A large number of India's Adivasi women migrate to metro cities in search of job opportunities. One such woman works for Sambhavna Seth, a popular actor and vlogger with almost 500,000 followers on Instagram, and her husband as a domestic help.
Recently, the couple posted a video blatantly mocking and denigrating the language their Adivasi house help speaks. They openly call it an 'ajeeb language', and proceed to make fun of the pronunciation of her hometown as well.
While Sambhavna and her husband Avinash removed the video after facing intense backlash, an Instagram page called The Adivasi Post broadcast the video which you can watch below. They also highlighted the numerous problems of privilege, ignorance, and power disparity on display.
As is clearly evident in the video, there is an employer-employee dynamic between the couple and the domestic worker, which is why she is not able to assert her own identity or let them know they were being highly insensitive.
The video actually amounts to racist humiliation, as well as a grotesque abuse of power. Following intense backlash and a stern schooling from people online, the couple took down the video and posted an apology on Instagram.
In the apology video, they claim that they didn't do anything out of malicious intent, and they weren't aware of just how racist and insensitive they sounded. But it's 2021, and the kind of video they made was like humour in a 90s school classroom - basic, ignorant, and mean-spirited.
That's the problem with a situation like this - people can't claim ignorance anymore. There have been massive awareness campaigns highlighting the plight of marginalised communities, and yet we still see big names using casteist slurs and behaving in an insensitive manner.
It's 2021 guys, and that means it's high time you educated yourselves about terms that have a history of oppression and racist overtones. Considering the fact that you're influencers with massive reach, you need to be all the more careful about the kind of content you put out. Be better.