With everything going on in the news and people trying to educate themselves on different topics around racism. It is important that South Asian people from India and Pakistan, start to look within themselves.
We as a community have the biggest subconscious bias that we have been brought up with for generations. Our grandparents, our parents and now us. But now is the time to change that. I am talking about the bias which prefers a lighter-skinned person over a darker-skinned person. When I talk about this I am not even talking about other races, I literally mean brown people. As there are lighter-skinned brown people and darker-skinned brown people.
However, over the generations, we have somehow begun to see the lighter-skinned brown people as more attractive and beautiful, be it a guy or a girl.
Why is this an issue?
Because to judge someone on the colour of their skin is unacceptable, unfair and intolerable.
This is a big issue for the South Asian communities because young boys and girls grow up trying to achieve this ‘ideal’ trying to change something which is hard if not impossible to change. They shouldn’t have to feel insecure in their own skin because we think it is a great ideal to hold.
The issue has also created a multi-million dollar industry of fairness products, masks, and bleach cream which thrive because we let this idea of fair skin is the best run through thousands of families across the south Asian communities. However, if we decided to change that then these industries would die and we would create a generation of people who wouldn’t feel conscious of their skin colour, who wouldn’t discriminate because they were bought of thinking they are superiors because they are lighter-skinned than others.
The above is just part of the problem because there is a whole different part of this issue where aunties in the South Asian Communities think it is okay to say these horrible things to little kids, parents of new-borns as well as girls they might be looking at getting their sons married to.
What this does is, create a cycle. Which carries on over and over. As someone hears this stuff being said about them and then they say that about someone else and over and over we see the same patterns in our society.
We have talked about the problem. What is the solution?
- Talk to your family members – see what they think and what they have experienced and try to show them why thinking in this specific way might not be right. Having a conversation with them will mean you will be able to target the source of where this issue comes from.
For e.g. when I spoke to my mum about this. She just said she had grown up with those things being said all around her and those fairness products just being everywhere in her house so it was something that internalised. This made me realise that a lot of the time our parents and grandparents don’t even see where the issue is coming from themselves, they have just been following the traditions and therefore, sitting down and talking to them can break that cycle.
- STOP SPENDING YOUR MONEY WITH THOSE COMPANIES. We all know what companies I am talking about when I say fairness products. So make sure you don’t buy those products and throw them out of your house. Because when we stop spending money with them, they fail to exist and are unable to push out this false idea of lighter-skinned people being better than darker-skinned people.
- The media you consume. This is a very important part of the issue. I am a big listener of Bollywood music and watch a lot of Bollywood films. This idea is constantly shown and pushed out in Bollywood songs and movies where they talk about the colour of the actor in the songs to refer to her beauty. We keep listening to that and again subconsciously take it in. So it’s important we sit and reflect what we watch, read and listen to. If any of those reflect these ideas then we need to stop and change that. It is easy to blame celebrities for issues like this but trust me the moment we come together as a community to stop watching, listening and paying for these things. These things will stop for themselves.
I remember I was having a conversation with my manager once and she said you can’t change other people. That’s not possible. What you can do and what you do have control over is yourself. So change your habits, change your media, change your buying habits and things will start changing themselves.
If you are interested in having a chat or have any questions then drop me a comment and let’s talk about this.