India’s obsession to fair skin is not new. Fairness does not define beauty and racism harms everybody. Colourism is the bias against dark skinned tone that views white skin as the ultimate benchmark. It is a persistent social force in India, and many South Asian countries.
George Floyd’s killing in police custody in U.S has led to the ‘Black lives matter’ across the globe. Undoubtedly, there is power in protest. But the question lies when we think, does this really bring a change and do people really mean it. The protests happening through social media has advantages as well as disadvantages. According to many, the notion of beauty lies in skin colour which is absolutely wrong.
‘Fair and lovely’ has been criticized for years as they promote the idea of being fair to be an achiever. Chandana Hirana, a 22-year-old, Mumbai girl started a petition against the brand before the name was changed to ‘Glow and lovely’. Changing the brand’s name turned out to be an utter failure as there is no change in ingredients. Also, Loreal and many other brands are also removing words like ‘whitening’ or ‘fair’ from their products. Sure, it is a welcome move but it is a high time to ban the prevailing mindset of people that equate fair skin not just to beauty but also to rich and upper caste.
As anti-racism protest erupted across the globe, many celebrities like Sonam Kapoor, Disha Patani, Yami Gautham etc came forward in support of ‘Black lives matter’ who were latter trolled massively as they were already promoting fairness products. Priyanka Chopra in an interview said that she regretted promoting such products.
Last year, Nandita Das, founder of Dark is beautiful campaign did a rap video to fight skin-tone discrimination. She also added that she is fed up of people commenting on her skin tone. Hassan Minhaj, an American comedian on his popular show ‘Patriot act’ on Netflix said that ‘it is bad to be black in Desi culture’ and I couldn’t agree more. We shouldn’t assume a particular race to be superior than others. Even filters and photo editing apps are focussing now how to make you fairer.
Matrimonial ads are the best example to see how things are uglier in the world. People search for wheatish skin girls. It is surprising to know that most of the matrimony sites have filter option to select the skin tone.
In ‘my experiments with truth’ Gandhiji tells how he was embarrassed because of his dark skin tone against white skinned people around him. Even after Britishers have left India, racism still exist here. We should learn that all shades are lovely. We are all in different shades for many reasons. Embrace your shade instead of hating it. Let us not give space for racism to exist in our mind. No shade is superior or inferior than any shade. It is of no doubt that racism will take a mental toll on people. Stop racism. Nothing more, nothing less.