The Indian Census has not included “race” as a category since the early in 1950s. Race might be a “biological fiction” according to geneticists, but the world over, it is a social reality. Racism is a topic Indians have been discussing fervently following the reprehensible attack on a Tanzanian woman by a mob that beat and publicly stripped her in Bengaluru. The shocking nature of the incident – a toxic mixture of anti-African and anti-woman violence – has forced us to examine once again our attitudes towards all “others” (anyone who is perceived to be different, as well as culturally, intellectually, and even physically inferior).
Sociologists and historians have been studying anti-black bias among Indians at home and abroad for some years now. Certain varieties of anti-black bias are historically shaped. Here is one such example: following the legal abolishment of slavery in the British Empire in the 1830s, Indian indentured labor was brought to places such as Trinidad and Guyana to work in the sugarcane plantations to fill the labor vacuum.