Fair is foul: Ruchir Joshi

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.





2 responses to “Fair is foul: Ruchir Joshi”

  1. Marginalien Avatar

    Hmmm. I would call that a singularly UNsatisfying rant — not merely shallow but a trifle unfocused as well: it starts off as a whine against the racism of Indians towards non-whites and then half-way through turns into a whine about the racism of whites towards Indians. It’s so easy to fling epithets around — so much easier than trying to figure out the mechanisms by which e.g. a doorman at a 5-star hotel shows preferential treatment to white foreigners than to guests of other shades.However insincere the typical European 5-star hotel guest might be, he/she is usually a generous tipper (why not, when the rupee magnifies the dollar’s value by 50x!) and often acknowledges the Indian staff in a civil, informal manner. Very few local Indians do that; perhaps not many non-white guests do either. Surely it isn’t “racism” to feel grateful for tips and/or friendliness?

  2. Listen Kindley Avatar

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