Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Being Fair!

Not too long back(or was it?) I had written an article on racism. This topic is a bit similar to that. Its about our(ie Indians) obsession with becoming fair, in the literal sense of course. Why is everyone so desperate to be fair? Why does almost every bachelor in the country desire a fair, beautiful, slim, good-looking bride? What’s wrong with being dark and not-so-good-looking? Lots, I must say. Let’s have a detailed look into it.

First of all, it has been statistically proved that being white and good looking increases your chances of grabbing a job. Say you are a dark complexioned woman, with average looks. Chances are that your interviewer will get a negative first impression on seeing you for the first time. This impression comes from within (its natural psychology) and you can do little to change it. The reason for this is our sensory perception. Anything fair and ostensibly good-looking directly affects our nerve impulses and generates a positive stimulus. Am not going to go into the esoteric biological details of sensory perception (My biology sucks in any case). The bottom-line is that Fair/White/Handsome/Beautiful is in; Dark & Average Looks is out. You can say that Beauty lies in the Eye of the Beholder. Very true! But in 9 cases out of 10[in General], white means beautiful, dark implies ugliness.

What can the reason for this be? Perhaps 200 years of British dominance made the pliable hoi-polloi believe that the White leader was the Supreme Lord, and that if you were exceedingly fair, you could do practically anything you wanted. You would rule and dominate others, and make them dance to your tunes. And maybe this thought embedded itself deep into the mind of most Indians, even after the British left us. Moreover, due to the recent Western impact, and the advent of Globalization, the current youth started emulating the west. Many people embraced American and European culture, their language, food, clothing, style of living, and even accents. They wanted to look like Americans as well, and in this aspect, Caucasians in particular. The ubiquitous white foreigner who can achieve anything with the snap of a finger. Blacks were largely ignored and ostracized, not only in USA, but in majority of the other countries as well(South Africa for example). Thus the common misconception spread: Blacks were venal humans, who were nefarious criminals. All bad deeds were committed by them. And the Whites were the heroes, the protectors. Racism dominated the Hollywood industry. Almost all leading protagonists were whites (there were a few notable exceptions- Sydney Pollack, Samuel Jackson, etc-but a minority), and most criminals(especially mafia gang members and prisoners) were black. The same quip got repeated- ‘White is Good. Non-white is Nugatory.’

Suddenly, Indians(descendants of the oldest and the most diversified civilization) became frantically obsessed with fairness. Fairness cream industries bloomed, and till today fool customers into thinking that applying pastes on their faces can actually make them fairer. A recent study has shown that prolonged usage of such creams (which contain pernicious chemicals) can cause unmitigated skin damage. Some people cover their bodies from head to toe-with talcum powder, with the false belief that it makes them look fairer. Instead it gives them a ghastly appearance, to say the least. Chetan Bhagat has perspicaciously highlighted this fact in his 4th novel- Two States. I am quite sure you are aware of his thoughts.

The worst part of this has to do with marriage. As I have mentioned before, take up any newspaper and look at the Matrimonial section. ‘Wanted- Fair, beautiful, slim, attractive bride for so and so. Must be tall and white…’ I must say, are they looking for life-partners or Trophies to be set and kept for display- ‘Come, have a look at my trop… er Wife, isn’t she beautiful?’ What is this, if not hubris? True love has no boundaries. If you feel that you only want a partner who is white, slim, tall, blah blah.. forget it, you can never find love that way. Physical looks do matter a lot, but most of it is psychological.

If we see a white foreigner, we tend to go into an eccentric frenzy. We consider white celebrities as Gods and Goddesses, and nearly every man desires to have someone like Angelina Jolie[need I mention she is Caucasian?] as his partner. Whereas people tend to ridicule persons who have a dark-complexioned wife. Recently one man committed suicide due to the fact that people used to taunt him over his wife’s looks. Such travesties need to be precluded as early as possible.

Our skin color is a God-given gift (Okay it depends on genes as well). Why must we make such a hullabaloo over it? Clearly, if someone is brown or black, does it make him any less adroit or worthy than a white person? Do we really need to make this squalid distinction over race and color? I do not think so. All human beings are equal, and they deserve to be treated that way, irrespective of their skin color. It’s high time that we learnt our lesson. Rather than purchasing useless creams, it is better for us to hone our personality and develop constructive skills, which will enable us to become a better, empathetic human being.


The Analyst said...

Skin colour is almost an issue no wonder fairness creams have rocking sales all over the country, we should accept for who we are

sulekkha said...

If everybody thought like you and me, then we would have no cosmetics industry in the world.They prey on the insecurities of innocent people and make money. White is definitely not always beautiful Nice post, Satwinder.

chejom2010 said...

Im obsessed also for having fairer skin,i used to took lots of glutathion and used whitening cream.just to impressed men..but it has nothing to do with the color of the skin..maybe i just carried away with all the advertisement and such..anyways great post.

Roy Durham said...

there are none so dark as the ones blinded by the light that they can not see the beauty of the dark great post thank you

SJ said...

When will people realise that beauty comes from within not out. Great post

carbibles said...

sidney poitier you must mean. poitier was definitely a lone black star during his times, but by the time samuel l jackon arrived, there were quite a few other black leading men on the circuit. personally, i dont think there is anyone who is not 'good-looking', whether or not they are fair or dark or wheatish or for that matter magenta in complexion. if in doubt, ask the subject's mother. you might think i am an idealist, but far from it.
on one hand you say that it is wired into us to react positively to 'fair and ostensibly god looking' and on the other you say that indians are affected by the british rule to think highly of fair complexion. well, what about the africans, african americans, indians, japs, chinese, arabs and so on.
the fact is that there are multiple races which inhabit this earth and all these races are fully compatible, not just sexually but also reproductively. So there is no saying that a white fully white norse viking will not fancy an ebony dark african.
now that brings us to something more social and racial. will the african male like it that out of the pool of chicks available, one is taken away by some norse viking? will the norse female pool like that an eligible male from their society has opted for an ebony chick? thus gets built a social psyche, natural and artificial selection gets affected by this social pressure and turns normal norse vikings into closet ebony worshippers. (you could replace the subjects in this whole examples with a maharashtrian dark male and a fair jatti female)
i would have loved your article to be more based in statistics and hard facts rather than just something cooked up in your head and projected as reality. anyway, maybe you will think read and survey more before claiming thoughts as facts. maybe this comment will help you along!
and finally, is selling whitening potions wrong?
i say no. there is a lot of stuff up for sale. you decide what to buy, you decide which tv ad to watch, you decide whether or not you will have a relationship with someone who doesnt share your complexion.
and get your movie fact straight bro, a little research would be in the right earnest.

carbibles said...

'Recently one man committed suicide due to the fact that people used to taunt him over his wife’s looks. Such travesties need to be precluded as early as possible.' err... does anyone at all think that this man's act insulted his wife more than anyone else was able to, or is it just me. hritik roshan gave a nice interview in august 2011 which should do well for guidance. look it up!

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