Colorism

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Rajasthan: a state full of jaw-dropping Indo-Muslim architecture, camels, elephants, and dry heat. The thing that has shocked me the most about India is how diverse the country is. All the cities I’ve been to have all been so different. Different languages spoken in the North and the South, the food, and how the people look. 

One thing that my friends and I discussed a lot during this trip is the topic of colorism. For those who don’t know, colorism is the idea that one skin shade is “better” than the other. This is seen in many ethnic groups around the world, including India. People in the south tend to be darker than those in the north and oftentimes the lighter skinned people are seen as more beautiful than the darker skinned. I’m not completely sure whether this stems from colonialism or just something that has been in their culture for centuries, but I know that this idea has caused many social issues within India (and even in America). Being in Jaipur, people looked very different from the people of Chennai (South India). They had more middle eastern features and their skin was lighter.

Girls that we met at schools would talk about using products to lighten their skin or saying things like “Your skin is so light, I wish I was as pretty as you”. Even ads and billboards throughout India would have lighter skinned Indians, which is not at all representative of the whole Indian population. As a society, we need to transform this idea and see the beauty in all skin colors and shades.

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