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How Sushma Datt fought racism in Vancouver

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Vancouver: She was good enough for the BBC, but couldn’t get a job in mainstream broadcasting after immigrating to Vancouver in 1972.

For Shushma Datt, racism and discrimination seemed the likely reasons, and she got a job in ethnic media.

“I couldn’t get a job in my own field, so I had to get into the Asian broadcast industry,” she said.

Born in Kenya, Datt got a degree in Dehli before moving to London and joining the BBC.

Today she runs the radio station she founded — AM 1200 Spice Radio in Burnaby — and produces shows for Shaw and OMNI.

A year ago, she and colleagues came up with the idea for the inaugural Raise Your Hand Against Racism movement, which also caught on overseas after it received some publicity.

“Last year was such a huge success,” Datt said. “We had people send photos from England, Australia, we were interviewed by media in India and Pakistan.

“It was very exciting.”

The idea sprang from the ancient Hindu spring festival Holi, a celebration of colors and of sharing love.

Datt thought: “Let’s do something exciting for Holi, let’s start a campaign with stuff that Holi signifies.”

This year’s racism-awareness campaign culminates on March 19 with events at which the public is invited to dip their hands in water-soluble paint and add their palm prints or any other bit of finger painting to a giant mural in seven Lower Mainland communities (North Vancouver, Delta and Richmond have come on board to join the four centers — Vancouver, Surrey, White Rock and Burnaby — that took part last year).

“Holi signifies that everybody is equal, that we’re all the same under a myriad of colors,” she said.

As far as Datt knows she’s the first woman and first Indo-Canadian to be granted a radio broadcast license by the CRTC, and the first in Canada to broadcast in Hindi and Punjabi.

Things might be better today for established immigrants like herself, Datt said, but she feels newcomers still face the same obstacles she did.

“We want to raise this to the next level, someone coming up and saying, ‘Here’s a solution, here is how we can eliminate racism,’” she said.

“We can always hope.”

(The article was first published in The Vancouver Sun)

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Actress Shilpa Shetty Kundra Faces an Unpleasant Experience of ‘Racism’ at Sydney Airport

Along with the note, Shilpa Shetty Kundra also posted a picture of her bag and asked her followers "whether it is oversized or not"

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Shilpa Shetty Kundra
Shilpa Shetty faces racism at Sydney airport. (Wikimedia commons)

Actress-entrepreneur Shilpa Shetty Kundra on Sunday alleged that she faced an unpleasant experience for being “brown” at the Sydney airport over her cabin luggage. Upset by an official who was curt, she says people’s tone must not change with preference to colour.

Shilpa Shetty Kundra, who dealt with racism in 2007 when she was a contestant on the fifth season of the British reality show “Celebrity Big Brother” — which she went on to win — faced the latest experience while boarding a plane for Melbourne from Sydney.

The 43-year-old took to Instagram to share the ordeal with a Qantas Airways lady staff member over a cabin luggage, which was deemed as ‘oversized’ at the check-in counter.

A furious Shilpa wrote: “At the check-in counter, met a grumpy Mel (that’s her name) who decided it was ‘okay’ to speak curtly to ‘us’ (brown people!) travelling together. I was flying business and had 2 bags (my allowance) and she insisted and decided my half empty duffel bag was oversized (to check-in), so she sent us to check it in at the other counter dealing with ‘oversized luggage’.

“There a polite lady (yes this one was) said, ‘This is not an oversized bag, please check this in manually if you can at another counter’ (all this happening while the counter is going to shut in five minutes).

Shilpa Shetty Kundra
Shilpa Shetty Kundra.

“As the manual check-in wasn’t going through for five minutes (we tried), I went upto Mel and requested her to put the bag through as her colleague said it wasn’t an oversized bag. She refused again… Just being adamant especially when I told her this is causing a lot of inconvenience.

“We had no time to waste so we ran to the oversized baggage counter and requested her to put the bag through which she did after I told her that rude Mel had issues! To which another colleague joined in and reiterated my duffle wasn’t oversized and could’ve easily been checked in.”

The “Dhadkan” actress said her intention to narrate her experience is to make Qantas Airways take cognisance of the matter.

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“Their staff must be taught to be helpful and tone can’t change with preference to colour. ‘We’ are not pushovers and they must know that being callous and rude will not be tolerated,” she added.

Along with the note, Shilpa Shetty Kundra also posted a picture of her bag and asked her followers “whether it is oversized or not”. (IANS)

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