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Monday 19 July 2021

I am Fair and Not Proud

Not so long ago, there was an advertisement where a girl gets rejected from an air hostess’s institution for being too dark-skinned. And her father decided to take revenge. He made some sort of cream which made her skin fair. got the job. I think in the subtext, she even marries the company’s CEO.

And I have another one, this one is from last year.

The most talented Kiara Advani (the brilliant actress from Kabir Singh, who took her acting fee for a silent role and no acting) suggesting another girl use some fairness cream, and hence become worthy of “Kala Tika”. Apparently, it is not needed for dark skin people.

I am not criticizing advertisements; I just wish that life was that easy. If only having a fair skin tone could solve all your problems in life. Unfortunately, life is much more difficult, complex.

Hence, let’s talk about shadeism.

According to Baba Google,

“Discrimination based on skin colour, also known as colourism, or shadeism is a form of prejudice and/or discrimination in which people who share similar ethnicity traits or perceived race are treated differently based on the social implications that come with the cultural meanings that are attached to skin colour.”

In simple words, if you are fair life is better for you in some ways and if you have dark skin, only God can help you.

Here are a few examples of how shadeism works.

➨ I have heard multiple times in my life that my parents have to give a lot of dowry in order to get me married. Unfortunately, my husband didn’t even receive a penny. That’s what you get when you marry a feminist, no money and a lot of opinions.


➨ Between me and my hubby, I am comparatively lighter skin. When my daughter was born someone gave a compliment… well she thought it is a compliment that my daughter is lucky not to have her father’s skin colour. I was about to kill her (hormones), then I thought; I can’t survive in jail, and ended up telling her to fuck off in the most subtle way possible.


➨ In the recent past, someone called me exotic. Disclaimer alert, it’s not my husband, we are married for 7 years, adjective games are over between us. Well, back to the topic, here exotic is not at all a compliment. It is a subtle way to say you are dark yet fuckable.

The examples will never end, not for me, and not for any other dark skin person.

Now the question is, why?

The most simplified way to describe this is...

“In India, the words for fair and beautiful are synonymous”.

Most of the research suggests,  shadeism have their roots in slavery and colonialism. We Indians were ruled by fair-skinned Britishers (so-called civilized folks) for around 200 years. Even after the end of colonialism, this idea has been deeply entrenched into our minds, hence society. The concept that fair is equal to superior is so much ingrown in our mind that, it became practically impossible to overcome. This is the bitter truth even today, where George Floyd got murdered because of his skin colour. 

This is the unfortunate truth of our society. 

Hence the final thought, what needs to be done? 

It is as simple and as difficult at the same time – we need to unlearn that black is a bad concept. And teach the same to our children.

In the end, what Martin Luther King, Jr. said…

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

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