Colourism in India

Colourism entered the Indian society through British rule. The British people would often prefer light skin Indians as candidates for important roles. Even the European or the Mughals were relatively light-skinned people. This made Indians start looking at light skin as a sign of superiority.

Even today the obsession with white skin tone continues. A lot of girls from a young age have to go through things like:

“you should apply turmeric and saffron paste to make your skin fair”

“you should do a particular type of wax which removes tan”

“he married her despite her being dark”

“you should use light skin makeup to look fair”

Well, these are a few of the thousands of sentences that a person with dark skin goes through. Growing up sentences like these make the person feel insecure about their colour. Nobody is born with insecurities; a child will never differentiate between a skin tone. It’s the people around us that make us like a particular skin tone.

The media never fails to make money out of the beliefs of people. People consider white skin good, so they decided to bring products like fair & lovely. There are so many more products and creams which say things like natural fairness, or natural white to attract consumers. Many young men and women use these products daily. What they don’t realise is that these products contain bleach, steroids, and other harmful ingredients that lead to skin cancer and liver damage in the long term.

After #blacklivesmatter, products like fair and lovely were trolled so they decided to change the name into glow & lovely. But it is still the same product that was built to support light skin.

A lot of other brands also did initiatives like Johnson & Johnson stopped their line of skin lightening products. They also told how they will include all shades of skin colour in their band-aids.

 Changing the name of the product doesn’t mean that people won’t buy it and use it as a fairness cream. But, let’s still appreciate the little changes the multinational companies made. But, there is still a long way to go.

 Another thing you must have noticed is the matrimonial ads in your newspaper. If I got money every time I saw the word “fair” I would be a billionaire.  

What people fail to understand is that our skin tone depends on the geographic conditions, that is how exposed we are to direct sunlight. In places that are sun-soaked people have a dark skin tone. This is because their skin is rich in the pigment melanin. Melanin creates a shield from the radiation of the sun.

This is why when light-skinned people visit places with a lot of sunlight they experience sunburn because they don’t have enough melanin to protect them from the sun.

Our skin colour solely depends on how far we are from the equator. So, I don’t really understand why light-skinned people are given superiority when clearly this isn’t something we can control. Our skins are built of a certain tone to protect us from the environment we live in.

Next time if someone around you shames you or anyone for their skin colour make sure to correct them scientifically and also tell them how much money white people spend on tanning regularly. White people tan for hours, buy lotions, get spray tans to get the colour that we have. I am not stating this to hate on them, I just want to point out how they spend money on tanning while we bleach out our tan.

Categories: Culture and History, Learning, Western

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