July 16, 2010

The grunts start

"The first time I heard the ape grunt -- the barking sound that supporters make when a black player gets the ball -- it was so foreign I couldn't figure out what it was ... A black player touched the ball and the grunt started: uggh, uggh, uggh, uggh, uggh.


The grunt was coming not from a few lads, but, it seemed, from everyone on the terraces -- old, young, fathers, whole families. Everywhere we looked we saw the ugly faces of men grunting, sticking out their lower jaws in their crude imitations of apes ... until finally the black player passed the ball on and the grunting stopped.

And then another black player got the ball and the grunt resumed

Question 1: Who wrote these lines and where?

Question 2: Is there much of a difference between this description and this picture (and the news) from nearly three years ago?


wise donkey said...

tim parks? in season with verona?

difference? in the land of fairness creams?

Anonymous said...

Aping the west? Or perhaps scared of his Hanuman-like prowess?

Anonymous said...

Actually this whole Symmonds thing needs more scrutiny. Questions like - Is it racism? Was the intent racist?

If it was then how do you explain the extreme adulation that players from West Indies got and still get. Even the ones that were defiant of the public or intimidating towards Indian players?

India is a racist country and a racist society no doubt and we have our own racist attitudes. But I think accusing Indians of European racism is a serious - even scholarly - issue.

We need to investigate this better rather than the bollocks, irrational way in which both Australian media and the Indian media have handled this issue.

Dcubed, I would accuse you of irrational opinion in this regard.

Baby V

Anonymous said...

I clicked on the tag "cricket" and read how much of the whole episode you have written about. I couldn't really find a lot. So I don't know what I am talking about in my accusation. That's that.

wise donkey said...


Dilip D'Souza said...

WD: sorry. Book is "Among the Thugs" by Bill Buford, about Buford's experiences hanging out with the lunatic football supporters in England. A frightening, disturbing, gripping book.

Ans to Q2: I see no difference.

BabyV: Actually I don't much care whether it is called racism or something else. I do care that we treated Symonds that way, and then pretended it never happened.

Anonymous said...


Then at that point your accusations become non-serious finger pointing and in that case people like you-know-who are justified to suspect you as someone who takes pleasure in masochism (yes, a tautology).

I think if one is at all serious about the way we treated Symmonds, then one has to find out why he was treated that way. I don't know the answer, like I said; it needs a bit of thought.

Whether justified or unjustified if we are serious about a society's treatment of people or peoples, say our society's treatment of "denotified tribes", do you think its serious thinking if one says, "I don;t care how why we treat the Phase Pardhis like criminals, I just think it should stop"

You have written a book on it and I am sure you would agree that any one serious about changing the conditions and violations against the de-notified tribes needs to know the historical and social context to even be successful to stop it, which no reasonable post-enlightenment evolved humanoid primate would deny that it should.

Baby V

Dilip D'Souza said...

BabyV: why did we treat Symonds that way? My feeling is that many of us have latent (or not so latent) feelings of racism towards less-than-white folks. Combine that with their worship of cricket and you have what happened to Symonds.

I'm not saying I don't care how we treated Symonds, I'm saying I don't care if we call it racism or not. (Because I've heard people saying, but it wasn't racism, as if that then excuses the behaviour of those guys at Wankhede). Call it whatever you like, but it was inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dilip. But are you sure that is the reason, that his "not being white" has anything to do with it? I am not being disingenuous here and you have to believe me here, I for one, did not know he is not white.

But may be you are right - may be it is white supremacy, which totally and certainly is very very prominent in our society and especially in Mumbai and especially in the educated strata or the NRI community.(also in all other parts of the world - a colonial legacy)

All I am saying is that we have to investigate this matter deeply for a better understanding of our own attitudes and hysterical reactions. Also, we should not make the mistake of "mistreatment of Symmonds" = "mistreatment of Katrina Kaif" = "mistreatment of an immigrant laborer in Mumbai" Although all of them are equally reproachable and have to be ceased, they are different and if we are serious, we need to look deeper.

Baby V