by Fatima Ahmad
Racism is an ugly word and one that has sadly been in the spotlight a lot these days. It is sickening and horrifying to see what people are capable of doing to their fellow human beings just because of the amount of melanin in their skin. There is however a kind of racism which is often overlooked which – though not similarly horrific- is still worth discussing; casual racism.
I have been fortunate to grow up in a very multicultural environment. I have friends of many ethnicity, nationalities and colors but I had never really encountered casual racism until I came to India.
India is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world with thousands of different unique people so it totally makes sense that they should be accepting of each other right? Wrong.
The amount of casual “oh she’s so dark ” or ” I really hope to find a fair skinned husband ” is truly shocking, but it only struck me just how widescreen this problem is when, while watching Miss World 2017 a friend of mine remarked “oh Miss Kenya is so black, she doesn’t look nice “. My face probably looked exactly like the surprised 😳 emoji but she didn’t think she’d said anything wrong or extraordinary. Not that I blame her, it’s just what society has taught her to believe.
It’s bad enough that children are being taught to think this way but what is worse is that because of this they- especially girls- begin to hate their own complexion using anything from home remedies to surgical procedures in an attempt to become fair.
It’s not a coincidence that one of the best selling cosmetic products is Fair and Lovely, a skin lightening range!! Meaning what exactly? Fair=lovely and dark =ugly?? Isn’t it!!
Isn’t there enough stupidity and negativity in this world? Aren’t there enough problems that need solving? Who are we and how dare we judge and belittle someone for the way God has created them?? To hold up fairness as the ultimate standard of beauty is frankly medieval and archaic.
Dear India (and the rest of the world) ; everyone is beautiful. White is beautiful, black is beautiful, brown is beautiful, every human being is beautiful just the way they are. So chill, love yourself and don’t rate beauty by the amount of pigment in someone’s skin.
Fatima Ahmad is pursuing English Literature Honors at Aligarh Muslim University. She aspires to be a teacher.