Personal Racism

We’ve all heard about racism, it is not something unheard of, but let’s put racism as ‘ Discriminating a person or group of people on the grounds of skin colour, ethnicity or even culture. ‘ Personal racism is the same, but the people to do so, are your own friends and family. Haven’t you seen people making fun of a person from the eastern side of India by calling them a ‘ Chinese’ or ‘Nepalese’ ? , Instead of correcting them, a lot of us have laughed it off. Let’s take another example, Indian parents often tell their own children, to use different facial creams or products for skin lightening. Why?, Because they feel that being dark is something to be ashamed of. 

Let me tell you my story, of the racism I faced , based on my skin tone. Growing up as a child with a darker skin tone, a lot of my relatives would ask my mother to change the skin product she usually gives me or change my diet. This utterly broke me down, I grew up with no self esteem and confidence. I would feel ashamed walking through the school gate or any public places. I would hide behind my mother and not let go of her. I was good at dancing during my school days, but no one even cared to take me in or even if they did, I would be placed behind someone in the last. There was no end to my silent wails because I did not want to constantly trouble anyone with my problems. One fine day I got selected for a dance and was even given a good position, on the day of the program I reached the school super excited, the teacher did all of our make-up and that’s when I realised they used the lighter make-up products for everyone and I looked like a disaster, I started tearing up when all of a sudden a teacher told me ” Why don’t you use some fairness cream ? You’ll start looking pretty just like the others”, do you know how much it broke my heart? I was just 10. I can say to you all that I have never faced racism outside, but I have faced it within my peers and family. 

Today I’m in college, but personal racism never left me. I’ve been mocked and made fun of my colour and when I get offended, it’s so easy for everyone to say that, I need to calm down as it was just a joke. But no, it’s not a joke for a person who’s broken by racism, who was not given equal opportunities as the others, because of racism. It can be fun to you, but not for the person who’s facing it. So let’s all be nice to each other and not mock someone for something they don’t deserve to be made fun of. It’s not an imperfection, as they say, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Tomorrow when you see your friends mocking your other friends or a stranger about their skin tone, don’t laugh it off, stand up and tell them they’re wrong and tell them why they shouldn’t bring a person’s self esteem down. You never know what you will face tomorrow, so let’s all help each other live a better life.

Published by MARTINA FATHINATHAN MANI

This is for my internship as a law/legal content writer in the Hariyali NGO in collaboration with the Eduindexnews portal.

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