Ruchir Joshi explores the dark side of the Indian fair and lovely obsession in The Hindustan Times. It’s a satisfying rant, but the arguments could have been a lot more complex:
It’s shameful but true that we are institutionally and individually racist towards people with dark brown skin, especially if they come from Africa rather than from America or Europe. Equally, anyone possessing what our upper-middle-class poetically calls ‘chinky features’ — whether they be Tibetan, Nepali, or from parts further south and east — will have experienced at least unspoken racism. Some from the North-eastern states will even have faced it from the muzzle of a paramilitary semi-automatic rifle.
Now, it’s bad enough that a majority of us think of other people of colour as strange and inferior. What is worse — the flip-side of our projected racism — is that we have swallowed and made part of our psyche the skin-hierarchy of our erstwhile masters. So deep is that training of over two centuries that, even 60 years after Independence, generations of Indians who have never known the Raj still tend to go into ji-huzoor mode before a White-skinned person.
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