If you are abreast with the news and the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, you probably know what it stands for. For those who are still under blissful ignorance, here’s what happened-
On May 25, George Floyd, an African-American man from Minneapolis, died after police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knee on the former’s throat for close to nine minutes. Protests have begun in various parts of the US against police violence targeting minorities, especially African-Americans.
The world is expressing fury against the US authorities and political system for being so brutal and apathetic towards the man George Floyd and protesting for this classic racism to end!
Closer home, this protest is trending on Indian social media as well. (I mean, if the West starts something, can India be behind? ) So, the Twitterazis, Youtubers, Instastars, Facebook Gyaanis basically everyone is expressing their opinions, views, anger, support in this incident. Primarily, because they believe that #blacklivesmatter and how we should not be classifying/giving specific social treatment to people based on their skin tone.
Now I have a question. It is good to support the cause that’s burning in the West BUT…
Have we Indians had a closer look to what extent we practice racism in our OWN country? How about banishing that first?
To me it is more like, A professor who preaches how domestic violence is bad and it should end but beats his own wife mercilessly at home.
We Indians shouldn’t say #blacklivesmatter because that just shows what a huge bunch of hypocrites we are.
As history speaks, India has been a land that has always had some sort of divide (be it wage wise, class, sex, caste, colour or religion! ) I don’t have to quote examples to prove it… (Varna System, NRC, CAA, Ayodhya, Babri Masjid, Equal pay for Equal work, Fair and Lovely… Do you get me?)
So having said that, I feel we need to sort some issues in our homeland first before we join the bandwagon of anti-racism protests in the West.
I say STOP SAYING #BLACKLIVESMATTER
When you don’t cast deserving and talented actors in lead roles because of their skin tone
When the biggest film industry in the world (Bollywood) shys away from casting great deserving & talented actors because of their skin tone, the lead roles are booked for ‘fair, handsome and fair and lovely beauties’ and the roles of side kick, daaku (gangster), villian, village guy/girl etc. are passed on to those not-so-fair actors.
Stereotype much Bollywood?
When you support skin lightening treatments, Fairness endorsements
Indian beauty and personal care (BPC) industry is estimated to be worth USD 8 billion. India’s per capita spend on beauty and personal care is growing in line with India’s GDP growth. What’s more, The market – which includes creams, face washes, deodorants, even a vaginal whitener (for god’s sake!) – is estimated to be worth about 270 billion rupees ($4 billion) and is growing at a steady clip.
Reason? Our unhealthy obsession with ‘Gori chikni twacha’ (*Fair smooth skin) So much so that actresses who were dusky in their initial days in Bollywood resorted to skin lightening treatments JUST so that they could remain in business!
Indian cosmetic companies and celebrities are raking money by making & endorsing fairness products respectively, for the simple reason that the demand is stupendously high!
When You Buy Fairness Creams, Bleaches, Cosmetics
Like I mentioned, demand= supply. Indians are obsessed with products that change lightens their skintone 3-4 shades down. However harmful they might be to our skin, we risk it all to get that perfect ‘Chaand sa nikhaar’ (*fairness like the moon)
When you groove to the songs that have lyrics that only magnifies beauty that’s Fair and what’s fair is beautiful
Bollywood undoubtedly has a very major role to play in influencing the mindset of the masses because it is a mass medium! Public idolizes actors and actresses for their act in the movies and the songs they sing.
Which is where the role of Indian song lyrics also comes to play, words make a huge impact and we have seen it in our songs.
How many times we have heard a song that appreciates a dusky beauty instead of a fair belle? All our songs appreciate fair women and we groove to them all!
Imagine, even if the heroine is from a village in an Indian film, she is referred to as ‘Gaaon ki gori’ (*Fair woman of the village) Look at the irony! Do our villages have all fair women? I don’t think so.
When you are open to date any skin coloured person but are rigid to marry ONLY a FAIR skinned one
Matrimonial ads offer an interesting window to study changing social trends and how social exchange resources are changing. Among all features, height and skin complexion is given importance in the case of ‘Brides wanted’. So much so that there was an unemployed man who advertised for a Fair & patriotic wife! (that ad went viral)
People are OK to date irrespective of the skin tone, but when matters turn serious (marriage worthy) they are inclined towards finding a partner who is fair, beautiful, handsome!
Do you see the level of deep rooted fairness-obsession?
When say names like Kaali, kalooti, kaaliya to call dark skinned people
We have seen it in movies, real life and probably would have done it to our friends too. I am talking about calling specific names like Kaali, bhoot, kaaliya to not so fair people.
No wonder it is derogatory for them to be called by these names, but why should we even say it to begin with it?
You may like to read- Must Watch- Nandita Das’s Video Against Skincolour Discrimination- India’s Got Colour
So next time that you plan to post on this trending topic on racism, look around and see for yourself if you or others are free from classifying people on the basis of their skin tone or not.
It ain’t about black or white, in the end we are all human! If you imbibe this into practice, Only then will it make sense to post #blacklivesmatter or rather every life matters! Let me know what you think in the comments below.