GURINDER Chadha’s 2002 comedy movie Bend it Like Beckham tells the story of one young south Asian woman’s fight to be able to play football, but the scene that keeps coming back to my mind over the last day or so is not about football.

"When those bloody English cricket players threw me out of their club like a dog, I never complained," says Mohaan Singh Bhamra, "I vowed that I will never play again. Who suffered? Me". Mohaan’s painful memory of his humiliation, and his guilt at his failure to stand up to it haunts me, as I read about Cricket Scotland's recent attempts to face up to its history of racism. 

Scottish cricketer Majid Haq has said he was "treated like a criminal and sent home in shame" for complaining about the racism he received. Qasim Sheikh has described feeling "humiliated" as he was treated "like a personal servant".

READ MORE: Hundreds of examples of institutional racism in Cricket Scotland outlined

When he complained about not being picked for the team, he was told "you should count yourself lucky to be here". The independent report called "Changing the Boundaries" produced by Plan4Sport has highlighted 448 instances that demonstrated institutional racism within Scottish cricket. The day before the report was published, the entire board of Cricket Scotland resigned, apologising to anyone who has experienced racism in cricket in Scotland. 

This story follows the high profile scandal centred on Yorkshire County Cricket Club driven by accusations of racism made by former captain Azeem Rafiq. Giving evidence to a Westminster parliamentary committee, Rafiq described how he felt "isolated" and "humiliated" as a result of the racism he faced. 

As a person of colour who lives in Scotland, follows cricket, and researches race and racism, I recognise this feeling of humiliation. Racism dehumanises you, undermines your personhood, your sense of who you are. As the psychiatrist and philosopher Frantz Fanon described it,  on encountering racism, one’s body is "distorted" by "that cold that goes through your bones" – the realization that the person you are facing does not see you as fully human. 

The National: Majid Haq said Cricket Scotland were "institutionally racist"Majid Haq said Cricket Scotland were "institutionally racist" (Image: NQ)

For all cricket lovers of colour, the painful truth is that this sport carries with it a lot of difficult history. Elite British public schools used cricket to glorify what it saw as Britain’s sense of fair-play, which could then be used as an alibi to cover up Britain’s imperial sins. The Caribbean writer and cricket-lover CLR James has written movingly of how British colonial rulers in Trinidad maintained racially segregated teams, in an attempt to safeguard the white man’s superiority. The problem that Cricket Scotland is facing is not the result of a few isolated incidents, rather it has a long and ignoble history that spans countries and continents. 

Behind the big headlines, behind the shock with which the report has been received, the bitter truth is that there is little here that is of surprise. When answering a question about the fact that former England captain Michael Vaughan denies Azeem Rafiq’s accusations of racism, Rafiq said that "Michael might not remember it … because it does not mean anything to him". Rafiq’s point goes to the heart of the problem of racism, and why reports like this one are only part of the solution.  

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While it may be well-intentioned, the shock and surprise that have greeted Haq, Sheikh and Rafiq’s testimonies demonstrates that, like Michael Vaughan, much of the world does not really understand the mundane, almost boring nature of the various humiliations. Racism does not take place through events that make for big news headlines.

It happens through small acts, words and gestures that may not amount to much on their own, but work over time to grind someone down so that they, like Mohaan, decide it is better for them to stop trying to play the game. Perhaps one day, we will treat these reports not with shock and surprise, but with a profound realisation that many of us are having to live with this pain every day. 

Anindya Raychaudhuri is a senior lecturer in the School of English at St Andrews University