Have been rather disturbed and thinking about this “dark skinned women are inferior” meme after reading what my good friend Deepa posted on her timeline. About how one of her friends was rejected, by a potential groom, for being dark skinned. And like any other biased person my first reaction was that oh well its a personal choice why make a fuss? But then is it really a “true” personal choice? Maybe not.!
The context is that someone rejected a wonderful person and decided not to marry her because of her dark skin which means that this “groom” would reject all the dark skinned people indeed on the basis of their skin colour rather than individually considering whether he finds them attractive or not. It is no different to saying i didn’t like her because she is a muslim or a Hindu I guess? Of course you can call it a “personal preference”, but it still means that you are doing it solely on the basis of that. We as a society are biased to dark skin because society tells us to think that way. It is there in all of us. All the fairness ad and movies we see in the main stream media and films, the developed western societies we aim to be like, the prim and prop white men and women of hollywood, the outsourcing model where the boss is mostly white, the upper cast Brahmin Aryan fair skinned race which still controls the 90% of India and its various components, everything moulds our society to undoubtedly connect fairness to “well being”, prosperity and sophistication. Communities who have worked outside in the fields, in the sun could have evolved to be dark skinned perhaps and the ones who could afford to stay inside for centuries evolved to have less melanin maybe. I am not sure whether there is any scientific evidence behind that, but it is just a thought.
So there we go, we Indians (Asians to be more correct) are anglophiles and we suck up to the fairness meme big time. And the dangerous thing is that we do not even realize that we are propagating and reinforcing such a shameful meme. The fact that because of your skin color you have to live a life with low self esteem and discrimination is quite cruel and sad. It took me to get to my late 20s to be comfortable about my dark skin and I know many a people who are like that. Why deprive the sense of belonging to people in this world yes?
Discriminating a person because she is fair skinned is also equally dubious, just like how dubious it is to discriminate people based on their caste or language or place where they come from etc.
The goal of a non-discriminatory society is to get people to consider individuals, not groups even if someone was a fanatical Hindu or a Muslim it would not be right to reject them on the basis of being a fanatical Hindu or muslim, but on the basis of the things they say, do and think *as* a fanatical Hindu or muslim. Beauty is definitely irrespective of skin colour. This dark skin color bias is an institutional thing, unfortunately. It is *hypothetically* possible that someone would grow up, without any exterior influence, with a distaste for dark skin, but it seems extremely unlikely without some very peculiar conditioning. Society keeps telling us that being fair skinned is a winner. So the problem is it is not a “true” personal preference because when it comes down to it you can always make an argument from “personal preference”. But, if we take a different analogy, lets say you wouldn’t marry anyone with brown hair or, lets say you wouldn’t marry anyone who was born on a monday? How ridiculous does that sound, isn’t? It is because we are not conditioned to think that having brown hair or being born on a Monday is not good. It’s the fact that dark skinned bias is an institutional thing that makes it a problem, so if you find yourself *preferring* fairer girls, then you should probably question whether or not you are falling prey to social conditioning.
We have to come out of this fairness meme and start appreciating individuals for their merit.