“I refused to shake hands with a star because he endorses a cream that indicates you are a better person if you are fair skinned and he has no qualms about doing it. How can I respect him?”
I made this remark in 2015 when asked if I would like to meet this celebrity. Not that the celebrity cared but I was trying to make a point.
I love the idea that Parliament has suggested penalising celebrities for endorsing deceit in ad campaigns and promoting products that don’t do what they should. That toothpaste isn’t going to make you gleam nor is the detergent going to be whiter than white on your clothes. But that sort of lie one can live with.
It’s when celebs show a complete lack of conscience and are prepared to project prejudice for filthy lucre that such a Bill comes in handy.
The worst offenders are the skin fair cream ads and those who propel them. The stars who sell the idea that you will get the job, get the girl, get the boy, get promoted, get a raise if you become a few shades fairer are impervious to the grievous hurt and mental agony they cause to hundreds of thousands of darker skinned people. It is pretty much saying you are condemned to failure and rotted self esteem if you are dark. So either you suffer in the nether regions of self loathing or you start applying this cream or lotion and see how your life changes.
The five mantras of melanin:
Don’t go in the sun, you’ll get dark and no one will marry you.
She is accomplished but she is a little on the dark side.
Ha ha he married a kali kalooti…poor sap.
Mindset; blackmail, black money, blackguard, black deed, black skin, same difference.
You are so lucky you are fair, even if I am more qualified you will beat me.
The Consumer Protection Bill 2015 introduced in Parliament on Tuesday which integrates this proposal to monitor celebrity selling proposes penalties, jail and fines that rise to five years and Rs 50 lakhs. More inclined towards food adulteration and dangerous substances like chewing tobacco and those obnoxious and dangerous betel concoctions it illustrates its intent by also looking into the use of famous faces to market schemes that go bottom up but only after the perpetrators have collected their loot.
This deliberate campaign to bruise sensibilities and hurt people by measure of complexion has been going on for years and now manifests itself across the board.
There we are on a set of an Indian film and there are Soviet rump state facsimiles all around, as if they had been Xeroxed on a machine, identical to the point of blandness and expressionless to the point of vapidity. But they are Caucasian and that is enough for the party scene. I have been to several parties in India but have never seen assembly lined white women hanging about in such large numbers.
Not so long ago in the murky history of the IPL some coloured girls were disinvited from jumping up and down on the boundary stage because the spectators (who ostensibly had come to watch cricket) felt cheated. After all, if we wish to see a woman leap about the place let her at least be white as is in great evidence every evening these days. How it enhances our match viewing is beyond my capacity to understand.
But where this packaging reaches its giddiest limit is in advertising Indian products to Indian buyers through the prejudicial prism of ethnic whitewashing. You would think all babies are white in India. You would also be led to believe that electronics and top of the line transportation were somewhat given an extra octane if there was a blonde and blue eye babe flung into the mix.
The question to ask is basic; are we ashamed of ourselves and is our vat of self-esteem running low? The shrillness of the righteous indignation we would display in our response belies our rather sad mental state. Hiding behind the tattered skirts of that refuge of reaching out to the world or ‘being global’ is so much claptrap. You are not being global, you are conceding space to Caesar period without Caesar even having asked for it.
Why do we beat up African students? Because, colourwise, we feel superior to them. Victims of severe stereotyping we believe they are more dangerous. Take a hundred Indians and ask them who they would prefer to cross on a dark and stormy night in a lonely car park a white person or a black person and the answer will be a no brainer.
So it goes on, socially accepted by you and I. The cloned Indian editions of world famous magazines fill their pages with white facsimiles. Commercial films have party scenes where the guests are largely white. Indian writers, by and large, spin books out of the semi-rural quaintness of Indian traditions to intrigue a western audience.
Damn it all, white even rhymes with right. The indoctrination is complete.
Hey handsome, wanna be fair…and square.
First Published On : Apr 27, 2016 21:30 IST