Baltimore bridge collapse: Netizens slam 'racist' cartoon on cargo ship Dali's Indian crew


Reacting to a cartoon against Indian crew members onboard the ill-fated ‘DALI’ container ship that crashed with the Francis Scott Key Bridge in US’ Baltimore on Wednesday and caused the collapse of the same, netizens slammed the cartoon calling it ‘racist’, while some others pointed out that the ship was likely being steered by a local American.

A racially insensitive cartoon by Foxford Comics, a US-based webcomic recognized for its politically incorrect content—portrayed the Indian crew members in ‘brownface attire’, standing inside the ship’s control room amid murky water. They all are wearing just loin cloth and seem to be in shock as the vessel eventually approaches and collides with the bridge.

“Last known recording from inside the Dali moments before impact,” the Foxford Comics’cartoon was captioned on microblogging platform X (formerly known as Twitter). The cartoon also has the audio of people swearing at each other in a strong Indian English accent.

But these cartoons were far from reality, The Singapore-flagged ship ‘Dali’ had actually suffered a “power issue” and issued a distress call moments before the crash, officials said.

Not only Maryland Governor Wes Moore but also US President Joe Biden hailed Dali’s crew members for their quick-thinking and sending a Mayday call.

Biden said that the crew “undoubtedly saved lives” by swiftly alerting transportation officials about losing control of the container ship. This had resulted in closing the bridge on time.

Maryland Governor Moore said, “These people are heroes, they saved lives last night.”

Sharing the illustration, Indian economist Sanjeev Sanyal said that the ship was likely being steered by a local pilot at the time of the incident.

“At the time that the ship hit the bridge, it would have had a local pilot,” he said. 

Slamming the cartoon, the Indian economist said that the crew of Dali warned the authorities, which is why casualties were relatively few for a disaster like the Baltimore bridge collapse.

Netizens reaction

The viral illustration which has since garnered 4.1 million views and 1.8k comments on X was criticised by hundreds of people calling it ‘racist’.

A user replied to Sanyal’s post and said: “Why aren’t you guys doing something about this? I mean, racism against Indians has skyrocketed recently.”

“Prejudice can cloud judgment to the point where one even ignores the fact that the Indian crew of the ship were the ones to take immediate action to save lives and minimise the disaster’s impact, something rightly acknowledged by POTUS Biden,” reacted a user

“Do these people know that mostly cargo ships have crews majorly from India and Philippines, I doubt no. They wouldn’t make such racist comments otherwise,” another user reacted.

Another user pointed out, “Despite the ship being steered by a local American, the heroism of the all-Indian crew during the Baltimore bridge incident is undeniable. This highlights the importance of recognising and addressing systemic issues like racism.”

“This racism-based mockery is in very poor taste,” said one user. 

“In very bad taste! Also looks racist and bigoted. Some facts: Local Baltimore pilots were navigating the ship; Indians were smart to alert/SoS local authorities to stop vehicular traffic on the bridge, saving so many lives!! Now this… (sic),” reacted another user

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Published: 28 Mar 2024, 09:29 PM IST

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