Wanted tall, fair, convent educated, and good-natured girl for our very successful son. Isn’t that how most of the matrimonial ads go in India? Seriously, what’s this obsession with fair skin? Well for starters, it is the classic case of internalised racism. For decades and centuries now, we continue to stick to the idea that only white is beautiful!
Has this ‘fair & lovely’ obsession spared anyone? Well, if you happen to be a dark-skinned woman in India no matter how successful or famous you are, the answer is NO. Suhana Khan recently took to Instagram to narrate her own experience with this weird brand of racism where we prey on our own. She shared how she has been constantly jibbed at, trolled, and ridiculed for her skin colour since she was a child.
She wrote in a long caption, “There’s a lot going on right now and this is one of the issues we need to fix!! this isn’t just about me, it’s about every young girl/boy who has grown up feeling inferior for absolutely no reason. Here are just a few of the comments made about my appearance. I’ve been told I’m ugly because of my skin tone, by full-grown men and women, since I was 12 years old. Other than the fact that these are actual adults, what’s sad is that we are all Indian, which automatically makes us brown – yes we come in different shades but no matter how much you try to distance yourself from the melanin, you just can’t.”
Speaking on how this is an obsolete exercise, Suhana further added “Hating on your own people just means that you are painfully insecure. I’m sorry if social media, Indian matchmaking or even your own families have convinced you, that if you’re not 5″7 and fair you’re not beautiful. I hope it helps to know that I’m 5″3 and brown and I am extremely happy about it and you should be too. #endcolourism”
But wait, let’s take a moment here and think if all this colourism is doing us any good? Nope, because we can’t change the skin that nature has given us! Also, stupid as it is, the idea has done way more damage than fathomable, one young person after the other. Young boys and girls (mostly latter) have been long told in India to “do something” about their skin tone “otherwise tumse shaadi kaun karega” and it’s even worse when they are mocked at and called names for their skin colour!
And don’t even get me started on the advertisement industry and also Bollywood here. You can say a lot about a country or industry’s take on colourism when they have the guts of releasing something as racist and problematic as ‘Beyonce Sharma Jayegi‘ right when the #BlackRightsMoment is seeing its culmination everywhere else in the world.
Also, how shallow and petty it is to call someone names, look down at them, and tell them that they aren’t good enough just because of their skin colour? Can you imagine the kind of impact all this constant mockery has on the self-esteem of an impressionable child or a young individual? We have clearly failed at understanding how cruel and downright inhuman it is to tell someone that their skin colour isn’t good enough, that they need to do something about it and somehow compensate for the “lack.”
Here’s the thing: it’s not white skin but some humanity and basic common sense that we need here. Everything else will automatically fall in place! Thank you Suhana for voicing it. It really is the need of the hour!
Featured Image: Instagram