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Racial Discrimination

I am an Indian and I abhor racism directed towards "my" people. Who do I mean by "my"?... Indians like me. However, the obvious bias in the Indian society is thought provoking if not enraging. The recent Chiman Rai conviction in United States or the furore over keeping out black cheerleaders in the recently concluded IPL are examples to the point in discussion. The obsession with color in India is not just a disease, it is also an industry. Take the case of all the creams, balms and lotions that are supposed to turn you milky white in a matter of days. While I dread to imagine myself milky white, it is no exaggeration to say guys are as smitten by color bug as are girls. Finally, in a effort to woo the "in the closet" males who used to buy the lotions "for their sister", male versions of the wonder lotions are out in the market. So to say we are not bothered by color is like denying the need to breathe air.

When someone we know faces ridicule for his/her color we are all up in arms launching a tirade against the guilty party, burning effigies, shouting slogans against individual, organization and even countries. We take refuge in racist self pity when a strong individual of a brighter color has been mean to us. We also use hangover from the colonial rule as one of our "ailments".

However the same hangover does not seem to apply when dealing with people more "colored" than us. Imagine a little Indian girl in the west who suffers from lack of self esteem and confidence because she is of a different color to her classmates. While her classmates teasing her might be part of the reason for this, the bigger reason must and should have been the constant drilling of "drink this, you will become fair and beautiful" or "don't do that, you will get darker" or "don't play in the sun, your skin will be.... " from her parents, family and "well-wishers". She will live with that complex all her life and most probably pass it on to the next generation too. When will this obsession with color end?

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