DEAR ROGER : KNIGHTS OF THE RAJ
23 november 2017
What the fish curry is Roger actually saying?
Even if said in English, it still makes no sense whatsoever.
From conception, it is clear that Roger's time with these "settlers" is purely experimental.
His view of them is so beyond default that he has nurtured a “need to record them”. With that as well, comes the assumption that these brown and black bodies are available for white inspection, and the fact that he quite willingly accepts praise for doing this only exerts this colonial mindset, this right further. My view of him is beyond exhausted.
The way in which he describes his “study [of] a social milieu which was more or less unknown to the outside world” is nothing short of ignorant, uneducated and insensitive.
You mean your white world, Roger.
This is not the year South Asian culture finally gets celebrated - no white lens will ever validate this for me. Celebration of South Asians and their culture has no beginning and no end.
On a separate note, I want to point out that clearly these brown people welcomed him graciously and shared their talent with him happily - this is often what non-white people from their respective countries do, then and now.
But please understand this carefully: you are still problematic.
This does not constitute an open invitation to exploit, use and monetarily or not profit from their lived experience. I’m quite sure that if asked, they would appreciate your perceived appreciation. But look deeper: what choice do they have? Having been robbed of their rightful inventions, skills, and culture norms as well as the chance to grow economically and socially through solitary merit, any opportunity to survive ought to be taken.
Within their countries, a white person is [dark]magic - a fascination because it is everything they are made to believe they want to be, need to be.
As people who have a somewhat displaced lived experience, while British-born constructs and ethnically-blooded heritage clash and intertwine simultaneously, we are able to step outside of racial limitations at times in a reflective albeit complex way.
In this case, those who are Bengali and have a lived experience, sense of logic and consciousness that lives in Bangladesh with them will not do that, nor would they need to. This is often why non-residents are able to smell the curry-scented corruption from miles and residents unknowingly assimilate into their own exoticisation.
But we’re in Birmingham - so when will we provide the so-called diversity in this city with overdue, appropriate representation?
While I can appreciate that there are certain white gems in the world who contribute to giving rise to the voice of minority demographics, true appreciation of the struggle comes from being a silent partner.
White people: do not steal the platform we so rarely get to use to speak up.
Brown people: do not waste your chance to speak up progressively.
It seems that Roger, is in fact the one who cannot speak in his mother tongue.