The skin colour Conundrum of India

Results of Google search for 'Beautiful real Indian Women', all women are shown to be fair.
Results of Google search for ‘Beautiful real Indian Women’, most women shown are fair, or photoshopped and made to look fair.
“Adoption is not a major problem in India, there are way bigger problems, one of them is your obsession with fairness, why do you sell fairness creams in India, even for men?” – She asked me when I told her about the Adoption article I plan to write and the Process of Adoption in India.

She is right. A European descent could understand that the very ideology on which the Pharma companies are milking money in India is actually terribly messed up. The ideology that defines the scale of beauty on the fairness level of the person. You must have seen 100s of commercials about creams, soaps, medicines that make you 1 or 2 or even 3 tones fairer makes you wonder if you are not as fair as the model in the commercial “I wish I was as fair as her or him, let me try that product”. Why do we care about the fairness so much? Shouldn’t we be investing our valuable time in getting smarter instead of getting fairer? Shouldn’t we be drinking the grandma’s potions for healthy skin instead of white skin? This is 2016, we need to get over the skin complexion differences and start appreciating a person for who he or she is, not how they look. I remember this one time when my sister called me in the middle of the night and cried like a baby, “Bro, these so-called friends of mine are taunting me for not being pretty, they say I am not fair and hence I am not pretty”. My sister was a star among my friends when she was visiting me in Poland. Everyone was calling her pretty, charming and cute. No wonder she wants do go abroad to study.

As an Indian I believe that it’s us who is responsible for the drop of confidence in the younger generation by segregating them based on the colour of their skin. A girl with wheatish complexion will always think of herself as less prettier because her own family and the society would tell her that. I respect people who took a stance against it, like the Queen of Bollywood Kangana Ranaut who refused to endorse a fairness cream for 2 crore rupees (~300,000 USD). I was one of those people who considered fairer women are prettier but there was no one to tell me how wrong I was. What changed my thinking was the education, not the ones I got in Indian schools, they don’t teach you this. The education and exposure I got over the internet changed my ideology. When I started understanding that while the world is fighting for equal rights for women, our mothers in India are asking their daughters to wear a face-mask to become fairer instead of encouraging them to be self-confident.

This colour based racism that we believe in is not only with Indians, we are fully racist with the expats as well. Remember the first ever IPL played in India? Yes, they gave us cheerleaders in cricket. One shocking incident recalled by a cheerleader left me aghast, 1 of the 2 British Black cheerleaders came forward in 2008 to shed light on the racism row. They were called the N-word and were told that “No one wants to see Black girls cheerleading, only beautiful white girls are to perform”. It’s so hypocritical for Indians who call the west racist towards Indians, won’t be tolerant to people with darker complexion within their own country. Congrats India we are doing really great “Spreading Racism for generations to come”.

A country that worships women as Goddesses, where the actual Goddesses and Gods were of different colours, we have to fight to look whiter than the rest to be the prettiest. It is saddening but the good news is that things are changing. The new generation seems to be learning it, although not my sister’s class, a lot of them are still living in the past, but a good percentage of the population is learning to stop the colour bias. The true victory will be achieved when the fairness creams are off the shelves. Seriously people, you don’t need to have fair skin for someone to love you, you need to have a fair heart. Stop buying these creams.

I promised my European friends that their children will see a different India, and I am working hard to keep the promise. One small step to create awareness towards achieving is writing this article. Please share with your friends, let’s end this bias together.


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