Perspectives on Race

A Discussion about Events Concerning Race

Racism Amongst South Asians

with one comment

Skin color is a serious issue in the context of South Asia ( India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan). In this part of the world there happens to be strong veneration for light skin as evidenced by Bollywood ( the world’s largest movie industry with about 3 billion viewers) movie heroes and heroines and the prevalence of “fairness” creams such as Unilver’s notorious Fair and Lovely Cream, a product which has massive consumer base in this region. Note there is also a Fair and Handsome now for men. Fair skin in South Asian society is usually framed as being upper caste and higher class when more often than not it isn’t the case. Just look at Laksmi Mittal and the Ambani family who despite being dark skinned are amongst the the top ten richest people in the world (Forbes).  Historically this problem can be traced by to the British who emphasized that fair skinned Indian were actually “white people” who descended from the so-called Indo-Aryans who subjugated the primitive, darker peoples of India and established Indian civilization. Dark skinned prior to the British was less an issue and even venerated in some respects as evidenced by the extremely popular Hindu deity Krishna who is said to have been the color of rain clouds.

Although this subject has been taboo and hush hush for quite some time, lately it has come under scrutiny by individuals such as Anchal Joseph from America’s Top Model. Anchal, who is a dark skinned Indian girl, received backlash from American South Asians after she made a comment exposing the bigotry in the South Asian community even though she was right.  Feminist groups ( mainly because this problem affects women more than men) in South Asia have also begun to speak out against the skin color issue as well.


Written by zsayed

September 21, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. It makes no sense to me how those who are born with dark skin try to get lighter in order to be “beautiful,” and those with light skin go through so much trouble and sometimes money to get darker skin. Tanning salons are very unhealthy, but that fact is not taken into account. Likewise, bleach creams can not possible be good for skin, yet people use it anyway. As a whole, society makes everyone believe that they are missing something vital to be considered beautiful. It’s horrible.


    September 22, 2009 at 4:29 pm

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