Let’s start this topic with some simple questions: Why does the skin color of a person matter? Why do most people discriminate against others against something so natural? Even if we say we don’t discriminate, why are harmful skin-whitening cosmetics, creams, and even surgeries so popular in the market?
To answer these questions, one must know the origin of this concept. According to a Wikipedia article, Colorism was a device used by the white colonists to separate the non-white skinned and further the idea that being as close to white as possible was the ideal image. Thus colonialism created a social hierarchy based on colour. With the spread of colonial rule, the colour discrimination also broadened for centuries. Now it’s difficult for people to get ahead of what they think is followed for ages.
Many people might just think that dark people are dirty or discriminate against them for fun, but the impact of that discrimination stays with them. The feeling of inferiority creeps in and makes it hard for some to lead a normal life. Self-acceptance becomes extremely difficult, and many go down the path of skin-whitening cosmetics, risking their natural skin just to stop hearing nasty comments or become the center of attention.
Our very own Bollywood industry and ads contribute to their share of racism. Many people have already talked about it. But did the pattern change? Obviously not. The bias against dark people is still trending.
This is beyond my thinking capacity that why should anyone feel they have the right to discriminate against anyone when the person or race isn’t even creating an issue for them? Is this what we call freedom of speech and expression?
To have an opinion and to force an opinion on someone is entirely different, and one has to realize this. Just like I did. There was a particular instance in my school. I never knew what friendship was until a lonely, dark girl was partnered beside me. At first, I too used to ignore her like the rest of the class partly because of my introversion and partly because of peer pressure. One thing was common between us, our introversion. And that led to our first talk.
As we talked more and more each day, I thought, why didn’t I met her earlier? And the answer shook me deeply. She was here all the while in front of us, but not with us. I regretted judging her by her skin color and having missed eight long, lonely school years without her friendship. This instance changed me for the better. I started looking at people with a different perspective, and that really helped in many aspects of my life.
As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out Darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” As a society, this is the time to let dark people live their own way without forcing a judgment on them.
Content Credits : Aditi Roy Choudhury