“Look how black you gone! Who told you to play in the sun so long?”
If you come from an Indian household I can guarantee that you’ve heard this iconic line at least once in your life, with your mother distressed at how well you’ve tanned yourself, while you’ve enjoyed a Saturday out in the yard. While not even a second thought for us as children, it is a nightmare for our mothers because of a hideous ideology that has poisoned the brown skinned network. The idea is that a darker complexion makes for an ugly appearance.
I myself have grown up with this complex that not having bleach white skin would leave me alone and unloved. Shukar Allah (thanks to God) I have managed to overcome such an idea and push myself to write this piece in an attempt to induce a thought provoking moment. It is terribly common among the Indian community for family and friends to pass comments about a person’s complexion, to the point of saying it to children’s faces and leaving them with this idea that they are not beautiful. I can think of few things worse than THAT idea for a child to grow up thinking.
Although I am writing this from an Indians perspective, it would be wrong of me to say we are alone in this strife. Our African brothers and sisters were the very first to be judged by their colour and fought that idea to birth the rainbow nation, nonetheless among the African community light and dark skin also dictates the level of beauty. I can’t think of anything more backward than looking at colour and dictating who is beautiful.
Men and women are out there applying whitening products to their skin not thinking of the damage they are causing to themselves physically and mentally. The fact that such products exist and can be purchased over-the-counter is a problem on its own. Something needs to change.
We each need to realise that we are beautiful. YOU reading this are beautiful! Dark or fair, thin or thick, tall or short, we are all beautiful in our own way. Throw out those out dated ideas, stand up for a child being called dark and speak to your elders. Let’s start a change to rid future generations of this ideology. Let’s instil confidence in our people and watch them be the best versions of themselves.
Till next time…
Be wild, weird and wonderful.