Formula 1 world champion in 1981, 1983 and 1987, hails from Brazil, a country still struggling with severe racial inequality. It is also home to the largest Catholic population in the world, and although the Catholic Church now espouses racial equality, it has always supported slavery and anti-Semitism well into the 20th century.

Piquet is 69 and although he has traveled the world and seen all kinds of people and cultures, he is clearly out of step with the times. Discussing Hamilton’s clash with Max Verstappen at last year’s British Grand Prix – after which Verstappen went off the track and hit the barriers – Piquet repeatedly used the ‘N’ for Hamilton , in reference to his black heritage.

Piquet, the son of a doctor and politician, spoke like a reactionary typical of high society.

Hamilton’s response reflected the frustration he felt, but it was measured and sensible. “I was a victim of racism and these negative, archaic narratives and undertones of discrimination,” he said. “I don’t know why we keep giving these old people a platform.”

“The elderly one platform” – this seems to be the operational part. In the larger scheme of things, Piquet and his ilk are irrelevant. The ideas and principles he defends fade away. It is very likely that many people of a certain age, having been immersed in bigotry and racism for more than 50 years of their lives, will not be receptive to new ideas. This is all the more true for followers of organized religion, who blindly accept books written hundreds of years ago as the truth.

Sadly, well into the 21st century, many of us are still tribal. Language, skin color, facial features, and even style of dress determine the allegiance of many of us. Back when human beings were hunter-gatherers, foragers, and wanderers, distrust of the unknown was a useful evolutionary tool. Familiarity then engenders a sense of security.

Now, however, we know that skin color and facial features have changed over time. Languages, clothing and cultures have evolved over time.

Science tells us that we are all of African descent, descendants of people who ventured out of this continent around 100,000 years ago. Migrating to different continents and adapting to different climatic conditions, human beings have evolved – the variation in skin color is the most striking aspect of this simultaneous and varied evolution that different groups have gone through for thousands of years. years.

Under the skin, we are the same. This simple fact cannot be grasped by those of us who still harbor pride in the tribe into which we were born. Piquet, at 69, cannot unlearn bigotry and learn compassion; his son Nelson Piquet Jr, having grown up in Germany, Monaco and Brazil, and being born in the 1980s, is more likely to break the chains of bigotry.

BCCI is commercial!

The Bombay High Court has ruled that the activities carried out by the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) are commercial in nature. This should come as no surprise – the IPL media rights auction for the next five-year cycle would fetch BCCI over Rs 48,000 crore, and if not trade, what is it? ‘is?

Judge Bharati Dangre of the Bombay High Court dismissed BCCI’s appeal against the findings of the Employees Insurance Tribunal, which had ruled that BCCI, since it is engaged in commercial activity, is covered by the Employment Insurance Act. Maharashtra State Employees Insurance.

“We can see that the BCCI carries out a commercial, commercial activity and draws money from the said activity”, judge Dangre judged.

BCCI’s assertion was to be an autonomous non-profit sports body; that it was neither a “shop” nor a “business establishment” within the meaning of the provisions of the Bombay Shop and Establishment Act.

Observing that the BCCI runs the IPL, “the busiest cricket league in the world”, Judge Dangre wrote: “I have no hesitation in asserting that the nature of the activities carried out by the Council is commercial in nature. .”

In 2018, BCCI sold Indian cricket broadcasting rights for Rs 6,138 crore for 2018-23; last month it sold the rights to broadcast the IPL for five years for Rs 48,390 crore. Yet he claims it’s a non-profit organization!

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