The death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in police custody in the US has sparked outrage across the world and ignited conversations about race-based discrimination. As the #BlackLivesMatter protests continue, social media is abuzz with people raising their voice against racism and police brutality. While several Bollywood celebrities also supported the movement, fashion designer Masaba Gupta recently voiced her concerns over the discrimination people are facing here in India.
In an interview to a media portal, Masaba said, “Can we first take care of our ‘brown lives matter’ in India and then worry about the US? I find it bizarre that racism that is done so far away from home it is creating such an uproar. Look at the kind of racism people who are dark skinned in our country have to face”. In our culture, being fair-skinned is related to success and unfortunately, we think it is true, she mentioned.
B-Town & Fashion Industry Are To Be Blamed
Accusing Bollywood, beauty and fashion industries of colourism, Masaba said, “How many times do you hear that you have to be fair-skinned to land a certain role or an advertisement?”.
The netizens, too, pointed out the hypocrisy of Bollywood actors (including Priyanka Chopra, Sonam Kapoor, Disha Patani and Deepika Padukone among others) as they endorsed the fairness creams and supported the anti-racism movement in the US simultaneously.
Opening up about growing up in a country that is obsessed with fair skin, Masaba said that she grew up believing that it is inferior to be dark-skinned. She revealed that she had a tough time in her school as she was discriminated against due to her skin colour. She said, “Everyone used to be like, ‘oh my god! Why do you keep talking about it? It is not a big deal’. The fact of the matter is that it is a big deal. I grew up thinking I was inferior to white-skinned people. And as a child, if you are conditioned like this, it becomes a part of your upbringing that you believe that probably because I look like this, I won’t get anywhere in life”.
Speaking of bringing a change, she said that things might change if a Bollywood veteran or a cricketer comes out and says, ‘you don’t have to be fair-skinned to be successful’ as she feels that we don’t have any other 'heroes' in our country.
Unfortunately, being told that having fair skin determines the very quality of your life, the availability of good job opportunities and great marriage prospects is a ‘normal’ part of so many people’s lives in India. Ending colourism in India is still a distant dream, but we can do our part by educating our children and spreading awareness about it at the grassroots level.