If you had noticed, during colour preferences, the majority of the men and women choose black over white. Yet, for a very long time, everywhere in the world the obsession for having a lighter skin tone (whitish) has been prevailing in humankind by giving rise to racial discrimination.
Not very long ago, The Oprah Winfrey Show featured Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Megan, Duchess of Sussex, where they revealed, while Meghan was pregnant with their son Archie, the British royal family were dwelling on the colour of their baby. The brutality of the Royals hit everywhere, but this is not uncommon to Indians? Most pregnant women gulp a mouthful of saffron milk (kumkumapoo paal) with a belief that the baby will be fairer.
In the unleashed pandemic when a black man was being harassed to death, gave birth to a movement called ‘Black Lives Matter’ and it brought to pass among Indians. To conform rest of the world, the social issue of America became the talk of the town in India.
Do you think racism is only identified in Western countries and not in India? Even though Indians belong to the same race, all of us know the answer is no. If you have a dusky or dark skin tone, in general, people would label you with various names and you will tend to get rejected solely based on your skin colour as a baby in the womb to an individual in the process of marriage proposals.
Predominately Indians have come a long way in describing colour complexion, it has become an evident key factor in the social construction of culture and traditions. In human civilization right from media advertisements to friends and relatives have become a part to exert social pressures on the road to be obsessed with white skin tone.
We live in a country where the whitish cream company fair and lovely has replaced the word fair with glow to create a façade like breaking a stereotype, but still, the archetypical society is being preyed to these whitening creams’ for transient of lighter skin tone. And the irony is most of us have been victims of these creams and some are still targets.
I was a six-year-old kid when I watched my first movie in the theatre and it was Sivaji: The Boss. Honestly, I didn’t feel good and I was kinda disturbed for having a dusky skin tone. During major scenes, especially with Angavai and Sangavai characters and presenting them as the comedy element to the audiences, made me think if something is wrong with me or with the society?
Later, when I grew up, watching the movie again, I realised it portrayed even more lunatic actions and morals of people who were immersed with these ideologies. The representation of Rajini using remedies- drinking saffron milk, dipping himself in sandalwood, eating fruits etc can turn a dusky or dark individual to a lighter skin tone manifests today’s reality.
On a whole, this outlines that India is an obsessed country for believing that fair is superior to dark; Give it a thought. We are not trying to break the stigma but we have built strong walls on a belief system that skin colour has something to do with everything. Maybe Sivaji blaze a trail for me to understand the societal pressure. And I am sure, you will have yours too.
Either way, if you look closely, the entire media industry lays its foundation only for actors and actresses with fair skin tone. It has become a very big influential factor to the viewers by seating oneself to believe beauty and perfection has to reject dark.
Back in the days, in India, mostly, fairer skin tones got better opportunities than darker. Not going to lie, some still face these crisis. And Rajinikanth was a huge breakthrough. He ruled the world with his style. But I can’t deny the fact that during his initial cinema journey, he went through major setbacks and was shunned for being dark. And this was told by the famous director Mahendran in his interview with Bosskey.
If you look back in history, even the Vedic text has failed terribly to teach principles when it comes to racism. It identified Aryans as fair and Dravidians as dark. It polished that colour helps to identify one’s worth and value. No wonder, it conceptualizes why Hitler wanted his fellow Germans to look like Aryan.
Nobody is going to teach us about the misconception of these ideologies. Because people have been passing this from generation to generation that gives a wrong image. And it is our responsibility to educate ourselves more on this. We need to analyse and ask questions as to why. Rather we shouldn’t get carried away by the wrong concepts that are meant for spreading and imposing wrong beliefs. Rather help people around us to bring new perspectives.
Ps: comment below, what you think about it? I would be glad to know your views on this.