Racism is a pandemic
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Racism – An integral part of India

One Fine Morning…

Racism in India
Racism in India – no less than a pandemic


After making some morning tea for myself, I reached out for the newspaper on my table. I didn’t expect to see something about Racism that day. And I came across this article that made me want to question the kind of ‘evolution’ that India is going through. It was interesting, indeed. A fine lady got away with writing a book that ‘educates Indians’ about the ‘Merits of Dowry’. And one of the points in that section caught my attention. It read – ‘Ugly looking girls can only marry off with attractive dowry with well or ugly looking guys’.

Perception of dark-skinned people and Racism


I was very curious. I asked my maid, “Amala, who is an ugly-looking girl or an ugly-looking boy?”
She said, “Simple, didi. Someone who is dark-complexioned.” When I explained what the article meant, Amala actually agreed with them. She said ugly girls only get married when they pay a hefty dowry. And usually, they only end up getting dark-skinned guys. “Well, that is what you call ill-fated” She sighed and continued with her work.


And Amala herself is a dark-complexioned lady with two kids.


Most Indians strongly believe that people with dark skin tones are unlucky or ugly. And it is undesirable to have dark skin. I see my friends worry a lot about sun-tan because it will make them ‘dark’. When you see dark skin as taboo, it causes increasing hate crimes against people with varied skin complexion. Our society likes to tag the fair-skinned lot as lucky, powerful, beautiful, or the only ones who have the ‘ability’ to achieve something. When a nurse delivers a baby out of the mother’s womb, she’d announce, “Congratulations! You have a fair young boy here!”


Really?


That is why skin brands and companies gain millions of profit every day! Their advertisements earn them crores. The celebrities starring in these ads sleep on studded diamond beds. They feed on the insecurities of people and pry on the doubts in our heads. You can use creams, scrubs, and whatnot to change your complexion! But when will Indians start to realize that the complexion needs no change? That is who you are and that is who you should be!

Also Read: Combating Racism – Lived Experiences


The skin color, hair type, features – all these external factors help us identify one human from the other. Otherwise, how would you know someone from their AADHAR card if everyone ‘looked’ the same?
Unfortunately, people have started to take human features as factors to label one section superior to the other. That is how Racism arose as a dangerous social evil. And its roots go way back in time.


The roots of Racism go back in time…

When we refer to the Indian Mythology, the example of Lord Krishna arises. In the Hindu scriptures, Lord Krishna was often defined as a glorious young man with dark skin. Devotees compared him to pleasant nights and peacocks. Gracious, elegant, and the man who guided the Pandavas through a war of justice! No one questioned his ‘good looks’. But things changed after that. The caste system pushed the dark-skinned people to the bottom of the power web as the ‘Shudras’. They were also called the ‘dark-people’, the ‘untouchables’, and servants. And who decided the hierarchy? The fair-skinned, of course!
And then came the Mughals and the Portuguese. They never discriminated against people based on skin color. Yet, their presence did make Indians feel insecure. And the hell broke loose when the British entered the country.

Also Read: Racism: Diverse faces of discrimination in India


I would thank them for introducing Cricket to Indians but won’t hesitate twice to smack them left and right for planting the thoughts of Racism. The pale-skinned invaders have only considered the opinions of the fair-skinned Indians.


This course of thinking has left its mark on the minds of Indians. People fight against each other, refuse to establish relationships, and alienate their country people based on skin color! It is very evident in the way people treat dark-skinned people as ‘ugly’. I don’t get to see many ‘dark-skinned’ actors in India’s mainstream cinema.


Why?


Because, we the people, consider them to be ugly. And the big-heads making money here will only offer what the audience would pay for.

Racism is still not gone


It will be a big misconception if we think that discrimination can only happen to dark-skinned citizens. Indians do not spare their ‘Fair-skinned’ brothers and sisters too. It is evident when you hear the infamous, insulting term ‘Chinki’ for the North–Easterns. The government has established laws to punish those who pass derogatory comments or hurt the North-Easterns. But how will the age-old notion get erased from the minds of people after a few laws are suddenly introduced?

Also Read: The Roaring Giant of Racism!


The change has to start in the houses. The education should stop preaching the difference between skin tones, and ethnicities. It is alarming how different textbooks are openly claiming that being ‘ugly’ is synonymous with being ‘dark’.


And when anyone says she is ‘dark’ because she is unlucky, I feel like screaming the word ‘Melanotropin!’ at them. It is pure ‘Science!’

Time for Contemplation


If people are assuming that Racism is no more a part of our country, the citizens are in here for a good shock! The nation has people of different diversity and when you have them all pooled under one roof, Racism should not serve as a volatile factor to start wars. There is enough hatred because of other social evils, and Racist thoughts shouldn’t add fuel to the fire. That is only possible when mindsets change, and people develop self-confidence.

Also Read: Rooting out Racism in Children Books: Six Dr. Seuss books cease publication


People across the country have to kill the hesitation and accept that ‘dark is pretty, dark is splendid, and dark is OKAY!’. They have to break the age-old beliefs that serve no purpose in the contemporary world. When you use racial slurs, indulge in hate crime, or make another person feel less worthy, that is an insult to themselves. That will make a person more ‘unlucky’ than being ‘dark’ because they are foregoing the opportunity to ‘co-live’. Hopefully, Most of the Indians, if not all, will see this tiny logic and embrace life as it comes – Dark, Light, or Shaded.