You’ve seen the numerous fairness ads on TV. Countless times, in fact. So much so that the inherent racism hidden behind the repetitive nonsense doesn’t phase us anymore; because we’ve grown up with these advertisements.
And when we are exposed to a certain kind of behaviour for a long enough time, it becomes an ordinary everyday part of our life. Something we don’t look twice at. Something we don’t think twice about. Because for us, this has always existed.
Let’s think twice about it, today.
Why are Indians obsessed with fair skin? Our country is made up of a majority of dark-skinned people. And yet, we strive towards achieving that epitome of fairer skin that will help us get married, get jobs and overall help us succeed in life!
A sub-sect of this form of discrimination is found in the film industry by the name of “whitewashing”.
Whitewashing is a norm. If you haven’t heard this phrase before, it’s basically a casting practice in the film industry wherein white actors are cast in historically non-white character roles.
This trait is most commonly associated with Hollywood, but our own Indian film industry is not to be left behind.
I’m sure you have noticed that Indians are inherently racist.
The incident with the Nigerians in Greater Noida was certainly an eye-opener for most of us.
And yet, we hold Europeans and the entire western dynasty in a much higher regard than we do our dark-skinned neighbours.
Unfortunately, we don’t idolise the good things like, perhaps learning “How To Run A Country 101” from countries like Norway, Denmark and, Iceland. We instead take their packaged racism and spread it like a virus amongst ourselves.
But as it so happens, the 200 years of the colonized tragedy that our country endured has somehow resulted in an internalized form of racism, where we blatantly discriminate against dark skin amongst ourselves because that was our reality for 2 centuries and this was what we were taught.
We will always deny it if you call us racists but then we will go right back to posting matrimonial ads with the tag “fair-skinned girls only”. Irony at its peak, I tell you.
But I digress.
Back to whitewashing in Bollywood.
To quote an example, Giselli Monteiro, a Brazilian model who made her debut in films by playing the character of Harleen Kaur in Love Aaj Kal. Was there a dearth of Indian actresses that propelled the moviemakers to call on a foreign actress who could not act to save her life?
There is another actress in the Tamil movie industry by the name of Amy Jackson, (she has also starred in a number of Bollywood movies recently). She regularly plays the role of a “quintessential Tamilian”, taking away roles from actual Tamilians who could do her job better than her a thousand times over.
How ironic is it that a film industry based in a region where majority of the population is dark-skinned feels the need to make films with westerners with fair skin and brand them as their own?
Contrary to Hollywood, where Indians and those of Indian descent are almost always cast in roles of an Indian character, WE take foreigners, package them in neat little Indian garbs and sell them as “authentically Indian” to the public at large.
Our misplaced devotion to the western culture is pathetic, especially when they have hardly, if ever, favoured us or extended the same kindness towards us.
Have you seen the American commercial starring Ashton Kutcher who is playing the character of an “Indian producer named Raj” whilst wearing heavy brown face makeup on his face and a heavier accent which is “supposed” to be Indian?
Watch this video with Hasan Minhaj explaining the whole debacle. Worth your time, I promise.
A topic as crucial to an individual’s personal growth as this has to be ingrained into us at the earliest stage possible. It should be tackled at school, where an innocent teasing remark with racist undertones can have a regressive impact on a kid.
Discrimination is not something that can be taught in an hour or overnight. Its foundations run deep and are fused with blind hate and a primal need to divide the community into an “us” and “them” so you can brand “them” as enemies for eternity.
And children are extremely susceptible and they learn from what they perceive from their surroundings. If we don’t tackle such issues at the root level, we will always fall just short of attaining equality and justice for all.
Image Credits: Google Images
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