By: Shreya Mulpuri
When observing the various aspects of social media, one can come across several positives and negatives. However, sometimes these aspects go beyond social media and begin to affect individuals personally. One negative in particular visible within various platforms of social media is colorism. When the idea of colorism is brought up, we often relate it to racism. However, we fail to acknowledge that it goes beyond this form of discrimination.
In my Indian community of brown individuals, we are taught to value the fair and white color of skin because it is referred to as “beautiful” and “better” than dark skin. When thinking about the timeline of this issue, we go way back to the time of British rule. Although the idea of colorism was not solidified, it was evident that when the British began to employ individuals, they preferred, empowered, and made alliances with lighter-skinned individuals.
This ridicule of dark skin and praising of light skin built the basis of colorism within the community. The existence of this problem in today’s culture is solely because of the beliefs instilled within many individuals that light-skinned individuals are still superior to people with dark skin.
The closest the Indian community has gotten to solving this problem was a direct result of the BLM movement. This created a major realization within many Indians and Indian skin-whitening brands (which have since changed their brands motives). However, this problem still exists to a certain extent in many communities.
Personally, as a darker skinned individual, I have heard criticism from a young age. I see that the problem continues to exist due to my family’s, relatives’, and Indian communities’ continued belief that fair skin is considered more beautiful.
I don’t believe that there is a solidified and certain solution to this problem until individuals change their own mindset and beliefs surrounding colorism. This can be as easy as understanding that getting tanned as a dark skinned individual is fine, dark skin does not need to be washed away with chemicals, and you do not need to be fair-skinned to get a good marriage. These ideas are merely the start to solving this problem. While advocating for these statements can do some good, in order for greater change to occur, it is those that continue to hold colorist beliefs who must reevaluate what beauty is.