While chilling at his home, Sammy, a west Indian cricketer, remembers the nickname his colleagues called him. Upon reflecting, he realizes, ‘Kalu’, the nickname referred to a racial slur. Back in 2013 and, 2014 when he used to play for Sunrisers Hyderabad, both he and a Sri Lankan player got used to the name. Darren Sammy is cautious against color discrimination.
Although their team was united and they reached the IPL playoffs, Sammy felt emotional when he knew the meaning of Kalu. During the Indian Premier League, he went by the name not knowing how discriminatory it was. However, today Sammy has a changed mindset, he emphasizes authorities should impose legislation on racism just like they have on corruption.
Following the unjust death of Floyd, it dawned on him that his teammates were racist.
George Floyd, a black American, succumbed on 25th May after a white policeman chocked him to death. His death triggered protests amongst human activists and, it was then that Sammy realized he acquired the name because of his skin color. He said he was not about to bleach to impress anyone.
Sammy posted a video on Instagram questioning his teammates who used to call him by the nickname. He demanded to get their real intentions for using the name. One of his colleagues said he was operating from a position of brotherly love. He, however, thought the name was racist. The Sri Lankan player failed to comment on the nickname.
“It came at a point in time where racism and social injustice and systemic racism was at the forefront of everybody’s mind,” Sammy said.
Some netizens defended the nickname saying it wasn’t racist. Some called Sammy by the name on his account stating it was just a nickname. They argued that nicknames don’t define people. Sammy however responded saying the nickname was a part of the South Asian culture that needed educating.
“As someone who leads, you have to have the difficult conversations and I’m not afraid to have it. It doesn’t matter,” he says. “Right is right. There’s no wrong time to do the right thing.
“That’s part of the educating and talking about those subjects that will help bring awareness out there into that culture. “
Parvez Rasool, one of Sammy’s teammates revealed during an interview that Sammy was a great jolly captain. He enjoyed playing in his team under his rule. Rasool states that Sammy didn’t deserve the nickname. He said it was unfortunate some of his colleagues used the term against Sammy.
Equal opportunities for everyone
Skin color, birthplace, jobs are some of the factors which define one’s society in Indian. People with dark skin in Indian mostly belong to low-class society. Sammy believes that the boundary between caste and color explains the prejudice he sees in India.
Sammy knows he is beautiful and, therefore, needs not to lighten or bleach. He suggests that the crickets international governing body educate fans and players about racism. All groups need equal opportunities, either black or Asian. They also deserve titles like the head coach.
“How many coaches of color do you see going around in cricket? Do you think you will ever see a coach of color being the head coach of England or also Australia or New Zealand?” Sammy said.
Equal opportunities don’t come through a single chance but through many.