One Hate Crime Does Not De­fine the US

En­e­mies of di­ver­sity im­peril glob­alised pros­per­ity

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

It would be a mis­take to read into the killing of In­dian in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy pro­fes­sional Srini­vas Kuchib­hotla in Olathe, a small town in Kansas, as the new US pol­icy to­wards In­di­ans or any­one else. While me­dia re­ports say that the man shouted, “Get out of my coun­try!” be­fore fir­ing at Srini­vas and his In­dian-ori­gin friend, the FBI, which joined the lo­cal po­lice in in­ves­ti­gat­ing the crime, is yet to clas­sify this as a hate crime. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s anti-im­mi­grant pol­icy is widely cred­ited with en­cour­ag­ing xeno­pho­bic and white su­prem­a­cist sen­ti­ment in the US. How­ever, he has so far cho­sen to not re­act to the de­vel­op­ment. His press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer has dis­missed the no­tion that the Pres­i­dent’s poli­cies have any­thing to do with the crime.

The ab­sence of of­fi­cial con­dem­na­tion of the killing of an IT pro­fes­sional of In­dian ori­gin on seem­ingly xeno­pho­bic grounds is not a wel­come de­vel­op­ment. At the same time, three de­vel­op­ments also de­serve at­ten­tion. A lo­cal white res­i­dent present at the bar tried to stop the killer and got shot as well. He is re­cov­er­ing. A sol­i­dar­ity fund set up for the Kuchib­hotla fam­ily has re­ceived four times the tar­get amount. The killer, who fled Kansas, told a bar­tender in an­other town in an­other state that he had just shot two Mid­dle Eastern men, and needed a place to hide, fol­low­ing which the bar­tender called the po­lice, lead­ing to the killer’s ar­rest. These are ex­am­ples of civic sol­i­dar­ity that tran­scends skin colour and a sense of right and wrong at work in Amer­i­can so­ci­ety. It is pre­cisely such so­cial sen­si­bil­i­ties that mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism needs for its ex­is­tence and is vi­tal for the fu­ture of a glob­al­is­ing world, in which en­tre­pre­neur­ial ge­nius taps global pools of cap­i­tal, tal­ent and tech­nol­ogy to push the fron­tiers of hu­man cre­ativ­ity to pro­duce new pros­per­ity, and peo­ple move across na­tional bor­ders as part of this process.

Ac­cep­tance of di­ver­sity is a key fea­ture of glob­alised pros­per­ity. Those who use violence against peo­ple whose looks or views they dis­like are en­e­mies of progress, whether at home or abroad.

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