The Northeast Today(TNT) has outdone itself in its form plagiarised from Buzzfeed, clickbaiting inanity. Only this time clickbaiting has turned into racebaiting with its’ ‘revelatory’ article on the science behind the budding relationships between “African nationals” and “Northeast women.” What the article ultimately reveals is not, however, the so-called mystery behind this social phenomenon but the newspaper’s deep-seated racist and sexist beliefs (we wont link to the article, why pander to their racist fantasies, just two screengrabs will do).
Let me start with the casual usage of categories like “Africans” and “Northeast women,” which imply the lack of urgency to specify who the people referred to are and where exactly in Africa and in North East India are they from (Where in Africa? Where in the North East?) Such categories, the author appears to believe, are homogeneous and that all subjects belonging to them are all biologically driven to behave in the same way. Hence, grand theories like: “Africans are smart, as they are very well aware of the discrimination and violence the Northeast people face in the metro cities by the localities. In such situation, there are high chances for the African national to cheat their partner as they believe there is likely to be any action against them.” Perhaps the writer has conducted an intensive sociological or psychological study on these “Africans” and hence makes such a statement, but is it just me or does the sentence really lack semantic and syntactic logic, (apart from it reeking of political incorrectness, of course)?
The gender angle of this article is also interesting. It is completely exploiting the image of the “bad” African man vs. the “good” or rather “vulnerable” Northeast woman. Clearly, the African man is equated with evil, criminality, cunningness and male dominance, and the Northeast woman with innocence, gullibility, victim-hood and exploitation. Here, the African man becomes the person (or creature) to be feared and hated, more so because of his exploitation of the vulnerable position of the Northeast woman in metropolitan cities, where she is often discriminated against because of her sex as well as her ethnic identity. It seems to be the case that such a “flawed” (read unacceptable) relationship between this man and this woman is a cause for concern also because the woman is sexually involved with a person who does not belong to the “North East community.” This patriarchal rhetoric, which disapproves of the sexual freedom of a Northeast woman runs throughout the article. The woman, is thus, represented as a weak, voiceless, mindless person who hangs on to this bad African lover simply because he is male (as you know, to fight racism on the streets of Delhi, one needs a man!).
There are plenty more things to be said about this fascinating article but I think these two small paragraphs put the points across enough for now. In conclusion, for a popular on-line newspaper from the North East, which claims to provide a platform for issues from the region to get represented, the Northeast Today is doing an excellent job in perpetuating racist ideas about the diverse people from the region and those from other parts of the world. Kudos!