Mental Illness or Racism Disguised – Here’s What Is Not Important!

by Giz TimesJune 30, 2015

Mental Illness or Racism Disguised – Here’s what is not important!

My name is not important. What I look like is not important. What I believe in, well, that is important. And I’m going to tell you what I believe in, don’t you worry about that, but first let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a young girl whose name is not important, but what she looked like is important because it haunted her the rest of her life. As a young girl, she used to sit in front of the T.V. with her pretty little Barbie in her hand, her hair tied in a perfect braid by her mother, and would watch these beautiful women on the television screen. “Fairness in just 2 weeks,” they promised her and she would witness the woman on the screen turn into a beautiful swan from an ugly duckling. No wonder she was impressed. “One day I’m going to be like them,” she always thought, but, alas! That day never came. She didn’t grow up to be like them. Her skin wasn’t like those glowing pearls the other girls were always compared to. She was dark skinned and refused to believe that she was lovely. Years went by and her little miracle never happened. She never turned out to be those fair skinned goddesses she always wished to be, and she refused to believe anyone could even love her for the way she looked. Silly girl, they loved you. You just didn’t love yourself.

But why is it like that, have you ever asked? What gives anyone the mind-set that they can judge anyone, and most importantly, themselves, based on what just their exterior looks like? Why are we so wilfully blind to what we really are and so focused on what we look like? Let me tell you something. I have always had fair skin. I am not saying I desired it or didn’t want it, I’m just saying I have it and never actually realized how it mattered until one of my friend actually came up to me and said, “I wish I was as fair as you.” I was a kid, I didn’t think it meant anything other than being a compliment to me. But now that I think about it, I feel like I should have done something else than just blushing and murmuring a thank you. I wish I would have grabbed that girl, looked her straight in the eye and said that whatever she looked like was enough, that she was not a colour. Maybe I should have repeated it several times and maybe, eventually she would have believed me. Maybe if she would have grown up reading tales of princesses being strong, independent and proud of whatever they were than being fair skinned and dressing pretty, she would have believed me, or better, never even thought that somehow my skin colour was better than hers. How did we get here? When did we let a simple thing as colour separate and define us? Do people not realize that judging someone based on their skin colour is ridiculous as fuck? How do you get to determine that just because someone has a white skin, they simply somehow are better than any other human being and deserve more? I’m pretty sure you can see that pale women aren’t being kept from opportunities based on their shade. Open a magazine, they are there. They are all over the ramp, TV shows, movies, holy hell, they are everywhere. And meanwhile women with dark skin not only have to deal with racism but colourism within their own communities. They’re overseen for job offers, how the only way to find a husband is to lighten your skin, and how much more beautiful light skin is etc. etc. etc. One thing I could never understand is the relativity between skin colour and marriage. How is that every guy out there is looking for a “fair” bride? Is this some proven scientific fact that fair skinned women make better wives? Like, oh, you’re fair, will you marry my son? I’m sure you’d make a perfect bride for him even though I have no idea what kind of person you are and for all I know, you could actually murder our entire family, but NOPE, you’re fair skinned so rishta pakka.

Let me tell you a small thing about myself: I like to read. I, for once, would like to read a book which actually shows a “coloured” human being as the protagonist. Don’t get me wrong. I know there are characters of different skin colours in the books but mostly, they are all minor characters. Those people aren’t your Augustus Waters or Harry Potter or Sherlock Holmes or Katniss Everdeen. And don’t you think it is funny? White skinned are so obsessed with having a “tan” and people with even a slightly darker shade go crazy over having lighter skin. It is such a vicious cycle. You can just never win, so I say, why even try? Why even care about things as unimportant as what our skin colour is? Are we really naïve enough to ignore the fact that there are bigger problems in this world that what one’s skin shade is? I once met a boy and he, having good intentions, I am sure, said, “We are all the same, so why judge each other?” and I appreciated him for having such noble thoughts but I would have preferred for him and everyone else to believe and know that we are not the same. We all are different and what I want is for everyone to be okay with that. White, brown, black..we are not the same, and that’s okay. We don’t need to tell ourselves and everyone that we are the same. No, we need to tell that we are all different and we should respect each other for that.

If you are still reading this and thinking how tired you really are of me talking about colour racism, then can you even imagine how tired everyone else is of constantly experiencing it and witnessing it through their eyes? We have seen it enough as it is, but one of the many reasons I am even talking about it is because I need my children to grow in a world where their main concerns are what kind of a human they actually are, rather than what kind of a person they look like. I know I am just one human being and cannot change the world, but I tell you, it is a damn well place to start.

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Author: Mrinal Verma

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