The Sad Truth About Colourism

Feb 12, 2014 | Beauty Ideals, Colourism Stories, Discrimination, Prejudice, Skin Colour Bias | 1 comment

Sapna’s personal story of overcoming discrimination is featured in the documentary film, Hue, by Sepia Films. Here she talks about her hopes for the film and about her dream that India would be country that lives up fully to its constitutional promises. Sapna has volunteered her passionate communication skills to the Dark is Beautiful campaign since 2009.

My experience with filmmaker Vic Sarin was unique and interesting. The reason I agreed to tell my story was because I know I’m not the only person who has witnessed and also gone through prejudice based on skin colour.

It’s sad… but colour is an age-old dirt spot that has marred fair judgment among all of humanity. And Vic was interested in exposing this ugly truth. Through his story-telling skills, he exposes the scars inflicted because of fallacious perceptions that have existed around for far too long.

More than anything, I hope that with Vic’s film, the attitude would shift and that there would be increased awareness on the amount of baggage that prejudice against skin colour carries forward through media to our young people and children.

It’s high time somebody voiced the prejudice and discriminatory requirements that defines ‘beautiful’ in a child, adolescent or young adult. And Dark is Beautiful aims to do exactly this.

So many people have written to me and told me that I’m wasting my time on an unimportant issue. My response to you is that after 67 years of independence we still have advertisements that teach our masses that being white is a requirement for being married, getting a job or being a beauty queen. Are you telling me that the masses of Indian brown skinned group of people have no right to be married, get a good job or be called a beauty queen? Is this not discrimination? Is there no act that protects a person from unfair prejudice in India?

Actually, Article 14 in The Constitution Of India (1949) says:

The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

But when there are ads on national TV and in print media that declare that my skin colour needs to be changed to a lighter shade, I am made to feel that I am not good enough the way I am. Does this not amount to inequality and prejudice?

So I ask the State, what happened to the law that promises to protect me and my fellow citizens from this kind of discrimination?

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