Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Below is a cut-copy-paste job of an article written by my uncle for the Pioneer..


"British citizens have lost no time in exorcising the racist ghost that had suddenly come to haunt them after Jade Goody's inappropriate comments and conduct in the reality television show Celebrity Big Brother. Whatever be the views of persons like Goody, the desire of British society at large to distance itself from her remarks that were construed racist and offensive is indeed commendable.

While Indians are rejoicing over Shilpa Shetty's victory ( triumph of good over Goody ?), the celebrations would be meaningless if they were not accompanied by some soul-searching about racist attitudes within our own country. It is all very well to raise our voices against Jade Goody but like the British are we ready to face the issue squarely? The people of India belong to many races and cultures. Are we even aware of the prejudices we display and the cruelty we practice towards fellow citizens who happen to be dark skinned? Are we ready, like the British, to face the truth and initiate some corrective action?

If we are troubled by racism, we must begin the clean-up act with Hindi cinema which is full of situations and dialogues that can be described as racist. Millions of Indians have watched a lungi-clad Mehmood, his face daubed in black paint, prance around crazily to "Hum Kale Hai Tho Kya Hua, Dilwale Hai". This indeed is the racial stereotype that Hindi cinema has projected for decades. More recently, Satish Kaushik played the role of a South-Indian musician in a movie along side Govinda. Here too the make-up guys painted his face black. The dialogues in this movie too were loaded with crude racist remarks with Govinda and Khader Khan, another actor, heaping scorn on Satish Kaushik for being dark skinned.

I am appalled at the stereotypes that Hindi cinema and television seek to project all the time. Going by these stereotypes, all South-Indians are "black" and "ugly" and all North-Indians are "white" and "good-looking". The truth is that most Indians have a dark or light brown skin tone. This is the typical skin tone across a majority of the states in all regions be it Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharastra, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh. The tone gets lighter up north in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and darker in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In fact, a good percentage of people in Eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are dark-skinned. It is therefore ironical and comical to find people from these states refer to the skin tone of South-Indians in a pejorative way. But the stereotypes run so deep that people from the North find it difficult to accept the fact that Indian women who have bagged the Miss World or Miss Universe titles like Aiswariya Rai and Sushmita Sen do not come from "white" northern stock. Though the Rais are from Karnataka, many in the North would like to believe that Aiswarya is a Bhoomihar from Uttar Pradesh !

Hindi television has carried this trend forward. The Great Indian Comedy Show often jokes about dark-skinned people. This prejudice against dark-skinned people then gets extended to other things which constitute the ingredients of culture. You first laugh at "Madrasis" because they are dark and then make a joke of other things associated with these "dark" people – their language, their dress and their food habits. Once the "madrasis" becomes the butt end of your jokes, you begin talking down to them. This is what racism is all about and for centuries the Caucasians believed that while everything about them was perfect, the black, brown and yellow races were imperfect. This attitude led to colonization and apartheid. It was only in the latter part of the twentieth century that the White Man recognized the need to stamp out racism and other such prejudices and to bring in political correctness in public discourse.

When will this process begin here? Such is the power of these prejudices that it impacts the work of even established film stars like Shahrukh Khan, who is now anchoring Kaun Banega Crorepati. I was distressed to find Shahrukh joke about the name of a contestant from Andhra Pradesh – Dr.Ramakrishna Guggila - and his companion, Mr.Venkateshwarlu Putta. Shahrukh joked about their names and hinted time and again that their names were unpronounceable. Then, without so much as a by your leave, Shahrukh told Dr.Guggila that he would call him "Guggi" or just "Guggs". As for the contestant's companion, Shahrukh was unaware that Venkateshwarlu was one word. He kept calling him Venkatesh Warlu and eventually, unilaterally decided to rechristen him as "Venky". But the anchor's patronizing attitude truly came out when he mockingly offered a prize to viewers who could say "Venkatesh Warlu Putta" five times without faltering. Shahrukh must learn political correctness quickly. It is foolish to rouse the "atmagouravam" of the Telugu-speaking people. In case Shahrukh does not know, an Andhra with an equally "unpronounceable" name – Potti Sriramulu – set Andhra on fire with his fast unto death to secure a separate Telugu state. Another Andhra with an even more "unpronounceable" name – Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao – launched the Telugu Desam and ousted the Congress Party from power in that state in 1983. This he did after Rajiv Gandhi, like Shahrukh, behaved inappropriately with a fellow Andhra - Mr.Anjiah - who was then the Chief Minister of the state. Shahrukh's graceless conduct is in utter contrast to the great dignity and poise with which Mr.Amitabh Bachchan anchored this programme earlier. I regard Mr.Bachchan as the most evolved human being because life and professional experiences have purged his mind of prejudices and endowed him with sage like qualities. That is why he made every contestant before him feel like a king. Delhi-bred "King Khan" must shake-off his prejudices if he is to emulate the real King of Indian Cinema.

Finally, a word about matrimonial ads. Every groom wants a "fair" bride and therefore products which promise to lighten the colour of the skin are much in demand across India and bear names which seek to reinforce the view that only those who are "fair" are "lovely". So, let us cut out this hypocrisy vis-à-vis Jade Goody's conduct by initiating measures that will make us a humane and tolerant society. We can make a beginning by stamping out stereotypes in Hindi cinema and television. "

Think about it .. Racism is in every form - language, color, culture, food, art & craft... Are you pro-racist or anti? Its about time we all learn to respect all cultures, dont you think?


AJ{ax} said...

Frankly, we all know that this has been persisting for a tad too long now. Its only now, that the entire rage has begun and people have started to respect their skin colour that much more, whatever it maybe. Yes, we all indulge in racism. And that's largely due the zillion notions we carry about people all the time. I wish today, that someone would cleanse me off all the materialistic knowledge i've gained, so that I start from scratch again and judge people by face value. It's easier said than done. Like for ex, a man wearing ragged clothes walking barefoot on the road is considered poor. Not necessarily the truth. He might choose to live that way. Your meeting a person with whom u've had many a phone conversation. As your going there, your thinking,"Would he be fair or dark? Would he have black or brown hair?" All of this amounts to the same thing.
On the other side of the coin, I'd ask, "Where does this head too". If we as a country decide to take a call on this, then what will happen to the Cyrus Broacha's, the Cyrus Sahukar's, the Lola Kutty's, the Raju Srivastav's, the entire programmes like Great Indian comedy show and not to forget, MTV's & [V] various gimmicks on various kinds of people...
And uncle is right, for this to start working, it has to happen with what we define as "comedy", or rather, with what we project in the name of COMEDY, thus using it as an excuse to getaway from the main plot !!!

Aparna.G said...

@ajax - This issue has been raised many a time, but, I dint think we need to fight a cause like this simply coz all of us belong to one country, and in a larger perspective, one race - why then the differentiation in the name of color or religion or language or food or whatever? Jade Goody has no idea what she has done by making such remarks.. :-)

you have a point.. but, things go a tad bit deeper than the comedy.. if mehmood sings the song, it is OK in the name of comedy..

In the context in which you speak about thoughts of a stranger bring 'dark' or 'fair' - I think thats anxiety.. and hope that a person may have for someone they have met online - and the wish to like them for how they turn out to be..

Anonymous said...

I dont think that its just a north - south thing..Sardars, biharis, we seem to love having a dig at other people..we are yet to learn the art of laughing at ourselves..but we so love playing the victim...if we dont like such programs, dont watch them..we get what we deserve..so whoever is offended, just needs to stop watching all that..these channels think that all that crap sells, and they are right..

Indians need to grow up.


Anonymous said...

The Varna system is one of the oldest racial apartheid systems in the world and inscribed into the very social fabric of society. What is caste other than color?

What happens on a regular basis in India to Dalits would make the KKK blush. It is the great tragedy that the world's biggest "democracy" containing one sixth of humanity, still has not dealt with these evils.

Me said...

This is looong overdue. As an Indian, I am just simply appalled by the stereotypical crassness of what is considered funny in Hindi films and any other kind of films.
Really, the whole fair and lovely debate - i am sooo tired of it. And it's not like we stop at being "racist" toward South Indians or darker skinned Indias, I have heard tons of supposedely educated Indians saying Negro when they mean african american or african .
I just want to say I completely completely agree with you that we, as Indians, need to be more respectful of all cultures.
Great post!

Aparna.G said...

@Shain - I am saying, 'Its ok if it is a comedy' - we arent talking about talking lightly or taking a joke.. the point is, there is a limit to everything! If you saw this movie called Vivah ( a recent one), they show the heroine to be beautiful in contrast to her friend/sister who stands next to her who is made to look ugly.. Its about accepting cultures/races/ languages..

@anoynmous - it is indeed sad.. But, at some level, I think the BCs do have certain rights and privilegs we dont.. I dont think they are deprived of anything.. All i am saying is, there is no need to make fun of another culture than yours.. Infact, the Indians are supposedly richest in culture, coz we live in a diverse land, and we make fun of each other? Thats not done..

@me - thanks dude.. the article was by my uncle.. I simply copy-pasted it.. :-)

Everyman said...

Appu - It starts with comedy, and we simply dont know where to stop! Come to think of it, I dont see Tamil or Mal movies making fun of North Indians..(is it because the film makers know that northies dont watch south indian movies?? naa..)

@Me - u are so right..i've got colleauges who are here with me,and they refer to the 'Afro-americans' ( I am really confused over what to call them..we still cant call them American, can we??) not negro, but 'Kaalu'!!! and this colleauge of mine is dark skinned too!! its not that he is racist, but it is so ingrained that u dont even think of what u are saying!

AmitL said...

Hi,Aparna...that's a nice extract...I had the same thoughts, when the Shilpa Shetty controversy was in full swing.We in India,are always biased,be it towards colour or caste or religion...the same goes for our movies...So, isn't it time we took a cue from this incident and 'grew up'?

GuNs said...

I agree with some of the points in this article but mind you, NOT ALL.

I have lived in Pune and always had a majority of friends who are South Indian. We all spoke Hindi together. I never saw myself laugh at any of them.

I WILL though laugh at the my "Madrasi" testing guy in my team because he says "Mayy idhar aaya aur merko Hindi naii aati". I mean, how STUPID is it to live in India and not speak Hindi properly? I dont care if a man/woman is light skinned or dark skinned but I WILL laugh at him or her if she speaks that kind of Hindi.

I am NOT racist because Hindi is our national language and every Indian SHOULD atleast TRY to speak decent Hindi. The language is what binds us a fellow countrymen inspite of all our reginal, geographical, historical and cultural differences. If it wasnt for the language, we'd all be 55 different countries like Europe.

I dont care if people can speak Good English or not. I dont laugh at the rickshawallah if he cannot pronouce an English word but I WILL be prompted to laugh at him if he cannot speak a proper Hindi word. I think THAT is where a lot of South Indians are responsible for their own state of affairs. If a lot of them tried harder to speak the national language and adjust to the climate, culture, beliefs and practices of the rest of India, they wouldn't be ridiculed so much.

Oh by the way, I also laugh at Punjabis sometimes because they are typically weird sometimes. I also laugh at Gujjus, Marathis and people from other states for their typicalness.

I speak 5 languages and I speak them almost as well to be mistaken for a local in each of those states.

I am not more intelligent than another person. I just put more effort into understanding the culture behind a region and learning their language.

Oh my God...almost forgot.

I'm from Karnataka.


Aparna.G said...

@everyman - I completely agree!!!

@guns- I see your point.. Hindi is out national language, and one should know it.. in addition, one should have a regional language.. some have, in addition a mother tongue.. a few others, in addition know a foreign language too! There are people like this.. and we make fun of anyone who does not a language we speak well..

I agree, South Indians seem to have a rebellious attitude, and there was a point at which, Karunanidhi had decided to make all schools 'tamil speaking' - which meant that you learn English through Tamil.. Point being, sometimes, politicians affect the state & the culture it follows..

You ask anyone outside India what South India means to them - most respond that they think the most common thing thats found in South India is 'coconut oil', and how we make everything out of coconuts..

I object to such generalizations!! I object to the mockery of making such a statement!

& point to be noted guns - You have learnt all the languages and speak like a native, how many of your 'north indian' friends can claim the same..

We South Indians do adapt & flex.. we need to do it, coz, we find most ppl arnd us speaking Hindi or their native tongue!

P.S - I am from Karnataka too!

& so is my uncle who wrote the article..

P.P.S - I agree with you, but, NOT completely..

A S H I S H said...

Few Things need to be highlighted here:

*That all ppl in this post are educated with outlook broad enough to have no-nonsensical view on these issues - which, alas is not what the whole nation endorses.

*That however intellectual one may be, human beings sometimes are predisposed to be controlled by whims & prejudices, and be hypocritical (I admit, wat about others??)...say at some 'momentary-lapse-of-reason' times.

*That no society can be utopian one with ideal dwellers...with even public conscience and wisdom of age changes from one era to other.

Having said that, we must commend British society for it's clumsily political correctness...and its religious-cultural tolerances.

And here we must consider 300 million illiterates plus another wholesome ignoramus lot of society with parochial outlook which contribute to our National 'View'.

Enough cynical views and crticism...What we need is to concieve kind of "Collective Sense Of Humor...and again some innovative solutions like this Muslim Sitcom show in Canada...Request u all to follow the link.


Everyman said...

@Guns - with whole due respect buddy..i disagree with ur whole hindi thing.. Hindi became a national language coz that was what the majority of our leaders spoke during the nationalist strguggle

For people who live in the northern and central parts alone, it is easy to speak hindi..for a person who has lived in south india his / her whole life, and hasnt had the need to speak hindi apart from learning it in a half baked way in school, you cant expect them to speak hindi well, they will end up making a laughin stock of themselves..just like you mentioned..

Not being able to speak a language, even if it is your so called national language, doesnt entitle others to make fun of them..there are such a lot of other things our great nation stands for..how many of us can live up to all those? Take Gandhi for instance..how many of us who call him the father of our nation, follow what he does? Do we poke fun at those who dont do what he preached?? we dont, coz we dont do it ourselves..hell, we make fun of those who DO follow his practice..

It's very easy man, to laugh at someone who does something differently or is not as good as us in doing something..atleast ur testing friend is trying like u said..but u still end up laughin at him..so what wd u have him do? He probably grew up in 'madras' and dint have to speak anything but Tamil or at most, English..you , and the more privileged among us, had better exposure and we made use of it..i am sure that if he had a similar opportunity, he'd have been mouthin similarly good hindi like you are..

So give him and the rest of the monolingual or pathetically bilingual south indians or north east indians (do we consider them indians at all???) a break!

Vikas said...

good topic...

well this is well settled in our country i would say..i have exp in this matter

iam born and bought up in andhrapradesh.a south indian state.in my schooldays are in my college life i always felt this one.I was always told that u northindians are clever and selfish..you come here and take our part of business bla bla bla....and same vice versa happens when southindina guy comes to north for his career and we do the same think by adressing him as black .....

so matter of shilpashetty came in to lime light coz it happened in some other country....but i think we indians first need to get rid of these ........

Take Care

AmitL said...

Hi,Aparna...I'm sure I left a comment here last week...well,here I go again: this was a neat article..echoed my thoughts exactly. When I read in the papers about people in UK protesting against the racism in Bigg Brother as also about people in India,burning flags of UK,I was wondering when someone'd protest at the racism in our own country,whether in movies where black skin is supposed to be an object of ridicule,or,in the ads for brides,where'fair' is a keyword.The last line said it all'it's about time we all learn to respect all cultures'...I guess that's the day the world will also decide to do away with policitians.

GuNs said...

Good thing ! I thought you might be pissed at me for being pissed at South Indians (not all but only those who cant speak or rather, DO NOT WANT TO speak Hindi).

I have a Punjabi friend who speaks superb Marathi and Hindi and more Kannada than I can. He worked for a year in Infosys Mangalore.


GuNs said...

Everyman said...

Hiya, good to see some good natured discussion here.

Note my point. I have lived the first 10 years of my life in Gujrat. I spoke to those friends in Gujrati. The next 13 years I have lived in Pune. You can get by in Pune knowing nothing except Marathi just like you can get by in Chennai knowing nothing but Tamil. I never had the "necessity" to speak Hindi because I havent lived in a natural Hindi speaking place. I can speak Hindi ONLY because I have tried hard to do so.

I could chose to be a South Indian in Pune and refuse to learn Marathi like the tester from Chennai. You would think I am justified to do that, wouldn't you? Well, I dont think so. I respect the place and the culture of the place I live in. I learnt Marathi because I wanted to, not because someone forced me to.

I do not have ANY prejudices against people who are monolingual. But they, if they make a hue and cry over being submitted to indifferent treatment, dont you think they should look within themselves and find the problem?

People laughed at me when I came to Pune and when I tried to speak Marathi. I had never even HEARD of the language or the place when I lived in a little town in Gujrat. I learnt more Marathi in two years than some of the South Indians (and ALSO North Indians) who have lived in Pune for their ENTIRE life. Again, I am NOT more intelligent or talented than these people. I just give the local heritage more respect and it is only fair that the locals reciprocate the amount of respect that you give to their tradition and their customs.

You cant come to England and be ADAMANT that you will not speak English. In most probability, you will get kicked out of the country soon enough.

All I hope is that people from every part of India try and put in more effort to unite themselves and stop having prejudices against each other. To do that, they will have to stop pointing fingers at others and look within themselves.

EVERY place I have studied, worked or visited, I have found a bunch of South Indians huddling together for lunch. Their group is NEVER welcoming to a non South-Indian. It happens with a bunch of Gujjus, even Marathis. THIS is the problem I speak about.

I have always had a multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-cultural group of friends wherever I have gone. I find it easy to get together with South Indians, North Indians, Gujjus, Biharis, Delhiites. We always had a common language that we could speak. Incidentally it was Hindi. I dont care a damn about WHY Hindi is our National Language. It simply IS and its taught to us in school and you are not allowed to finish school unless you pass in your Hindi exams. I cant imagine graduates in the software Industry not being able to speak Hindi. Did they flunk their Hindi exams and get through by bribing their school officials?

If I live in Tamil Nadu for a year, I am sure I will learn enough Tamil to speak to rickshaw drivers, counductors, shopkeepers etc. I simply wouldnt need to find an interpreter everywhere I go.

Oh, and I wouldnt mind Tamilians laughing at my attempts to learn Tamil when I am there. It will only make me work harder.


Jimmy said...

Your uncle is very right, I think. Maybe we should start cleaning up our own house before targetting the ones abroad.
The Goody thing a big deal indeed, but I think things would have been much worse if they had put a south indian in a house with four or five northern guys...

Aparna.G said...

@guns - I dont think you are getting the point we are talking about here.. It is ofcourse brilliant that you are learning the language of the city/state you live in.. India is filled with diversity, and its beautfiul that you are adapting to it..

The point we are making is beyond learning the Language.. It is about comments made about Malayalees by the likes of Lola Kutty on MTV or SRK of the Andhraite on STAR tv.. its about making fun of a culture you do not belong to or understand..

You follow the policy of, "in rome, be roman' - I think thats good.. when you have learnt & understood the language & culture, joking about the same is OK, but, not for those who are not as well read..

We are only talking about that part of the population who make fun of 'north indians' or 'south indians'.. hell! we make fun of everything other than our own - thats the objection!

Aparna.G said...

@jimmy - you have a point.. certainly do! A show with a good mix of Indians would probably bring a war in India!

& you know what? This is already happening.. if you have watched Saregama - the show hosted by Shaan - the singing show now decides the singers by the votes that come in.. the last show I saw, a brilliant singer from Andhra was kicked out of the show coz he got lesser votes than the mumbaikar on the sho - simply coz Mumbaikars wanted him to win.. the andhraite won a bigger opportunity - he has already sung his debut song for a film;whereas the winner of the show has an album released by the channel to his credit!

I guess, in the ways of art & success, luck plays a huger role than favourtism..


GuNs said...

"Likes of Lola Kutty on MTV" are BULLCRAP. I'd be very happy to kick her ugly backside the first time I see her in person. She's irritating. Oh, on that note, Shekhar Suman should be banned from imitating Biharis and Punjabis.

SRK issue - if Mr. "Guggy" didnt mind SRK calling him that, I dont know why anyone else should. If he DID mind, he should have said so and I am sure SRK has enough manners to desist from calling him that. SRK often makes fun of himself calling saying things like "haklaata hai, toh Shahrukh hii hoga".

I used to think the word "Mallu" was derogatory to "Malayalees". Ironically, my Mallu friend introduced me to that word while he was talking to a teacher and telling her that he is a "Mallu" like her.

Why dont we all start a Unity In Diversity campaign on our blogs insisting that people from different parts of the country/world learn, understand and adapt to their foster homes i.e. the other states/countries where they have moved to for studies/work.

I think that would be a lot more productive than Southies pointing fingers at Northies and vice versa.



A S H I S H said...

Predispositions and Mindsets are difficult to change...once ppl are grown up, as I have earlier written in this discussion.

Regional disparities are reflected everywhere, sometimes at highest levels, even at our proclaimed ivory towers - the IIT's...as I have experienced there. South ppl would form their own coterie from day one and ditto with North Indians...even NRI students...
But these things diffused out with time...the Biharis(me!), the panjabis, the tamils...we all groomed to a collective sense of Identity...and we ethced out all the pre-concieved notions and fustian attitudes towards each other.

However, at primary level, regionality can be attributed to human being's 'tribal instincts'...that we feel safe in our comfort zones.

But what adds to the disillusionment towards our nation's cultural curry is the political mileage it gains time to time...with vested interests of politicians.

However, with growing middle class and intellectual capital(viz. ppl in this discussion!) of the country, future outlook does seem to be bright.

And yes we do need unity in diversity campaigns as mentioned, or a 'Collective Sense of Humor' as I have said, or TV series that dont celebrate crass stupidity in the name of entertainment as in Big Brother/Boss and entice the naive 'junta', but instead programs that promote a congenial disposition...like this Sitcom.

+Keep The Faith.

Everyman said...

@Guns - Good to see a discussion too..my point is just this..it's all very good to be able to adopt the culture of the place u are workin in or growin up in etc..it's great to be able to do that..but why do u necessarily HAVE to do that? why cant people learn to accept differences?? That's what unity in diversity means! U are different, but that doesnt make me respect u lesser..if u wanna learn my culture, then u are welcome..but if u dont want to, i still hv no probs..

Celebrate differences people..to hell with uniformity!

Aparna.G said...

@everyman - I am with you on that! I agree.. :-)))

GuNs said...

Oh well then, the only way you CAN celebrate differences is by having a sense of humour and laughing it off. When someone asks me which part of India I'm from, I say "I'm soud yindiyan". Its funny and I never hear anyone laughing at me later for being South Indian.


P.S.: I do not agree that you can go and live (not just visit, I mean SETTLE) in a place and not respect/adapt/honour the traditions, the language and the customs of that place. I just dont. Individuality is one thing and being stubborn is another. In fact, I think it is racist for a Maharashtrian to go to Tamil Nadu and look down upon Tamil as an inferior language that he shouldnt learn. Ditto with the Tamilian.

r said...

First of all...Lemme tell you guys...I LOVE LOLA KUTTY....I mean people people....from when did we start becoming so serious?? When did we forget that Bongs are typecasted by 'Rashogulla' and Tams by 'coconut oil'?? Well, and whats wrong with that?? I am sure, there is much more to Bongs besides one sweet and more to Tamil culture than coconut oil..but whats the harm if somebody refers to them as that...thats called cultural symbolism....

Do you think, SRK during that show planned the whole thing ??If I meet a Russian man today whose name is Kharvosky may be I'll call him 'Khar'!! May be it is unpronounceable to me...so what?? Does that mean I am a racist??

I think we are reading too much in into this. India is a country where we have always celebrated the spirit of 'Diversity'! And that's what is so wonderful about it...and its not possible for everybody to know about the rest of them. So we tend to categorise. But thats not being racist. I think we are all pretty stressed out (Thanks to our bosses!) and trying to take it out on each other, in this space. The truth is that we all love each other. And we are just trying to be funny (genuinely, without trying to hurt others feeling {And I don't see why anybody should be hurt}). In the process, if anybody is hurt, then say that you are hurt...and may be next time onwards, I won't crack that joke (or any damn joke for that matter) at you.

Shaine I echo you on this: 'Celebrate differences people..to hell with uniformity!' + Lets bring out that 'sense of humour' thingy!!!

Aparna.G said...


This sure has been one long debate, and end of it all, i wonder what triggered it off..

I agree with R & Shain - Lets celebrate differences, thats what we've been known for..


Anil P said...

I just hope we don't become so one dimensional that in trying to paper over differences we forget how to celeberate it, even if it occasionally means poking fun at another.