Racism in Indian Premier League? Darren Sammy Recalls Being Called “Kalu”

Following the unfortunate and unjust killing of George Floyd, the issue of racism has not only become a dinner table conversation in the USA, but has deeply stirred debate about racism at home. Darren Sammy, a man that is deeply loved for not only his cricket talents, but who he is beyond that, has spoken up about being called “kalu” by some of his SRH teammates.

Sammy released a video on Monday where he said he recently had learnt the meaning of the word “kalu” – a term that had been used to refer to himself, and Thisara Perera.  He learnt the meaning of this derogatory term after listening to Hassan Minhaj discuss racism in his own country (India).

Sammy’s claim can be corroborated by a picture that was posted by his former SRH teammate Ishant Sharma, who referred to the West Indian as “kaluu” in the caption.

He did not take any names but only stated that he initially thought kalu meant something else, “like a strong stallion or whatever”, but he only got to know the real meaning of the word after watching comedian Hasan Minhaj’s show.

“So recently I discovered a word that I was being called was not what it actually meant, I need some answers. So before I start calling out names I need these individuals to reach out and please tell me there’s another meaning to that word and when I was being called it, it was all in love,” read the post along with the video.

“I have played all over the world and I have been loved by many people, I have embraced all the dressing rooms where I have played, so I was listening to Hasan Minhaj as to how some of the people in his culture describe black people,” Sammy said in the video.

“This does not apply to all people, so after I found out a meaning of a certain word, I had said I was angry on finding out the meaning and it was degrading, instantly I remembered when I played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013-14, I was being called the exact same word which is degrading to us black people.

“I instantly got very angry about it knowing now what that word meant.

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“I will be messaging those people, you guys know who you are. I must admit at that time when I was being called that, I didn’t know what it meant, I thought the word meant strong stallion or whatever it is, and I saw no problems because I was ignorant about what it meant.

“But every time I and Thisara Perera was called with that word, there was laughter at that moment. Me being a team man, I thought teammates are happy, so it must be something funny,” Sammy said.

It is heart breaking and alarming to see how deep rooted racism is even within the South Asians – the term Kalu or Kala is also rampantly used in our own country. Let George Floyd’s death be a wake up call for much needed introspection to dig out and get rid of the racism that governs our day to day interactions.

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