Fifty shades of fair: why colour gets under our skin

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Author: Chetan Bhagat


Date:5th April 2015

This article by Chetan Bhagat is written against the backdrop of remarks made by BJP minister Giriraj Singh about “white-skinned” Sonia Gandhi. Most people have a liking for a fair skin and they consider people with fair skin as beautiful and even in some extreme cases attribute higher status to them. Author takes the instance of our multi-million dollar fairness products industry where they depict fair-skinned babies only. He also articulates how Indians hold wrong notions about the colour black with respect to marriage that some black people need to be an IIT-IIM-PHD for their marriage to become a reality and the women are the ones who bear the maximum brunt. Fair-skinned people get better opportunities and get an upper-hand in certain jobs. He takes the example of white-coloured female attendants and Author refers to this phenomenon as pigmentocracy. He urges the people to dig deep and find the root cause of all this nonsense instead of just condemning such attacks and showing themselves off on social media .There is a prejudiced mindset that is prevalent in the minds of the people with respect to the context of the skin which signify that white is pure, cleanliness while black is dirty. White colour is associated to a European or Caucasian ethnicity and these people are considered to be more affluent and successful on an average. Author is right on the money when he states that Indians need to come over from the notion that everything Indian is ugly, bad. Indians have this inscribed low self-esteem. There is more to it. Our skin is only a peripheral thing and the intrgral part is how diligent, mentally fair and capable we are!! Look at Rajnikanth from South or for that matter Will Smith or Rihanna who are adored in the West inspite of them being black. It is the mental set up that needs to undergo a radical change in our country. If you look at it positively then colour black also signifies youth, health and beauty. Thus color is a nominal thing and Chetan makes a very good point when he states that people instead of craving for skin-color should become aspirational of the qualities that would stand out among any colors.