Posted by Caffeinated Ravens

 

Ever since I started to understand people and the subtle layers of conversations, I realized that my skin color was an issue. I was the darkest among my siblings – not that they were very fair – and as a child, I was teased the most. I was often compared to brinjal and coal. with fair complexion have to hear such comparisons. It’s something that made me wonder, “What is wrong with me?” Slowly, an inferiority complex seeped in.

This inferiority complex increased when we had visitors. Once I was at home and went to give a glass of water to my father while he was talking to some guests. They assumed that I was a servant simply because of the color of my skin.

I was so affected by these comments that I felt that I wasn’t visible anymore. I wouldn’t even look in the mirror. For a long time, I had a very unkempt look simply because I refused to look at my reflection. It didn’t help that I was neither the eldest nor the youngest in my family. People didn’t really mean to overlook me, but I did feel overlooked. I almost felt that I was disappearing from my family.

I went to my father and spoke to him about my color and how I felt about it. That’s when he pointed out that even the goddess Kali is black, as is Krishna. He told me that I shouldn’t let a perceived flaw determine who I am and what I can do. I then made up my mind to do something different, especially to have some recognition in my family. I stopped focussing on my skin color and started focussing on my dreams.

Concentrating on academics fetched me an award from the Chief Minister for leadership quality. I interned with UNSPA and won a contest run by a leading newspaper. I eventually pursued law and excelled. I was even recognized by the judges from the Patna High Court for my ability to understand a case and argue. I even did pro bono cases for landless people.

I don’t understand what beauty is and I don’t know when people will change their perception to include dark skin. I remember that as a child I wished that I would become as white as paper. It seems amusing now, but when you think about the desperation of the child to be accepted and recognized, it breaks my heart.

I have a cousin who is just like me – she is dark. I see the same things happening to her. I make sure, though, that I stand up for her and show her there are more important things than skin color.

To change people’s attitudes, we need to ban these products and advertisements. The products don’t work on skin the way they are projected. The also promote the mindset that there is one perfect skin colour and body type and everyone needs to aspire to it. We need to focus on what a person is like as an individual. Do we really want to become carbon copies of each other?