When actor Chetan's question at an international seminar impressed an American scholar
news Sunday, July 12, 2015 - 05:30
Participants at an international seminar in Bengaluru were pleasantly surprised when they realised that the question that impressed an American professor was asked by Kannada actor Chetan. Wearing a cap that partially obscured his face, the actor stood up to ask a question at the end of a paper presentation on the second day of the Dalits and African Americans in the 21st century: Learning from Cross-Cultural Experiences seminar organized by the National Law School University of India.Â â€śDo the police see black women as black first, and then as women, or as women first, then as black?â€ť Chetan asked. Actor Chetan at the seminar on Dalits and African Americans held at the National Law School University of India campus on July 9 and 10. Professor Trina Jones at the Duke Law School, Durham, who spoke about the experiences of black, Latina and Asian women, said she was impressed that she was asked about how the police viewed black women, in the context of police brutality against black men. Professor Trina Jones (in white) during the seminar When she replied to the question, professor Jones said that she was glad that someone had asked her that, and went on to say that the experiences of black women with the police did not get as much attention as those of black men. She then said that rates of incarceration of black women had been increasing in recent years, but the police were not as brutal with them as they were with black men. Speaking to The News Minute later, Chetan said â€śissues of Dalits and African Americans are tied (together)â€ť. He said that he wanted to come to the seminar because he too had lived in the United States and was â€śgladâ€ť that the seminar was comparing the issues of Dalits and African Americans. He said that race was now being discussed more visibly due to technology and the use of mobile phones in capturing police brutality. Speaking about why he asked the question Chetan said: â€śI recently saw a video of a black woman at a pool party being held violently to the ground by the police.â€ť Chetan said that he first came to India on a Fulbright Scholarship and worked with village communities in Charamarjnagar district. He said that when he worked on gender and development issues, he began to realize that Dalit women were not being heard. â€śWhen I used to work with them, I realised that Dalit men were talking, the issues that the womenâ€™s movement are those of an upper caste, upper class women. Itâ€™s an English-speaking feminism,â€ť Chetan said. Asked what he liked about the seminar, he said that during the session on media diversity, he was happy that it had included a Kannada paper. â€śIm happy that Kannada-speaking people are being included in a seminar of English speakers.â€ť Chetan said.