Fair and Lovely? Unfair and unloving towards one's dark skin
In light of the Indian Government's proposal on a ban on advertisements promoting fair skin, Sania Merchant writes about the importance of embracing your own skin tone and rejecting the internalised racism faced by people living in India
“I have this turmeric paste recipe you can use"
“You should try bleach facial"
“You would be prettier if your skin was fairer"
These are a bunch of comments that millions of Indians hear every day. India, a country where an estimated $500 million dollar fairness industry runs in the market, fair skin is given higher importance in an individual rather than their intelligence, kindness or any other personality trait; a country where advertisements state that fair skin is considered a necessity for a good job, a good spouse and a good future overall. One would assume that a country that faced racism throughout the majority of their modern existence would do their best to eradicate racism, however, the unfortunate truth is that majority of the country's citizen themselves face and even inflict a strong level of intense racism towards their own skin and race.
People get rid of any darkness on their skin as if it's some kind of taint as if they don't want to be the people of a country which is known for people who are "Brown", as if they are trying to rub off any sign of colonialism they faced that led to an intense amount of insecurity and hatred towards their own forefathers skin colour.
Thought history, due to European influence, Indians worshipped light-skin more than they worshipped their own Gods and Goddesses. Slapping fairness cream on their faces every day- those same fairness creams which promise of make your skin few shades lighter within 5 weeks, bleach their face every month ritually as if they are paying their monthly bill, applying various home-made cream that their grandparents swear by, cover every single inch of their body with sunscreen because heaven forbid that a slight shade of tan shows up- a tan which represents a sign of melanin or history of their race.
How long will this go on? How long will you put on fairness cream, bleach, turmeric pastes to remove darkness from your skin? Let your skin carry ahead the history and legacy of your forefathers forward to future generations. Let your skin colour be a shield which tells a story because your skin colour is not a curse but a blessing. You are beautiful just the way you are and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Your skin colour is beautiful. You are beautiful.
You don't need to look Fair and Lovely to be accepted in the society, all you need to do it be fair towards yourself and love every inch of you, even if means loving the brown skin your forefathers left you with.