The Beyond The Clouds actor Malavika Mohanan posted a thought-provoking note on Instagram which was triggered by the US protests. She talks about casual racism in India and how we need to introspect
Updated: Jun 06, 2020 12:11 IST
While we speak about global racism, we must also become aware about what’s happening around us, in our homes… and do our part in thwarting the obvious as well as the subtle racism and colourism that exists all around us..,” said actor Malavika Mohanan, in her Instagram post on June 3. The Beyond The Clouds (2017) actor’s thought-provoking note was triggered by the protests in the US and sparking the #BlackLivesMatter movement again.
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When I was 14 yrs old, one of my closest friends at that point told me that his mother never let him drink tea because she had this weird belief that drinking tea darkened ones’ skin complexion, and when he asked for tea once she told him(referring to me) “If you drink tea, you will become dark like her”. He was a fair maharashtrian boy and I was a wheat-ish skinned malayalee girl. The complexion dissimilarity we had had never even occurred to me up until that point. This left me perplexed because it was the first time somebody had made a comment like that with a mean undertone about my skin colour. So much casual racism and colourism exists in our own society. Calling a dark skinned person ‘kala’ is something we see on an everyday basis. The discriminatory behaviour against south-Indians and North-East Indians is also appalling. Dark skinned Indians are jokingly referred to as ‘madrasis’ because for some strange reason these ignorant people think all South Indians are only dark skinned. North-East Indians are almost exclusively only called ‘chinki’, all black people are casually referred to as ‘negros’ and fair people are equated as beautiful and dark skinned people are equated as ugly. While we speak about global racism, we must also become aware about what’s happening around us, in our homes, our friend circles and our society, and do our part in thwarting the obvious as well as the subtle racism and colourism that exists all around us, in our everyday lives. What makes you beautiful is being a good and kind person, and not the colour of your skin. ✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿
Talking about the thought behind the post, she says, “Change should start in your own home and those protests got me thinking that we need that change in India, too. In India, we have colourism as people with dark complexion are called ugly, women with dark-skin find it tough to get married and these are considered normal issues in any strata of our society. Barring a few metropolitan cities where dark complexion isn’t ‘that’ looked down upon, it is in the rest of our country.”
In her post, the actor also mentioned how “complexion dissimilarity” never occurred to her as a teenager and when it did, they left her “perplexed” because someone made a comment with a “mean undertone” about her skin colour. She also talked about how casual racism and colourism exists in our own society. People call “a dark skinned person ‘kala’” or “madrasis” and “North-East Indians are called ‘chinki’” “What makes you beautiful is being a good and kind person, and not the colour of your skin,” she added.
Mohanan feels there is need for introspection and says, “Why is skin colour more important than intelligence, kindness or talent? It never made sense to me. It never bothered me if people felt I wasn’t fair enough, because my upbringing gave me confidence. But most people are ridiculed for dark skin. It is ridiculous that there are products that focus on how to be fair. We need to have a conversation about these notions that only if you are fair, will you be beautiful or successful. It is a dated notion. Skin colour is an inconsequential thing to define someone,” she concludes.
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