US diplomat in row over 'skin dirty & dark like Tamilians' remark

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by nrj, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    CHENNAI: A US diplomat was caught in a row after her remarks of "dirty and dark" Tamilians, prompting the American Consulate here to term them as "inappropriate".

    "I was on a 24-hour train trip from Delhi to Orissa. But, after 72 hours, the train still did not reach the destination... and my skin became dirty and dark like the Tamilians," US Vice-Consul Maureen Chao said, going down memory lane two decades ago when she was a student.

    In a speech at the SRM University, Chao also said, "Some 20 years ago, I was a student like you and had an opportunity to do a semester abroad. I chose to come to India, fascinated by the culture and religion. I travelled across villages to understand the culture better. I was amazed at the graciousness and friendliness of the people."

    Going into a damage-control mode following her controversial remarks, the US Consulate here said, "During the speech Ms. Chao made an inappropriate comment. Ms. Chao deeply regrets if her unfortunate remarks offended anyone, as that was certainly not her intent".

    The consulate said in a release that the diplomat was describing "positive memories from her own study abroad experiences in India 23 years ago".

    As US Secretary Hillary Clinton recently noted, the US-India partnership was based on shared values of democracy, liberty and respect for religious and cultural diversity, the Consulate release said.

    "The US Consulate in Chennai and the US Mission in India are committed to upholding these shared values", it said.

    US diplomat in row over 'skin dirty & dark like Tamilians' remark - The Times of India
     
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  3. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    The timing of this report is a bit suspicious.

    Western Diplomats making racist comments is nothing new.

    This comes weeks after the Secretary of state makes an unprecedented meeting with the leader of the concerned state. A meeting that is believed to be more than just a courtesy call.

    Does some body want to create ill feelings towards the US now that so many Tamils are happy over the US move regarding SL?
     
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  4. Phenom

    Phenom Regular Member

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    ^^

    You have to be joking, She called our people dirty and dark publicly and you are worried about some conspiracy theory. Obviously nobody forced her to use those words.

    Also, such comments against Tamils are very common and often made by other Indians as well. A few months ago, one of the Malayale actor Jayaram made a similar statement about Tamils being dark and ugly.
     
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  5. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

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    and so what difference does it make if people call us dirty and dark? and when i say "us" i mean it as an indian and no i have nothing to do with tamil nadu, and the same person also said "I was amazed at the graciousness and friendliness of the people."

    we give too much importance to people who dont need it!

    is it really worth all the attention? and if it is, what difference did it make to us? do we have so low a self esteem that we get agitated on every thing that people have to say about us?

    this is where i see the chinese so much better, they give a damn, call then whatever and the best way they reply back is what has become envy of everyone around the world, their development.
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    This is unusual that it is a US diplomat making this statement when Obama is in power.
     
  7. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    What the US consulate did not clarify is whether it was inappropriate on part of the US diplomat, to have held such a view or merely expressing it in public.But i guess we wont be hearing any clarification on that anytime soon.
     
  8. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

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    outrageous... they have no right to make fun of an ethnic group like this... they are racist irrespective of the education or liberation they get... govt of India should take hit back strongly.
     
  9. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    20 years years if the young would be diplomat had taken the train from Chennai to Thiruvannamalai,alighted at the station and made short trek to the Arunacahala hill,she would have made acquaintance with one of the greatest 'dirty and dark skinned' Tamilian,on either side of the cauvery,nay the greatest living thing that ever lived,Sri Bagawan Ramana Maharshi.Had the would be diplomat spent an hour in the hall,where the Maharshi lived all his life,she would had an entirely different experience to narrate,something that exists beyond the skins.

     
  10. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    GOI won't do anything because it is not against a neta of UPA that htis has been said (remember sheila dixit case?). This is against the common Indians they've said.

    Somehow whites are funny... they've got the worst skin on this planet in terms of texture, feel and appearance (full of freckles) and they talk about others. :rotfl:.

    छिले हुए आलू... :lol:
     
  11. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    What i meant was such comments by western Diplomats and leaders against colored people are not new.I was only suspecting the timing of this report and the publicity it is getting.

    Don't you know of Henry kissinger and Nixon's remark about Indians and Indira?
    Do you think they are always use extremely honourable words when they talk about others in our country or for that matter the Chinese?

    This was obviously a stupid statement. But it is not good for us to have a victim mentality.

    "Other Indians"?_ Are they White Caucasians? There are a million things that can be said about all people all over the world.

    Coming to the Malayalee actor part _ why do we have so many non Tamilians in our film industry in the first place? More than half the heroines seem to be Malayalee.
    So what if some guy is proud of his complexion. Even Pigs have White skin.
    More over, you would very well know what we think of the Culture of some other communities. There is something to look down upon in everybody.
    So we should not give it too much importance.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  12. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    US diplomat regrets her 'dirty, dark' remark on Tamilians

    CHENNAI: A diplomat at the US consulate here Saturday expressed her deep regrets over her remark - "I became dirty and dark, like a Tamilian" - that has stirred a major controversy.

    Vice Consul of the US Consulate Maureen Chao made the remark at a function Friday at SRM University, around 40 km from here.

    The US Consulate has also termed her comment as inappropriate.

    However, students and officials of the university maintain there was nothing racial about the US official's remark.

    In a statement put up on its website, the US Consulate said: "Yesterday (Friday) at a Study Abroad Orientation Program at SRM University, Vice Consul Maureen Chao gave a speech describing positive memories from her own study abroad experiences in India 23 years ago."

    "During the speech, Ms. Chao made an inappropriate comment. Ms. Chao deeply regrets if her unfortunate remarks offended anyone, as that was certainly not her intent."

    Chao, while narrating her experience in India in 1989 when she came to the country on a semester programme, spoke about her 72-hour train journey from New Delhi to Orissa.

    She had the audience in splits while recalling her experience in exchanging her lower berth in the train compartment for an upper berth with a fellow passenger.

    Chao said when she came out of the train after the journey, her skin got dusty and dirty and, after a pause, added that "I became dirty and dark, like a Tamilian", landing herself into an avoidable controversy.

    While non-Tamil students at the SRM University applauded her remarks, many others were upset.

    "As Secretary Clinton recently noted, the US-India partnership is based on our shared values of democracy, liberty, and respect for religious and cultural diversity. The US Consulate in Chennai and the US Mission in India are committed to upholding these shared values," said the consulate statement.

    Officials and students at SRM University, however, are blaming the media for making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    "The US official was narrating her own travel experience. After 72 hours of journey, she said, she was dark like a Tamilian. I am also a Tamilian and I am dark, it is a fact of life. The remark was meant to be jovial," M. Ponnavaikko, vice chancellor of SRM University, told IANS.

    "Everybody at the auditorium felt that it was meant to be a jovial comment. It is a normal student behaviour to applaud if one group is commented upon," T.V. Gopal, dean, International Relations, told IANS.

    "The US official meant that remark as a joke and not to be taken seriously and be hurt. However, as a diplomat it was inappropriate on her part to make such a remark," a Tamilian student told IANS, preferring anonymity.

    Another engineering student, declining to be named, told IANS: "I am also a Tamilian. It was a jovial comment and not to be taken seriously. It is wrong on the part of the media to give racial colour to such remarks and blow it up."

    "Certainly there is nothing racial about the official's comment. Students did hoot when she made that remark. But that is normal student behaviour," a student from north India told IANS, on condition of anonymity.


    US diplomat regrets her 'dirty, dark' remark on Tamilians - The Economic Times
     
  13. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    CPI demands withdrawal of US Vice-Consul

    New Delhi: CPI on Saturday demanded the withdrawal of US Vice-Consul in Chennai Maureen Chao for her "racist" comments on Tamils and asked the government to lodge a "strong protest" with the US in this regard.


    Party National Secretary D Raja said the remarks of "dirty and dark" Tamilians by US Vice-Consul Maureen Chao were "uncalled for".

    "The Indian Government should lodge a strong protest with the US in this regard. The US should withdraw her from here," he said.

    "The remarks show the racist nature of the official even during Barack Obama's presidency. This cannot be tolerated," he said.

    Addressing students at SRM university in Chennai yesterday, Chao had said: "I was on a 24-hour train trip from Delhi to Orissa. But, after 72 hours, the train still did not reach the destination... and my skin became dirty and dark like the Tamilians."

    Going into a damage-control mode following her controversial remarks, the US Consulate here said, "During the speech Ms Chao made an inappropriate comment. Ms Chao deeply regrets if her unfortunate remarks offended anyone, as that was certainly not her intent".

    The Consulate said in a release that the diplomat was describing "positive memories from her own study abroad experiences in India 23 years ago".

    CPI demands withdrawal of US Vice-Consul
     
  14. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    @Param

    Your point is well made,but this one seems to be a case of pure diplomatic indiscretion and not a conspiracy.I concur that remarks laced with racist tones,have more often been hurled at Tamils,in India by Indians,more of than than anybody else.The stereotyped 'Madrasi',with that strange accent(remember mehmood in Padosan)has endured in popular imagination for too long,although greater interaction may have smoothed rough edges,i dont think its going to go away too soon.

    I think somewhere down the line,even the average Tamil seems to have been swayed by these image stereotypes,how does one explain the fact that Tamil,and the Telugu,movie industry have Bollywood girls running riot in the tinsel town.The preference for the Malayali girls seems to be,not less for their their better acting credentials,the B'wood novelty seems to have worn off and the Tamil move makers preference is now towards a more southern appeal.

    I dont know about actor Jayaram's remark,but in Kerala he is generally seen as a tamilophile,he is part of many Malayalam movies which have a Tamil theme or background to it.So if Jayaram made a snide remark at Tamils,it would really come as a surprise.

    P.S:The preference for Malayalam actresses is also because they are by far the prettiest of the lot : )
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
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  15. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    I Agree, I do not believe the remark to be any kind of conspiracy. I don't even think she had an intention to insult.That's why I called it stupid.

    I don't care about the accent part. here in Tamil movies and TV serials its not very difficult to find a similar stereotyped characters resembling North Indians or malayalees.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
  16. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    Tamils are people with large a heart and very charitable when it comes to judging people.It all boils down to civilization and what teaches you.Which is why only Tamil society could have produced a Sri Ramana.
     
  17. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    CPI just lives in its own stupid world of 1940s till date. They are a burden to today's changed world and always are wrong (except on price rise maybe). I don't see how their opinion really matters much in national politics.

    A tactful response to this remark is more than enough rather than taking such stupid Iran/North Korea like measures.
     
  18. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    But people with large hearts and charitable attitudes can also be exploited by the sly and the selfish. Too much of charitabiity is dangerous.
    This also applies to the political spectrum in TN. Probably the only South Indian state to have non Tamilians as CM in the past and maybe in the future too.
     
  19. Adux

    Adux Senior Member Senior Member

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    Isnt Jayaram a Tamil Brahmin?
     
  20. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

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    Tamil 'speaking' Kerala Iyer according to wikipedia:D
    also known as Pallakkad Iyers.
     
  21. S.A.T.A

    S.A.T.A Senior Member Senior Member

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    What i think about the Tamil people is that,they dont care about what a individuals original background is,or where he comes from,as long as he has completely surrendered to the Tamil culture,to the Tamil language,to become one among them,being them,they will leave no stone unturned to make you at home.If somebody genuinely loves them,they love him back twofold.Other wise there is no way to explain the phenomenon like MGR(a Malayali Nair),Rajnikanth(a Marathi Gaekwad)and many others....I dont think Tamils should give this up,it hasn't harmed them at all.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2011
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