The South Asian diaspora in the UK often becomes the victim of “casual racism” but it can’t be compared to what the Black community has to endure in everyday life, feels former England spinner of Indian origin Monty Panesar.
Speaking to PTI , Panesar said the racial profiling of the Black community has to end in his country and the authorities should prepare a five-year plan to eradicate the menace.
“If someone is driving a fancy car here with tinted windows and he happens to black, he is six times more likely to be stopped by the police than others. So, the fear of the cops is in the everyday life of the Black community here.
“That is what my Black friends tell me. They go to a supermarket store, the general mindset is that he could be here for shoplifting. If I keep something in my pocket, there won’t be added attention but they go through constant tension of being caught even though they have not done anything,” said Panesar, who took 167 wickets in 50 Tests.
Like the rest of the cricketing community, the 38-year-old too was moved by the stirring speech delivered by West Indian great Michael Holding against racism on day one of the first Test at Southampton.
“There should be a five-year plan for accelerated change. If no changes are made after giving speeches, then there is no point. The speech that Michael Holding gave, I have not seen anyone else delivering a message so powerfully like he did. He hit the nail on the head.
“And what better way to end racism than through cricket, through sport,” said Panesar, whose parents migrated to England from India in the 1970s.
Having born and brought up in England, Panesar said he and his community have experienced casual racism but the blacks have had it a lot tougher than them.
“The South Asian community also faces casual racism but nothing like what the Black community faces on a daily basis. Having said that, Sikh community has been doing social work for decades and has been spreading the message of love and that people have appreciated and they love us back.
“But when I talk to my Black friends, they fear getting caught by the cops even though they have not done anything wrong. It is high time we stop stereotyping them. They should be educated, promoted to have the white collar jobs like others.
“Sub-consciously we are so prejudiced against the Black community that we don't realise it, we don’t accept it. We need to get it out of our system.”
Panesar, who played for England from 2006 to 2013, said he was never racially discriminated during his time with the national team.
“I did not face it to be honest. I was most worried about doing my job properly so that that I don’t get an earful from the captain,” he said on a lighter note.
“If you are in a team, naturally you would have more things in common with the members of your community (be it Hindu, Muslim or Christian). But you must make the effort of mingling with all your teammates. It is very important in a team environment,” Panesar pointed out.
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