Perceive the person beneath the COLOUR

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

The crimes pertaining to racism are increasing so rapidly that I feel ashamed to call myself a citizen of the world! Be it America, Europe, Australia or even India, this prejudice has become the sad but inescapable truth. At school, we had these moral values classes where we learnt about how the residents of Africa were treated in Europe or America because of the colour of their skin. Yes, I agree that they have been victimized more than anyone else but with changing times, instead of coming out of that narrow-minded attitude, people have begun to do it among their very own countries!

It’s high time we wake change. In India, racial prejudice is prevalent to an extent that would shock any educated human being. If this is to change, we must begin by first and unreservedly accepting this fact. We don’t like those who are darker than us whilst we ourselves hanker for a fairer complexion.

To be honest, colour consciousness also permeates the way North Indians treat the South Indians. We dismiss Africans as habshis; we contemptuously categorize South Indians as madrasis. Colour leads us to deride their food, customs, language and behaviour.

I can’t think of many countries where Fair and Lovely creams do such a roaring business. Certainly there can’t be many countries where the equivalents of Shahrukh Khan or John Abraham proudly advertise them. Yet our celebrities have no compunction about doing this.
Alongside caste, our marriage advertisements stipulate colour. We only see how dark or fair a person is but why don’t we perceive the person beneath the colour?
All of this is not just embarrassing, it’s shameful. Yet, we are blissfully unaware or at least, unconcerned by the moral issues it raises. Willful ignorance is our bliss!  

Consider two other situations and you’ll realize how deeply compromised our moral attitude actually is. Watch us beside fair-skinned Europeans and Americans and we seem to delight in their company. When they visit, they are honoured guests. When invited to their homes, we are over eager to impress. The other telling situation occurs when we go abroad. If mistreated we often, if not readily, suspect racism even when that’s patently not the case. Usually its the first explanation that comes to mind.

As potential victims, we are very conscious of it, as perpetrators we’re disinclined to accept it of ourselves. Monsters we may not be but angels we definitely are not.
The worst part is that many of us are unaware of this hateful prejudice, several unconcerned, quite a few unwilling to change and most – yes most – unashamed when made aware of this horrible truth.

We must understand that we were all created by the same God and nobody was given any choice over the colour of the skin we are born with or the country we are born in!
Prejudice is indeed a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible. Hence, we must all stand against such racial and social prejudice and contribute in making the world a better place to live for all its citizens! After all, it’s the character that matters!

Here’s the link to another apt article on racial discrimination with examples  of persons who have beaten the normal benchmarks of beauty and have been accepted as role models – http://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/black-is-also-beautiful/ Do have a look!

unity

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22 thoughts on “Perceive the person beneath the COLOUR

  1. Thank you, Kushboo for keeping this important issue before our eyes. Here are the lyrics from a song from South Pacific written in 1949. The play was banned in many parts of the Southern US:
    You’ve got to be taught
    To hate and fear,
    You’ve got to be taught
    From year to year,
    It’s got to be drummed
    In your dear little ear
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
    Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
    And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught.

    You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
    Before you are six or seven or eight,
    To hate all the people your relatives hate,
    You’ve got to be carefully taught!

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  2. Yes racial discrimination is a moral and ethical crime but can we really eliminate it from our society ? One can’t help oneself from developing first hand notions on coming across someone for the first time and most of the time they are based on color. Our color is the first visual clue that turns on the mind. You never see animals of different color together, why ? That’s how it’s been since our inception. Our color helped us to identify our fellow mates. At the same time it made us approach with caution to people of different color who at first sight appeared as a potential threat. Gradually of course heterogenous society came into existence. But that instant reaction hasn’t completely vanished, it still remains hidden in some form. As for our affinity towards fairness creams I guess it’s because we associciate white as a symbol of being pure. Hence our mind is mislead to believe that the fairer we look the more pure we are. Having said all that I believe we should train our minds in such a way that we can ignore our first hand notions based on color and race, only then we can imagine a world Nelson Mandela spoke of. Until then along with love hatred will continue to exist wherever it can.

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    • Well, I really believe it is possible to eliminate racial discrimination from our society! If all of us continue to wait for the ‘right’ time to be able to imagine or change something, it’s never going to happen. We have to and should do what we can at the moment. One step at a time. Even if we are able to affect one person, we have done something worth it! About the first hand notions that are developed – that is exactly what I’m talking about – people need to start seeing it with a broader perspective. I believe it’s the behavior that helps us to identify our fellow mates and not the colour. About the fairness creams, yes, white is seen as a symbol of purity but the fact is people don’t really care about purity expressed through complexion. It’s very apt from people’s behavior that they associate being fair with looking pretty or handsome and there are very few who would consider beauty of the heart! People think being fair would make them socially acceptable or ‘popular’ among a certain group of people but it really doesn’t happen that way and ofcourse the idea of purity is nowhere in their minds.
      If we can talk about this, we surely can do something about it and gradually it will change!

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      • True, it’s our behaviour that makes us acceptable but you can’t deny the fact that our first hand impressions are always based on our past experiences. So more often than not we all will be committing the same mistake some way or the other. What we read and see does have an affect on how we judge someone. Gradually it all becomes so deep-rooted one doesn’t even know when one is certain making discriminations. If you have read Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Blink’ then you will know exactly I mean. I believe if we can do something then we should otherwise there is no point in discussing all this. We can go on talking about this and it will never end . We will still be where we are.

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