The death of George Floyd in America recently has served as a wakeup call for everyone to put an end to the age-old discrimination based on skin color. Thousands of people everywhere are coming out to protest, forgetting all about the pandemic situation in memory of George Floyd, who was restrained and suffocated by the Minneapolis policeman, leading to his death.
The discrimination against African-Americans and dark-skinned people in America and everywhere in this world has been going on for ages. The fair-skinned always gets the upper hand in almost every opportunity in life, which is really unfair. The color of our skin is nothing and occurs due to the presence of melanin, a color pigment.
The discrimination against dark-skinned people is no less in India as well. The concept of the importance of having fair skin has become deep-rooted in our minds. The truth is, every skin color is unique and beautiful in its own way.
Colorism, Something that we have normalized
Colorism is a term to describe discrimination based on skin color or discrimination against the dark-skinned. Even though the obsession with the fair skin has been prevailing in our country for as long as we can remember, with the recent killing of George Floyd, we all are now questioning our choices.
Growing up, we all have heard our elders say, “Don’t play out in the sun too much, you will get dark, getting sunburnt. You will look bad”. Hearing such statements that have been going around for ages now, has made us think of having dark skin as a minus point.
Point out the right reason
On a different note, playing out in the sun as kids, we barely keep track of our time, which may cause dehydration and making some of us go down with a fever. This is what kids should be told rather than pointing out the fact that skin will get dark.
The rejection of girls in marriage based on her color – Not cool
Another sad but ugly reality that most Indian girls have to face, even today is, to stay fair, otherwise, they won’t be able to get a good marriage proposal. Many girls get rejected only because of the color of the skin. This is a simple case of discrimination based on skin color.
Mothers and relatives advise young girls with dark skin to try home remedies to get lighter skin, which is really unsettling. Such advice only decreases the self-confidence of young women who have dark skin.
The constant obsession with the color of skin has taken a toll on our confidence
Growing up in such a society that is silently encouraging colorism, many of us now have doubts about our skin tones and feel inferior in front of those who have fair and light skin. Such thoughts are furthermore crammed into our minds with the commercial advertisements of beauty products to lighten the skin. This discrimination based on skin color is not just exclusive to women anymore. Even some men face the dilemma of having dark skin.
Gone are the days when the desirable features of an ideal man were tall, dark, and handsome! Now, the fact is we ladies don’t really have any issues with a guy being dark. Kudos to the strategic games that beauty product companies play to place the fact that fair skin is all we need.
People even rejoice when a baby is born with fair skin, which is a clear indication of the existence of colorism among us.
No more tolerance for colorism
African-Americans have always faced discrimination in one way or another in America. They are often stopped by a policeman suspecting they have a criminal record based on the color of the skin. This sad state is mostly shown in many movies and TV shows where African-American people are always the prime suspect for a crime.
Also read: Being Fair Is All That Matters In India
If you have seen the TV series American Crime Story Season 1, you would know how sad they feel. Even the District Attorney is once seen as a suspect randomly by a police officer. He doesn’t protest this injustice and simply lets the officer questioned him, even though he is a government employee with no criminal record.
Most people have become immune to such discriminatory acts as it has been going on for a long time now. But sometimes there are things we should never let it continue, especially if it affects the emotions of an entire community of people.
According to a research paper by Michigan State University, almost 50 percent of African – Americans are wrongly convicted for crimes. It also mentions that most of the wrong convictions are never really discovered, which is heartbreaking!
Lightening our skin to feel good – Why?
Here, in our society, we girls who have dark skin tones have grown an inferior complex. Many even go through skin lightening procedures for mental satisfaction. Some may say it is their choice, which is fine. But if you do it to avoid the colorist comments by people, it is high time that you stop going through such changes.
It’s 2020 and we should not let our skin colors create a hindrance in our lives. It is high time now to deprioritize the importance of skin color. Making assumptions about an individual based on the type of skin color should be stopped as soon as possible. Since discrimination based on skin color has become an inseparable part of our mentality, eradicating such thinking forever may take some time. My suggestion is we all should spread awareness and hold programs to motivate everyone to stop differentiating others based on their skin colors. Most importantly, childhood is the right time to mold a person and his or her perceptions.
Children from an early age should be taught that every skin color is beautiful and a person should be only judged based on his or her actions and principles.
The fact that colorism has become so normal and deep-rooted in our minds is already a red flag that we have ignored and accepted colorism. So, let us all join our hands together and stop colorism that made us feel worthless, and which has created a wrong image that African-Americans are mostly behind a crime.
The discrimination that African-Americans face is the most ruthless of all. Stopping discrimination based on skin color is the need of the hour!
Also Read; White, Brown Or Black- Don't Let Melanin Determine Your Self