I am dark skinned and proud.

I was just reading this article in Outlook about how this election perhaps proves that voters are not swayed by religion, caste etc any more. At least not the majority of them. I am not fully convinced about it, because Congress did play the caste card frequently. But nevertheless it is a good piece and we need more discussions like these.

It actually got me thinking about how much discrimination exists in India today. Both negative and positive discrimination. By negative I mean, decreasing opportunities for people of a certain segregation. Its the discrimination we all know. And by positive I mean, creating opportunities for people of a certain segregation, like reservations in universities, jobs, etc. My post is too short for me to give enough justice to both the discriminations, I hate so much. I also feel so strongly against them that I don’t think I can write sanely and make any sense.

So I will just talk about one not so invisible discrimination, but rarely talked about. Color.

I’ve been thinking a lot about it after my two weeks in Switzerland. For the first time ever in Switzerland I felt comfortable in my skin color and body appearance. Let me explain. I am dark skinned and Indians would call me ‘skinny’. Both these characteristics have been the exploited to the core by my friends while teasing me. When I was a kid, being teased about being of a skin color not considered to be desirable by popular notion, made me cry. Later it just became easier to laugh at myself and secretly keep applying mom’s ‘Fair & Lovely’ to try and lighten my skin tone. And the first thing my female relatives or friends of my mom, would remark on seeing me after a long time, would be ‘You’ve grown darker.’ As if that was an unfortunate thing. I won’t even discuss that this obsession with fair skin seems to be more female driven than male. Seen the disgusting ‘Fair & Lovely’ ads? Only fair women get jobs and husbands. This is very well reflected in the matchmaking sections of the newspapers. Mentioning skin color is almost neccesary. And the high prevalance of ‘fair’ in the postings makes me think that perhaps dark skinned people feel inferior to even take out a posting.

What really pains me though is that I see this among my educated friends as well. Jokes about my dark skin seem so juvenile and painful to me that everytime a friend tries that on me, I hate him a little more for being so insensitive. People might say it doesn’t affect daily lives or hiring process. But I know for a fact that it does. I know for sure it does affect men’s perceptions of women, not very sure about vice-versa, but considering women are more obsessed with such trivialities I would be surprised if it didn’t. At my university, I was a part of a club(rather a festival department) which blatantly would recruit new female members on the basis of looks. If you conformed to commonly accepted notions of beauty, like fair skin, you were in unless of course someother club had snatched you already. I am sure the members of the club would go on to try and hire women for their looks in their day jobs as well.(This is not a jab at my club, but at the entire new member recruitment system at Pilani.)

So in India when I go to Northern cities, first thing people try guessing which state I might be from and then immediately expect me to be stereotypical. They are surprised when I speak fluent unaccented Hindi and curse that people down south don’t know any other languages, while they are content with speaking a single tongue and bad english. And then they are obsessed with skin color, going to no end with foundation creams and talcum powder to enhance theirs. That obsession extends to making fun of my ‘Gult'(slang for people from Andhra Pradesh) skin color.

This is simply insensitive and a very corrosive feature of our Indian society to consider dark skin as inferior.

So in Switzerland I was actually surprised when people didn’t stare(I get more stares walking in some Delhi lanes). People didn’t judge or size me up by my skin color. I expected some to immediately assume I was Indian or Sri Lankan, but I was always asked where I was from. And I didn’t feel any insensitivity about being Indian or dark skinned. Having friends who are shamelessly stereotypical, I initially made a few bad jokes about being American or China. I stopped the second I realized I was being a jerk.

In the entire country, entertainment industry especially is obsessed with fair skinned actors. In fact Frieda Pinto had no chance of entering the movie industry if it wasn’t for the western director. Andhra Pradesh movie industry hardly has any dark female actors. Dark male actors are used only for comic or negative characters. Now this is discrimination on the basis of color.

Think about it. How does it make sense that fair skin is better than dark skin? We love dark clothes, but wouldn’t like a dark skin? Isn’t beauty a matter of perception? I personally find dark skin more attractive than fair skin, but that doesn’t mean I let that inhibit my logic and discriminate against people with lighter skin. Think very hard about for how long has this idea about dark skin being uglier than fair skin has been stuck in your head. It is time that we as society stopped being

This is me.



And I have a beautiful skin tone. I will no longer stop myself from being indecent when you are not decent enough to consider my feelings while making my skin color the object of your poor sense of humor.

Addition after reading Gangu’s comment. I am not against being jocular about this issue or trying to be extremely politically correct about this. What I can see is that such things are so deeply ingrained in our Indian psyches that it plays a role while making judgments. Now that is unfortunate. I agree not many would see the point of this post, but perhaps you would if you stand outside this all in my shoes and then think. A close friend pointed out that we have so many prejudices today, things we just can’t explain. Like naturally assuming beautiful people as dumb, there are so many of these that we suffer from. I think it is important that as we progress as a society, we would get rid of some of them.

ps: My friends reading this might find it surprising that I’ve written about this because I’ve never spoken about this to anybody since I was, maybe 10yrs old. I’ve ignored it for a long time but it does bother me.

127 Responses to “I am dark skinned and proud.”

  1. May 25, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    I think the prejudice has cultural connotations – India, USA, Germany are few countries where skin color is still a tool for discrimination. However, countries like Switzerland and inherently multi-cultural and hence the problem does not exist. That being said, I think it will take years (maybe generations) for this bias to change (as many cultural trends do). But we are already making the transition from ‘fair’ to ‘sultry’ in our very own crappy film industry.
    It seems so trivial to jest at someone based on color, hence even more surprising that sensibilities could be offended by the same. But the matter becomes serious when the discrimination extends beyond mere jocular remarks.

    Oh, and I can’t help refuting your point about beauty – true, fairness is an accepted notion of beauty but it is by no means a necessary and sufficient condition.

  2. 2 Abhishek
    May 25, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I never said it was a sufficient condition. And this is no mathematics problem.

  3. May 26, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    Dude I am genuinely sorry if I ever acted like a d*ck. I just hope I haven’t. And yes, thanks for also bringing the bigger picture of discrimination into focus.

  4. June 6, 2009 at 5:54 am

    finally you have written something which really moved me,do u know i always thought u were sexy :),i too recall jeering at ur complexion once or twice,but i still thought u were sexy 😛
    but,one thing u haven’t considered is that ur world might have been a lot less brighter had u not been as smart as you are,for as you are moving forward in life,u are spending more of ur time in places where the density of smart,open-minded ppl is much higher.I dare u to come back to places still stuck in time,like our school,say,and u will find ppl still the same.

  5. 6 gem
    July 9, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Just a question. Why do Indians say that Wheatish is the standard Indian complexion? How is the color of wheat more representative than all the other colors??? I take offense because it’s like saying that darker complexiones aren’t as Indian. My guess is that it’s Indians way of psychologically distancing themselves from being dark-skinned or as a form of denial about what they look like as a nation. Another thing. Has anyone noticed how Indians view of their skin tones is more appropriate for Saudis than Indians? What Indians consider light, medium and dark is way too skewed toward lighter complexions and leaves too many out. Frieda Pinto is not dark. She’s not even medium and neither is Bipasha. In reality light skinned is just about any Bollywood actress, from Aiswarya to Bipasha. Medium is Paraminder Nagra http://theyoungandsassy.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/parminder-nagra.jpg
    and dark is Mindy Kaling http://www.accidentalsexiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/mindysag1.jpg or these

    This is the correct way because it’s more realistic and inclusive of all Indian complexiones and doesn’t offensively leave so many to be called “extremely dark.” Anyone agree?

    • 7 Reshma
      January 9, 2012 at 9:21 am

      I completely agree. Everyone keeps saying Bipasha is dark… she may be darker than Kareena Kapoor and some other Indian actresses, but compared to most Indians, she is on the light side.
      Anyway… ALL Indians are beautiful. No matter what color. I’ve seen very beautiful DARK Indians!
      It’s sad there is such open discrimination in India

      • 8 GK
        May 29, 2012 at 4:26 am

        @Reshma I’m afraid I don’t agree with your comment. I feel that Bipasha Basu and Kajol, to name a couple, are considerably darker than the average middle-class north Indian. They are made to look “fair” in films and photoshoots, and over the years, they have managed to present themselves as whiter to conform to the standards of the Indian society.

        Being wheatish (read, NOT fair) myself, I have been subjected to a lot of snide remarks from my fair-complexioned friends. Even though I was considered worthy for ramp modeling, when it came to local commercial modeling, my pictures have invariably been rejected by people because I don’t look fair and peachy. My belonging to a certain “high caste” have also been questioned quite a few times.

        Having gone through these things, I DON’T think I would call it discrimination. Sometimes, personal preferences are just that — personal preferences. I was rejected for commercial modeling in north India because they have certain standards for attractive looks that they seek and they feel that’s how they want to market to Indians. I don’t take this personally because I have also been appreciated for my looks by quite a few others. It’s annoying that the South Indian film industries prefer fair-complexioned girls (if they are fair, they don’t need attractive facial features or talent). It’s more of a trend than public preference. I really doubt this is what an educated Indian wants to see on Indian television. I think it caters more to the poorer and uneducated lot in India who adulate ANYTHING that’s white.

  6. 9 Kiran
    July 20, 2009 at 12:08 am

    I think indian (and even sri lankan, pakistani and bengalis) should leave their slavish attitude towards white-standards.
    Beauty doesn’t include criterias like skin ton, it’s too rubbish to think like this. Look, nowadays every top actress is dying for having a nice tan and people think pale faces are old-fashionned and qualified as ” ugly” … but here too , it’s totally rubbish.
    Beauty is a notion which is not about skin ton but the whole internal and external content of an individual.
    Down wid ppl still thinking that fair-skinned people are prettier or smarter. Better having a glowing dark skin than a lousy white-skin

    • 10 RAJ
      December 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      you are absolutely right. i am proud of what you have said. I found many dark skinned ladies to be much more good looking,beautiful & attractive than many fair/white skinned ladies.

  7. September 15, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I have to add here to what you say (and it’s all too true, unfortunately). When I was in final year in college, we had a “beauty and grooming” workshop, which was compulsory for all graduating history majors. I was quite mad, because we hadn’t had any real career counseling. So, after considering giving the workshop a miss, I finally attended – wearing black and refusing to participate in any demonstrations or anything. I was shocked to find that much of the emphasis of this workshop was on fairness and how to achieve it. Bleaching, fairness creams and honey treatments dominated discussion. Towards the end, the person conducting the workshop even had the nerve to say “No one cares how well you think or how good your brains are. What you say won’t matter unless you have the face to go with it.”

  8. 13 Sumers
    September 18, 2009 at 3:16 am

    I was born to a dark father and a “wheatish” skinned mother…I remember growing up my parents would always tell me that I needed to get a good education because otherwise no one would want to marry me since I am so dark. I grew up always trying to put on skin lightening things and doing anything to try and make myself lighter. I went to med school and almost ready to graduate and hoping that my parents change their attitude. Well, again I heard it from my dad the other day: I’m dark and not pretty and no one’s going to marry me. Well, this is the reason why I never have and never will date an Indian man; I refuse to be judged just based upon my skin color. My Black boyfriend recognizes the beauty of my skin color and realizes that my beauty does not just end there…

    • 14 Usha
      November 15, 2010 at 5:09 am

      Well you are lighter than a pure african.

      • 15 Kamal
        May 9, 2011 at 5:49 am

        That’s not true. “True” Africans come in many colours. Most Algerians, Morrocans, Tunisians, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Libyans etc are lighter skinned than the average dark South Indian like myself.

      • 16 Phat
        April 17, 2015 at 1:53 am

        So what if she is lighter than “pure” African? What? Because she is lighter skinned than many Africans are you think that makes more intelligent, beautiful or more prosperous than we are? Let me make something clear here, however blindly some people want to cling to stupid prejudices and discrimination, GOD has designed the human race such that there are varying tones of skin colour from very pale (white) to very dark brown.It will continue to be that way until JESUS comes and the world end. Have the people who are obsessed with “white” skin ever thought about how boring the world would look if EVERYONE is the same skin colour? Variety is thw spice of life so people had better wake up. I’m a chocolate skinned Nigerian woman and if someone doesn’t like that it is not my problem, let them deal with it. This is the skin tone GOD has given me and I thank HIM for it and take of my skin for HIS glory, period.

  9. 17 brighterdaze
    October 7, 2009 at 10:59 am

    You are indeed a very handsome man. I think you skin color brings out your good looks!

  10. 18 neil
    October 15, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    I have a South Indian co-worker here in California. She’s very dark, and with well cut sharp features. Look’s really good. At this age of 24 she still goes into a shell. Do you know why ?
    As a 6-7 year old kid, at a school in New Delhi, she used to be made to feel low, wretched because she was dark. Those kids called her “dirty” and isolated her. They called her bad words in Hindi (which she did not know too well).
    Albeit they were all kids, but it represents upfront, what adults do covertly, behind the back. The poor girl still can’t help feel touchy when she meets a Delhiite. Hah !
    As a Bombay kid & Gujrati, we were never exposed to colour biases.

  11. 19 Chica
    October 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    I am a typical African-American woman of mixed heritage and it saddens me to know that the beautiful Indian people are caught in the same web of colorism as we are. Don’t ever be ashamed of your color!!! Remember that the slave holders and colonial rulers in our pasts used the trick of color to divide and conquer us. The light-skinned Indian women are all you see in those very entertaining Bollywood videos. I wish they would use more dark-skinned women to play the leading lady because to me they are twice as beautiful! Just know that you will always be welcomed in most communities comprised of darker people of color.

  12. 20 gem
    October 21, 2009 at 12:36 am

    “I wish they would use more dark-skinned women to play the leading lady because to me they are twice as beautiful!”

    ^I totally agree! Particularly the last part.

  13. 21 ramakanth
    November 1, 2009 at 10:54 am

    good discussion

  14. 22 Aniket
    November 2, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    I totally agree to your point about delhites/rather north indians as a whole being small minded. I also hail from Mumbai and I must reiterate that I would have found Ana’s blog pointless had I never been to north-India. (But I have definitely been _enlightened_ about the so-called elite fair-skinned Indians for two years)
    And I think there’s a historical reason, as Chica pointed out. Imagine the world if Africans and Indians would have been wiser before the English and conquered and divided the world with the idea of dark skin as the more elegant and beautiful class. 🙂
    It isn’t mere coincidence or not even a play of fate (as many nutheads would claim) that black/dark population resides majorly in the third-world. Its exactly the consequence of colonialism by the whiter side of the world….

  15. November 2, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    1. I agree that someone should have raised the issue
    2. Some comments about historical colonialism being responsible for this have been interesting
    3. Yes, North India is much more colour-infected
    But I still do not get the point of everyone coming together to celebrate the supremacy of darker skin tone (as is shown in some comments) or any other skin for that matter. I mean apart from the chance that we happen to share the same colour (and hence the discrimination) there is hardly anything binding us. In some ways, some comments here just aim to tilt the balance in favour of their skin-type more than anything else. Injustice/ discrimination hurts, I have felt it. But this is hardly the response expected.

    I’m not sure but maybe these responses (incl. this one) isn’t what Aana had in mind when he posted this. And for the record, I don’t know if I should be considered fair or dark because I’ve a lot of other things to worry about which I can control.

  16. 24 Jay
    November 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

    This is a germane time to have a real conversation on the role of skin colour in India.
    What are the social and economic consequences of having dark skin. I should qualify this
    by saying that Im not talking about the Indian cinema notion of dark skin but skin that is at least as dark as Abhishake’s, there is of course even darker shades of skin colour that
    many Indians have. I doubt that any of the major Indian universities have even looked into the matter. Most of us know though, from personal experiences, that people lose jobs, friendships, and potential mates, all due to skin colour. I recall watching NDTV with Burka dutt
    having a rather juvenile dialogue on skin color. One of the audience members admitted that he prefers to hire light skinned sales girls, so not to lose business. Now if his daughter were denied a job in Australia due to her ethnicity he would be steaming mad. There is an element of hypocrisy in the minds of those who feel it is ok to discriminate against dark skin.

    Abishake’s main point, that skin color insults affected his mental well being, is something that hurts both the target and nation. People with a depressed morale due to social harassment or social discrimination aren’t able to fully participate in life. And, for a nation that needs all of its people to live to their potential, skin colour discrimination is a retarding factor.

    I could go on but this is a blog. But I’m glad you posted something on this matter, Abhishake.
    The time has come for Indians to take an honest look at the society they are creating.
    Academics should study the effects of skin color discrimination so we can better understand all
    of its implication. Parents and schools should have no tolerance for this kind of behavior.
    Corporations, including those in Indian cinema, should look at whether there are any formal or informal discrimination going on in their companies.

    Many of the current practices of those who discriminate against those with dark skin are akin
    to American attitudes and legislation in the decades after the end of slavery. The infamous Jim Crow laws prohibited african-americans from living their lives freely. Skin color discrimination impinges on the freedom of others to pursue and live life according to their work ethic an abilities. Fundamental change is needed to tackle something that so pervasive in Indian society. To end this evil, we need to begin having open, honest discussions on skin colour.

  17. 25 Tameika
    December 3, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I have only started watching Bollywood movies recently and I have noticed that those of us that are of the darker complexion are always in the back. I say us being an African-American woman. I remember being called a darkie by my own great grandmother who might have been two shades lighter. India will eventually get over the skin issue many African Americans had the same mind set. If you were too dark you looked like a slave and if you were light it was alright because you had to have some white blood and that was considered a compliment. For decades some blacks passed as whites because they were so light. They were sure to sever all ties to the black families they came from and died as whites because living as one was much easier than living as a black man or woman.
    . I think that you are a very good looking man no matter what the skin tone the heart is so much more important than the skin tone. After all white Europeans spend good money to try to imitate what we blessed with naturally.

  18. January 4, 2010 at 12:05 am


    I believe in my Bahai teachings that ‘in God’s eyes there is no such thing as black or white.’ To be more God like we must ‘think’ ‘be’ ‘act’like God, in my opinion.

    We are all citizens of the earth.

    Luv to all,

  19. 27 Jeevan
    January 30, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Dear Friend,

    its superb that you beautifully bring the colour prejudice in india in your writing. whereas, in your profile, you mock at (it is sarcasm as you write’guise of reservation’) IITs as the center of reservation category students who have lower merits which I think reveals your own prejudice and hypocrisy. well, as you lament on the ethnic prejudice in India which includes as you have mentioned here, the colour, and also ethnic prejudice ( as you were referring to the derogatary word golti and your skinny appearance) you should aware of the totally inhuman oppression and discrimination of reservation communities (that is scheduled caste and scheduled tirbes/dalits) for hundreds of years keeping them away from owning land or having education. this is very much ally with your own concern regarding colour prejudice which is mostly a corallary of caste system. so SC and STs in india deserves positive discrimination, isn’t it? I write here not to hurt your feelings, but because even the educated youth in the same way as educated friends of yours have colour based prejudices) fails to realize that the reservation is aimed at bringing equality. you are in Pilani, not only because you have merit, but also because of the fact, if my assumption is right, that you born into a higher caste which provides you with a better social network, knowledge spill over, social acceptance and probably economic wealth which the SC and ST communities lacks. its not good to make hue and cry on prejudices against you while you have prejudices against others may be in different categories.


    • 28 Abhishek
      January 30, 2010 at 9:45 am

      I need to burst your bubble here. Most people who get in through reservation are economically well off and although their ancestors were disadvantaged, they were not. How many people have you met who got in through reservation without coaching? I’m not an idiot. Of course I know for hundreds of years SCs have been oppressed and there is a need for equity. Reservation at higher institutions does not solve the problem that SC/ST kids probably can’t go to school. Those kids don’t stand a chance against you and me, coaching institute bred machines.

      • 29 Venkat
        February 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm

        There you go again, Mr.Abhishek. You dont want to discriminate people with color, but you want to discriminate them with the knowledge?? You think only people who have better brains(say like you)are superior to people who dont? Is that what you mean, by “stand a chance against me”, huh ??

        And see, The reservation system is aimed and designed by very higly intellctual people of our country, to bring equality among us. In that process many other people, who are well off, might come in. But, that, Sir, is in the hope that atleast some deserved reserved candidates might come in. And thats the cost we are paying for it.

        And, Please try not to hate/discriminate the people, by any means, who do. That would bring nothing but misery.

  20. 30 Nandhini
    March 14, 2010 at 10:03 am

    For the very first time i’ve come across someone say the exact same thing that has been running in my mind from childhood. I’ve been a victim of this discrimination all my life. I’ve heard people say very rude things about my skin color and how skinny i was. The first thing that catches everyone’s eye is the appearance and they don’t care how talented, brilliant, smart we are.
    The white skinned people are dangerously deficient in melanin and thats what makes then look so pale. So aren’t they the inferior ones scientifically? Isn’t obesity the biggest pandemic killing thousands each year?

  21. 31 rajkumar
    March 29, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    I am a black skinned person. I hate my black skin. I hate god who created me as black. when I see white skinned people and I see my black skin. I am getting shy. O God…..Why you created me as black ???? Fucking Dog God……………Because of you, Black people are now getting shy and white people dominates us. Nowhere in india white begger……bloody black poor begger exists in india. Fuck you God…………In future, there won’t be any black people.

    Guys I am from chennai……………………..

    Don’t mistake me. this is my feeling. God can hear this.

  22. 32 A Dark Girl
    April 9, 2010 at 1:43 am

    You hit a nerve. I loved reading this. I’m a dark skinned South Indian girl, and all my life I’ve had people comment on my skin color.

    Sometimes it comes from kindly, well-meaning people. “Oh poor thing, she’s so dark. Have you tried using turmeric? Pond’s cream? Oh well…at least she’s a nice girl.”

    Sometimes it comes from bitchy relatives who can’t stand the fact that I’m highly educated, polished and come from a very classy family: “Your daughter’s very dark, isn’t she? Does she get it from her grandmother?”

    When I was in school: “Blackie! Hey Black Beauty, did you fall down a coal mine or something?” and the ever charming retort in an argument, “Yeah? Well you’re so dark and ugly that nobody will ever date you!”

    All. My. Fucking. Life.

    It has made me very proud of my dark skin, but also sensitive about the subject. Whenever an Indian mentions my dark skin, I immediately fly off the handle and reply sharply, which always takes them aback. And I’ve also become turned off Indian guys. I know that not all Indian guys are color-prejudiced, but I always automatically assume they are when I meet them. And I will NOT be in a situation where my mother-in-law laments that her son married a dark girl and tries to use that against me for the rest of our married lives. Er, no thanks. I’d rather date outside my race than feel like some Indian guy looked at me and thought, “Well, I am not getting laid and haven’t had any luck with the fair girls, so I’ll settle for second best I guess.” Fuck that.

    • 33 RAJ
      December 8, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      be proud of your dark skin & always remember that those bitchy relatives does that out of jealosy & such racist people are there in every family. black skinned people are equally beautiful & they also have the right to live a happy & prosperous life. Remember dusky beauties are ruling the bollywood film industry right from Rekha to Kajol ,from Bipasha,rani mukherjee to priyanka & deepika padukone. It also proves that the world actually loves real beauty not just skin colour.

  23. May 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I don’t know if whatever I am going to write has already been mentioned or not since I was too lethargic to go through the huge comments list.

    Being a South Indian living in North India and having done my schooling here , I have often come across my peers discriminating against color. For example there was this really slutty kind of a girl in my class who was actually quite hot but was very dark. So, yes most of the guys would pass lewd comments and her being dark skinned would be one of them which surprised me to a great extent because I had never before come across such blatant angst against skin color.My friends even taunt me for becoming darker after every summer holidays and in their term ‘ pehle se kaali ho gayi tu’ and more than insulted I am actually amused by the thought that they think I will be offended. It just pains me to imagine the tiny size of their brains.

    Chuck N.India, whenever I attend a family function or a cousins marriage down south , all the bride’s female relatives from 6 months before the wedding are trying out new ways to make the girl look fairer by applying tomatoes and what not on her skin.

    Classifieds or the Fair and lovely ad’s , I can’t decide which are the worst!
    ‘Tall , slim , fair girl’- every male’s ultimate fantasy or what?

    But this discrimination is something I have seen only in business class rich or caste crazy rich families,the pseudo educated upper middle and middle class and the lower class.

    The actual educated people who are open to a plethora of views actually consider being dark as something exotic in a positive manner.And thankfully this group being the sane group doesn’t sharply exclude the fair skinned , it just sort of gives the darker skinned ones a minor very minor elitist status :). Otherwise, their usual attitude is ‘ looks ka kya hai? it’s the personality that matters!’

  24. 36 Amber
    May 18, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I am black American and I deal with the brown skin dilemma too. They call it a disadvantage but I have used it to my benefit to get ahead and sell myself as an ambitious student breaking from stereotype. I just returned from my first visit to India. Cochin and Chennai. I expected everyone to look like Bollywood and Bhangra stars, lights skinned with flowing dark hair, but to my surprise, I practically blended in in terms of color. I was the same color, if not lighter, than may of the locals. I was confused why everyone was so dark. The thing is, anywhere you go, there is some kind of western hegemony or marking from imperialism, slavery, colonialism that says “light is right”. check out my article: http://amber-cu.tumblr.com/post/580316982/is-white-the-new-black-colorism-in-the-americas

  25. 37 someone
    June 2, 2010 at 3:42 am

    you read my mind
    its soo hard to deal with this every other day
    n. indians, whenever i come across one..i feel like they somehow dont seem to like me due to my skin tone?
    but living in america..my other white friends think im pretty cute and compliment on my features
    is it wrong to be a dark skinned person?
    i mean seriously?
    is it my fault?
    and it hurts even more when sometimes ure friends go..videsh jake log gore hote hain..tu kali hi reh gayi
    makes me mad when its ur own ppl discriminating against u
    i feel like im in a better place now
    where people like me for who i am..and not what im not

  26. 39 Mahesh
    June 5, 2010 at 5:56 am

    This is a really good blog. I am a very dark indian male. Throughout mylife indians have been very racist towards me. At functions I get very embarrased because of my colour. I am from London which is very cosmo. Indians are definatley the most racists people I know. If they where white I bet most of them would join the KKK!! But for sure, I have become very aware of this. In India would I percieved as poor/ low class?

  27. 40 DPANI
    June 11, 2010 at 3:09 am

    This is a good post. It’s all so true that Indians still suffer from the colonial hangover not only when it comes to skin colour prejudices but an assortment of other issues. In India fair skin is tantamount to superiority, wealth, success, and beauty while dark skin equates to inferiority, failure, and ugliness. It’s really ignominious that Indians discriminate against their compatriots just because of the colour of their skin. The thing which I find very ludicrous about this discrimination is that in a country where it’s scorching hot for majority of the year it’s naturally advantageous to possess a darker skin colour. People with lighter skin who discriminate seem to condone the fact that dark skin with large concentrations of melanin protects against UV light that can produce mutations in skin cells, which in turn may cause skin cancers. Under equal sunlight exposure, light skinned persons have a 10 times greater threat of contracting cancer. The media in India is also culpable for endorsing this sick notion with their fairness products adverts. And the glitterati of India are also stupid for promoting fairness products. They should be a bit more circumspect about their actions. Millions of people who idolise them feel inferior once their heroes are endorsing such products and openly saying that being dark is ugly and miserable. People’s self esteem gets seriously damaged due to this.
    I am a very light skinned male living in Northern Europe. I’ve been mistaken for all nationalities from Portugal to Pakistan, albeit I’m totally Indian. But the point that I want to make is that no matter however fair I am, I and any non-European will always be considered a dark person or a pariah in the eyes of Europeans. It doesn’t matter really whether you’re fair or dark by Indian standards; you are always considered a dark person here. This is what I always tell my friends who are a bit envious of me and have this notion that I can blend in with the European crowd better due to my looks. I am actually a little envious of people with a darker complexion because darker skin is much healthier than my light skin.
    I must say that after having lived abroad in various nations nobody even comes close in the terms of skin colour consciousness to Indians. It’s pathetic to see how much Indians are obsessed with this issue.
    We can just hope that these prejudices and gags against dark skin will be quashed in the future in India and elsewhere. People should just be content with whatever skin colour they are born with.

  28. 41 Lilly
    June 16, 2010 at 9:26 pm


    Your post is SUPER!! Thank you for your beautiful picture and your eloquent words about this subject matter. I live in Britain, and now people with dark skin or black skin are constantly told how beautiful and lucky they are to have a beautiful complexion that many colours look fab on, and that their skin remains youthful for a long time. I have always found black people and dark skinned people very beautiful, and would like to see them used in Bollywood movies in main roles. I, like you, would never demean light skinned people- everybody is beautiful in their own way- people with scars, people with spots, bumps in their nose- I’m fed up with being confronted with an ideal image of what constitutes beauty. I am an intelligent beautiful person made by Jesus who can make my own mind up about what is beautiful. True ugliness is the belief that fair skin is more beautiful than dark skin. I hope more people like you speak out and continue to feel beautiful you gorgeous little thing!! Your skin has a beautiful tone, and your features are very handsome young man. Am not coming on to you, just very pleased to tell you!

    Lilly xxx

  29. 42 Prahalad
    July 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Abhishek

    Thanks you for your post. I’m so happy to finally see an Indian who is not a POI who his proud of their natural tan.

    I’m considered fair skinned but I still get offended with the Asian obsession with fair skin. (probably because i’m POI and have experienced racism in UK/OZ).

    Anyway last month I was in Mumbai at one of the malls with my wife when she was approached by a sales consultant to try a whitening cream. I got upset and was about to explode but my wife politley told the sales lady that she’s proud of her Indian skin tone and not interested in looking like a European.


  30. 43 Cunning_Stunts
    July 14, 2010 at 6:52 am


    Bravo. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your post and couldn’t be more glad to have stumbled upon it.

    I am Malaysian of purely South Indian (Tamizh) descent. Being Malaysian, I grew up in a multicultural environment which consisted principally of Malay (principally Mongoloid and Negrito but many have Arab/Indian/Chinese admixture), Chinese and of course other Malaysians of Indian descent (who are a minority and form around 6% of total population of about 24 million). Despite having grown up in such a diverse surrounding, racial differences never really hit me until below:

    The below is written in mind that the Indian is not a distinct race by itself since it is not homogenous enough;

    I became enthralled with the concept of race/skin colour differences/looks/ethnicity at a young age a few years after my younger brother was born. Reason being – in a family of three siblings, the eldest (my sister) has lighter skin and typical Caucasoidal features not only restricted to face but also distribution of subcutaneous fat. I have the same skin colour with features – Strong jaws, thin lips, prominent nasal bridge/glabella, deep eye socket. My younger bro has very dark skin and as most Indians (or with Indian descent) would tell, faced discrimination within the family and its extensions. Many in the family would joke of his skin colour and he has even been given the tag ‘tadpole’ whilst growing up in reference to his skin colour. This undoubtedly infuriated me a great deal as it was my fellow sibling in question but this also sparked a keen curiosity within me to observe racial anthropology on a daily basis. I needed to know why being darker meant being “lesser”. Now here’s the interesting bit tho’….. among the three of us, my brother exhibits the most Caucusoidal traits feature wise. I find it shocking that in a community obsessed with Eurocentrism…..features are completely overlooked in pure favour of skin colour (not that discrimination based on features is perfectly fine). Not that my bro had any issues in pulling the birds but honestly this mentality is sickening to the core of the gut. Now I don’t know for how long this behavioural pattern has been and still is happening in the sub-continent i.e. has it been happening for a couple of thousand years or was it caused by a more recent European colonisation? I for one am NOT a believer of the Aryan Invasion theory (nothing more than a pile of garbage by Eurocentrists) until proven wrong of course. The concept of Haryana (Aryana) is more plausible in reference to that of the Invasion theory.

    Now within the Indian population of Malaysia, South Indians form the majority hence Malaysian Indians are perceived by the other two principal races (Chinese and Malay) as being dark skinned. If you were fair and did not conform to this then you would be automatically thought to being of either Northern Indian or Indian Muslim ancestry. The Malays of Malaysia have an obsession over Hindi films hence have a favourable tendency towards North Indian looks/features. Just like in many other Asian countries, the obsession to look whiter is not only restricted to Malaysian Indians but also extends to the Malays and Chinese (to a much lesser extent).

    I’ve been in countless conflicts with my parents, relatives and friends over casual remarks re skin colour in daily conversations so much so that my relationship with my parents have suffered severely due to this. I could not be more proud of my Indian heritage (afterall we possess that certain je ne sais quoi) however I’m afraid the stereotypical mentality towards intense pigmentation is an issue that can no longer be swept under the carpet. I find it revolting that in todays world skin colour is almost always a major factor in defining beauty. As you’ve said, even educated learned individuals have been brainwashed since birth to believe this crap. What’s worse is that this brainwashing has been perpetual for hundreds if not thousands of years now. Having a preference for something is one thing however it becomes a bit rich if it crosses the line of discrimination. E.g. I personally do not prefer typical Mongoloid features (slanted eyes with epicanthic folds/low nose bridges) but that in no manner gives me the right to see or perceive an individual who might happen to have these said features as inferior.

    We have the power to change mindsets and stereotypes….tell your kids that being black and dark (regardless of their own skin colour) is by no means inferior and that being fair/white is by no means superior. Only then will hundreds of years of oppression, slavery, mestizification and colonisation be crushed to bits. Or will it ever?

  31. 44 minal
    July 18, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    I hear a lot of people here lamenting about their “dark” skin but they are quick to add that they do have “sharp” features. Sharp here means high nose bridge, narrow, point nose etc.

    Well I am very fair in complexion but I have a very bulbous nose. Let me tell you I have been teased a lot because of this. Just as having dark skin is not desirable in Indian culture, having an African nose is not desirable either. Why? Why are so many of these Bollywood actors and actresses going for nose jobs to make their nose pointy like whites?

    • 45 a look for everyone
      August 16, 2010 at 8:56 am

      Yup, in the US, a lot of jewish and polish actresses have that issue with their nose shapes too – not that they have African noses.

      Because ‘angular’ or ‘sharp’ features have just as much a hegemony on the standards of beauty as does pale skin. For blacks in the US and maybe in other places too, dark skin + straight nose, slender lips = greater opportunities/ more widespread acceptance amongst other cultures.

      Your best bet is to find magazines or other images of models/actresses with features similar to yours. Use those images for tips to achieve different looks you like best. See eye makeup styels, hairstyles and so son that work well for you. They’re out there. You’ll see plenty of beautiful images with features like your own.

  32. 46 Sandman
    September 28, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    The Greeks referred to both India and Africa as Ethiopia, using the the then Ethiopian Sea (now Indian Ocean) as a divider. Nonetheless the Eastern Ethiopian (original dark Indians) were viewed as some of the finest specimen of mankind – evident even after all these years from your picture.
    In the last approximately three thousand years the expansion of the Aryan North European nomadic tribes has given rise to the destruction of the pre-exisitng black civilisation that was spread throughout the whole world (read about ‘recent single-origin hypothesis’ or ‘OUT OF AFRICA HYPOTHESIS’). It all boils down to economics – the dominant or conquering group established itself by first destroying what they found and then controlling economic and political access, hence job and social discrimination against the conquered dark community. Henceforth success was tied to looking like the conquerors – this is the story of conquest and colonialism and is a war still being fought in Sri Lanka, which i call a frontline state. All around the world a line can be drawn seperating North (light) and South (dark) in the Americas, Africa, Arabia, India and the Far East.
    We of the South are thus called to reestablish our economic might by trading with one another (the Global South) and living in each others’ communities, in this manner we will strengthen our hand in the global marketplace. maybe then will we finally say ‘Princes shall come out of Egypt, Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God’. I can tell you one thing for sure – you will always be welcome to Africa to whom the future belongs.

  33. 47 avinash
    October 15, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I was moved after reading this post abhishek. I am very happy to see this post. I totally agree with you about the need for us to understand that dark is just one of the complexions like any other and there’s no need to be so biased towards so-called FAIR complexioned people. In fact, we have to agree that FAIR DOESN’T MEAN WHITE OR LIGHT COMPLEXION.. Thanks for the post bro..In fact, I’ve had a dying crush on a dark beautiful girl..;)

  34. 48 Usha
    November 15, 2010 at 5:04 am

    I love your skin colour!
    I am a north indian and I prefer “dark” men (south Indians in particular)!!
    You are lucky to be born “dark” skinned.

  35. 49 Usha
    November 15, 2010 at 5:11 am

    Well known fact that lighter skinned people age faster.

  36. 50 bri
    November 15, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I think your skin (as well as your face) is beautiful.

    I’ve been interested in watching Indian films for years (and have seen a couple) but it has always bothered me that everyone was so light. I mean I know the skintones in India are so diverse but you’d think you’d see darker skinned people. Almost all the Indians I know are pretty dark :/

    I think it’s so horrible that people think it’s okay to make someone feel inferior because of their skin tone. I’m black and really haven’t been on the recieving end of teasing about mine (i’m probably about as dark as you but completely different tone) but my older brother is much darker and he’d get made fun of. 😦 I remember growing up when people made fun of my neighbor who is very very dark (Alex Wek complexion) and everyone thought it was funny talking about they wouldn’t be able to see him if at night and much worse things 😦 People can be very cruel.

    but anyway this is an old post but I don’t think anyone should be ashamed of their skin. I myself am very fond of dark skin (i find pale skin beautiful as well)

  37. 51 Delecia
    January 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I stumbled across your story as I was doing an internet search on this subject. As a dark skinned African American female, I have often wondered if this discrimination based on skin color only existed in the US. After reading your story and several others, I see that it’s not exclusive to Americans. Most races that have a darker complexion struggle with this same issue. I often wonder why. Beauty has no color. I have been told that I am ” beautiful to be dark” as if it is an anomaly for people with dark skin to be beautiful. Luckily, I have a self worth that is not dependent on what others think of me, but I have gotten this over time. My concern is for children who have to grow up dealing with this thought process. Beauty comes in all colors. I think all of the dark completed people of the world should unite and scream this from the rooftops. Thank you for sharing your story. I do realize that your post is 2 years old, but this is a topic that will always be current.
    Thanks again!!

  38. 52 Gabby
    February 13, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Iam darkskinned to I am not Indian however I am African American and my skin is a few shades lighter than yours. I highly recommend you moving to America because there is not nearly as much skin color discrimination here. In my country our President is black an darksinned plus the majority of the people are white. Dark skinned people hold jobs are seen in movies and have high government positions. Proud to be an American!

  39. 53 spicegirl7
    April 20, 2011 at 11:41 am

    i just finished reading ur blog and it’s like the best blog i’ve read in terms of wat u’ve spoken abt. i am tamilian and im dark. im very proud of that simply coz i look like how im supposed to look . like a tamilian. fortunately..i’ve not had comments that are as worse as some i read but im so proud of the way u stand up and say .:im proud” . whenever peoople compliment me..it always comes with a “but” ..like..ur so beautiful BUT ur dark ..so on and so forth ..which literally drives me crazy. Living in india( seeing there are so many culture and races mixed) should be easy and such issues shouldn’t even come up!! rather i think v live in so much more prejudice and discrimination
    than america or the UK!! again..im a tamilian and im supposed to be brown.!! y cant people understand that? i’ve been blessed with good features and a skin tone that i would desire any day of the week!! hell!! the majority of people in india or even the world are dark skinned!! the original race of humans were dark!! the aborginal indians were a race by themselves and were dark!! until the aryans came here of course!

    and..wats with the entertainment industry?? it’s like any fair person is attractive!! thats just BS!! its like ur fair ..then ur beautiful. if ur dark..ur just not! i think it;s funny sometimes..people want to get educated so badly..and the educated ones are the worst !!

    i just wanna say that i love this blog coz u’ve taken the words out of so many people and im so proud of u {though i have no idea who u r} and all of us.it’s high time there’s a revolution in this country!!

  40. 54 Rohan
    April 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Err tan/dark skin is so good
    Look at deepal shaw , shes so hot in her skin but she hasnt been successful in bollywood and you can probably guess why?

    Whenever i see white people , i just think they are too white , tooo tooo white or im just not used to seeing such white skin

    BTW hating dark skin and loving white is mainly down to colonial mentality which is present in almost every country which has been ruled by Europeans.
    If you think India is bad in this respect then you are wrong ,the worst by far are the people from Phillipines.We were ruled by the british for 150 yrs , they were ruled by the spanish for 300 years , so in a way they are twice as bad lol.Check it up

  41. 55 Shivakumar
    June 2, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Do people in North India speak tamil?
    Would a tamilian walk in the streets of Delhi demanding why the locals dont speak in Tamil?
    So dont come to Chennai or other Southern city and whine that the locals dont want to speak in Hindi.
    Please cut that crap about expecting South Indians to speak North Indian languages.
    This was a major mistake Indian government made. Use English and English ONLY to link the various Indian communities

  42. 56 Shivakumar
    June 2, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Melanin is a godly substance. Key to magical powers. The european knows this and wanted to shut it down. In ancient times, the blackest people were considered especially sacred because of this
    Thus the mental illness he introduced into our society

  43. 57 Shivakumar
    June 3, 2011 at 1:00 am

    Dai Rajkumar pundeyandi. If you hate your dark skin so much, find a way to extract that melanin and give it to me, you sick waste of melanin

  44. 58 Viknesh Pillay
    June 7, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    I think one of the biggest problems which is no one has highlighted (as far as I have read), is that every Indian thinks he is fair or ‘normal’ coloured. Among Singaporean Tamils we call it ‘ma niram’. Because every one thinks that he/she is fair, he feels that he has the right to tease or discriminate someone who is darker than he is.

    Another big problem is that most people do not know that they are being racist or discriminatory. Many Indians make fun of their own skin colour and make insensitive comments about another without realising it.

    I have a close cousin who once told me that her sister (who is many shades lighter than she is) has always been considered pretty, while she faded into the background. Her mother was really proud to have given birth to a fair child. This has had a great impact on her personal life. She is dear to me and seeing her go through this is extremely disheartening.

    I told her that it was time she spoke up. She needs to tell her family that thinking that fair is good, is not right and that they should start changing. Her reply to this was, ‘My persuasions would carry weight as I am dark. I am fighting a lost cause’. It does seem that colourism is so inextricably entrenched in modern Indian society that it would take a generation or more to see any significant change. We need to take small steps now. Talk to family members. If anyone teases another, never ever hesitate to tell anyone off. Let them know how you feel about it.

    I grew up thinking that fair was good and better. My family is fairer than the general Tamil populace. I grew up thinking that I was better looking my other Tamil friends and cousins. My father himself called my oldest sister ‘karrupi’ or ‘blackie’. My brother has insisted that he will only get married to a fair girl. Not just fair, but someone who is almost as white as a European. We are all from Singapore, well educated, with a diverse group of friends of various ethnicity, colours, creeds etc. My family is borderline aethist and we are very practical and objective to life. It is extremely sad that given such dynamics, my family like many others, till today, still harbour such views. This is mainly because they either do not see the harm in doing so, or simply do not realise that they are making fun.

    I live in the UK now, and after years of disassociating myself from Indians, I know that I need to step up and play my part. I am the only one who has very different views in my family and am determined to play my part in changing it. I have recently told my parents what i think and I do repeatedly tell them off to stop making insensitive remarks and to start learning that skin colour is just skin deep and does not mean anything! I am writing my dissertation about it and I am contacting various societies in my university and other universities to create forums to talk about such issues and educate the younger generation, from primary school through to university. If you hear a kid teasing another, never hesitate to take it up with the parents. Talk to them. Education and making the masses realise this plague is an important way forward and we can all play our individual roles.

    Whether we are light brown, or dark brown at the end of the day we are ALL brown! (FYI Abhishaken, there are many Indians who would consider you gorgeous)

    • 59 Muhammed
      September 15, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      Dear Pillay,

      Please make wide publicity of you dissertation. I would remain on wings to see its contents in toto.

    • 60 Cunning_Stunts
      May 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm


      Hope you’ve managed to read my earlier post on July 14, 2010 at 6:52 am above. You’ll nod in agreement.

      Malaysian Tamizh …. we’re on exactly the same boat. Believe you me I know exactly what you mean. I’ve been in the UK myself for 8 years now and it’s difficult to go back to that surroundings. And we call ourselves cultured. I can’t even connect with my dad anymore it’s sad. I got proposals for arranged marriages some time back, no one flippin’ asked my opinion on the matter, they assumed they knew what my standard of beauty was … as usual fair, bla di bla bla bla. Beyond sickening. I don’t even feel like talking to my family …. I’ve tried talking to them about skin colour issues…. it falls on blimmin’ deaf ears.

      Others of East Indian origin get offended if I (of EI origin myself) refer to myself as black. WTF!!! Is being fair = aesthetically pleasing?? Each to their own I guess.

  45. 61 Dingane Walker
    June 9, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    There was never an Aryan Invasion.. The British made that up to cause you to hate each other. The Northern Indians are Indigenous, & were not invaders from Europe, they have been there from the beginning.Be proud of your dark skin!

  46. 62 Kumar
    June 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Hello friend, I was just googling and came across your post. I am from Tamilnadu and even though I am not that dark for a Tamil, (I’m around Surya Sivakumar’s skin tone, if you watch Tamil movies haha =) ). The north indians I’ve met in Singapore(where I’ve been living for the past 12-13 years) just seem to have an uncontrollable desire to make fun of me just because I’m a Tamilan and I’ve even been made fun of north indians who were darker than me. So I think north indians just have it in their system to make fun of southies, not just on the basis of skin colour.

    And anyway, dun fret it man, your skin tone is super cool. Have you ever seen the tamil guy from HEROES?(Sendhil Ramamurthy) He has a skin tone similiar to yours and ppl in America find him to ridiculously gorgeous and sexy.

    • 63 Cunning_Stunts
      May 22, 2012 at 6:13 pm

      How sad is that huh? It took ‘white’ Caucasians in the American Entertainment Industry to endorse a drop dead beauty like Senthil Ramamurthy before universal acceptance. Would India have endorsed a ‘darkie’ like Senthil. You tell me.

  47. 64 Harris
    July 11, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    I find this post quite interesting. Discrimination on the basis of skin color has to go. As a very fair skinned southie(tamil brahm, yes), my first day in college was filled with remarks of “You are so white”, “how are you so white, da”. I had absolutely no answer to those. I grew up in schools were people came from many backgrounds and a variety of skin colors, and I can’t recall a moment in my life where I thought my skin tone was better than others’.

    However discrimination also goes both ways. I have experienced blatant jealously by people with darker skin tones(faces don’t lie). Some go to the extent of belittling you and making fun of your other aspects. This is especially common with darker skinned Tamil brahmins who think they are a mistake of their caste.

    What goes around comes around, people. I don’t believe in the supremacy of any skin tone, but I can’t help it if you make me think otherwise.

  48. 66 Ajeethaa
    July 11, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    You are gorgeous dude. As what Kumar said, Senthil Ramamurthy is hot and a very gorgeous guy. He beats all the white guys acting in the series. You would remember Nandita Das…she is beautiful. And she is more respected than Aishwarya Rai.
    People here who wrote that they didn’t care and advised others not to bother about skin colours, should touch the base and ask themselves…were you genuine with the advice? Some of the people here said “oh I am not that dark…I am of the same colour as Surya Sivakumar”…blah blah what were you trying to prove? You were conscious about the skin colour and you made that as a point. People can read that too you know.
    To indians, the skin colour does matter. I live in Australia and during summer, the sun can get brutally hot. Guess who carry the umbrella most…the Indians! Why? The westerners laugh at them mostly. I do too. Believe it or not…even the Chinese do that. They wear gloves to cover their hands when they drive on an extreme sunny day!!! Nuts!
    I have lived in Asia and yes, people in Asia are obsessed with skin colour. I have been to Switzerland and yes you are right…people look at you and would tell you how beautiful you look. I have experienced the same here in Australia and also the US and they would tell me it is regardless the skin colour. I have seen ugly light skinned Indian woman and also ugly dark skinned woman. Remember…beauty is in the eyes of the beholder REGARDLESS the skin colour.

    One thing i would like to say….people will feel and notice your beauty if you add more self confidence. People can see that self confidence…like how they would say that they can ‘hear’ your smile when you speak on the phone.

    So yes…you are beautiful to me because you are. Not because you are a dark skinned person or an Indian. Have more self confidence! Dalai Lama said the mind can be moulded the way you want it to be. So tell your mind more that you are the most beautiful person in the world and you shall be!

  49. 67 Ajeethaa
    July 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm


    A perspective from a westerner who has adopted two Indian girls from an Indian orphanage. He saw the difference in treatments to his one fairer daughter and the other darker daughter. An interesting read.

  50. 68 Ajeethaa
    July 11, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    And the fact is…the colourism in India was brought in by the westerners themselves. So the more we should stay away from this ‘culture’. Okay my final note:

    Even prior to any interactions between Europeans and South Asians, colorism has been an issue for South Asian cultures. According to Communist revisionist historians, color prejudice was introduced due to Aryans from Central Asia invading India in ancient times and subjugating the “dark” indigenous Indians. This form of negationist historical revisionism was part of the British colonial ideology. Much of these theories were simply conjecture fueled by European imperialism. This styling of an Aryan invasion by British colonial fantasies of racial supremacy was incorporated by Communist revisionists as part of waging a Trotskyist permanent revolution in India between perceived “whites” and “darks”, and has no basis in genetic or anthropological studies of South Asian populations. More recent studies have also debunked the British claims that so-called “Aryans” and “Dravidians” have a “racial divide”. A study conducted by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in 2009 (in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT) analyzed half a million genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 ethnic groups from 13 states in India across multiple caste groups.[22] The study establishes, based on the impossibility of identifying any genetic indicators across caste lines, that castes in South Asia grew out of traditional tribal organizations during the formation of Indian society, and was not the product of any mythical “Aryan Invasion” and “subjugation” of Dravidian people, unlike what British racial-revanchist and revisionist claims would have one believe.[23]
    The study does go on to state that there were two different populations that originally settled India. They were the Ancestral North Indian (ANI) in the north and the Ancestral South Indian (ASI) in the south. Over time these groups mixed together.
    Traditionally, Hinduism has never shown a preference for skin color and dark skinned people can be found in all castes of Hindu society. In the Mahabharata, the character known as Krishna was of dark complexion but was an epitome of beauty. The incarnation of Vishnu, Krishna himself (widely revered by Vaishnavites), was said to be “as black as a full raincloud”.
    Individuals in South Asia have tended to see whiter skin as more beautiful. This was most clearly visible in British India, where skin color served as a signal of high status for British. Thus, those individuals with fairer skin color enjoyed more privileges and opportunities than those with dark skin. Anglo-Indians with more European features were often more upwardly mobile and were considered[who?] to have a more affluent status. These individuals gained preferences[clarification needed] in education and in employment. Darker skinned individuals were socially and economically disadvantaged due to their appearance. (Beyond the South Asian subcontinent, persons who were dark-skinned, “black” or “colored” faced a disadvantage in most European-held colonies.) Most Indian actors and actresses have light skin.[24]
    A documentary entitled Shadeism looks closer at how skin color effects the mindset of women.

  51. 69 medid
    July 12, 2011 at 9:59 am

    @ Ajeetha,

    Well as much as you would like to believe that the Aryan Invasion was false, no, it is not entirely a made up story.

    India was inhabited by Dravidians- people just like the Author, they are totally Caucasian though with a darker skin tone. We then have the Australoid s- same race as Australian Aborigines, thought to be the first people to reach India. Just about any village in rural Tamil Nadu, and you can see these people still.

    One thing to remember is that there are no pure Dravidians and Australoid s existing in South India. Most Dravidians do have some Australoid admixture, and the same for Australoids.

    The only exception to this is the Upper caste people of South india, they are Indo-europeans, much like the North indians. These people are said to have migrated from North india to south india some 1000s of years back, and still revere Sanskrit and make sure their children know it.

    Take for example Vidya Balan and Madhavan, both Palakkad iyers. One looks like a Russian and the other can’t be said apart from a North Indian.

    Now look at Mr Vijayakanth, captain. He is like Dravidian with a lot of Australoid admixture. Rajnikanth is almost completely Dravidian, so are people like Prakash Raj.

    You can live in denial about all this, or embrace the differences and live accordingly, your choice.

    • 70 Cunning_Stunts
      May 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm

      Rajnikanth is not Tamizh? Or is he? Indians are an admixture of Australoid/Caucasoid/Negrito/Mongoloid tendencies in varying degrees. The obvious preference is towards those who deviate more towards 100% Caucusoidal.

      The upper caste people of South India are not entirely different from the other clusters in terms of appearance. If you told me Madhavan and Vijaykanth were siblings that would be plausible. If you’d told me Madhavan and David Beckham were brothers then I’d have asked if he’s dad was a traveling salesman. If anything there is more admixture in the ‘upper classes’ as opposed to the lower classes. This is a romantic illusion in order to distinguish oneself from the so called lower strata of society. Vidya Balan does not look Russian. She exhibits lovely beautiful Indian features. Maria Sharapova on the other hand does not exhibit the same tendencies.

      Seems to me like we’re not the ones living in denial. What do ya reckon Ajeetha?

  52. 71 Black Indian
    July 19, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Whatever people say I always feel bad for because of my skin color is black. In school you will find your friends calling you “KALU” which means Black. I wish I was fair

  53. 73 Tanya Pereira
    August 18, 2011 at 1:51 am

    I was wondering if any of you could help support my ‘Not fair, still lovely’ page on facebook.


    My goal is to broaden people’s perception of skin tone in India so that Indians (especially young women and men) won’t suffer through low self esteem and depression because they’re constantly told that dark skin is ugly. Please hit ‘like’ on the page, share it with your facebook friends and post your thoughts/opinions on the matter.

  54. 74 TLee
    September 6, 2011 at 3:14 am

    So , I find this very interesting…I am considered Dark Skin Black/Indian/ mix. I am a Model. Today, I go to a fitting for a Indian designer and when I walk in to meet with the designer, the mother of the designer immediately shakes her head disapprovingly. I was so hurt because I had never truly experienced this in the states but have heard of this in the Indian community. I am proud of my dark skin and would never use a lightener to meet their so called standard. It is a shame that a group of people can be so hurtful to their own and others all because of the color of their skin.

  55. 75 Muhammed
    September 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Racial discrimanation in India is very acute and subtle.

    While an enormously large segment of Indians are practicing it daily in their lives,an equally large number of Indians would pretend that Indians cannot be racist even in the least. A sort of double standard.

    But what has not happened in India is that there is no sceintific study about the racism in India, unlike the enormous amount literature on the subject in the US or in other countries.

    I would like to conduct a research on this topic. I need support from people who suffer/suffered on account of racility in India to provide first hand information about their experiences to go about this research.

    I feel it is high time that we should take this menace by its jugular veins.


  56. 76 Agnyaanamdhvamsakah
    September 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    This is not racism, it’s colourism, please inform yourselves well before commenting (to some of the commenters on this thread) I have done enough research to determine that there are no longer any true ‘racial’ types in India, every Indian shares his or her DNA with at least two ethnic groups that had once been distinct physically and racially. (read at least 10000 y.b.c.) The major types were the Indo-Brachids (no prominent features), the Indo-Mediterranids (dark, tall, sharp Caucasoidic features), Indo-Australoids (dark, stunted features), Indo-Semitics (light, tall, prominent noses, akin to their cousins the Jews, Arabs and other semitic peoples)

    On the blog: this was one of my first finds, good post, and good work on en-light-ening people on this issue (forgive the ugly pun, it’s built into the language you see!)

    For my part: I have ideas for movies, and I plan on only hiring dark skinned Indians for the roles. I’m sorry if that sounds discriminatory, I don’t give a rat’s ass. There is no way in hell any self-respecting Indian could even study and understand Indian scriptures and mythology without being able to appreciate the beauty of the dark-skinned heros and characters, and they’re full of them. The composer of the Vedas was dark-skinned (‘Vyaasa’), KrSNa was the very embodiment of the dark-skinned, erotic, South-Indian mediterranid, Rama was dark-skinned (as the story goes he apparently drank crow’s blood and ‘became’ dark, lol?)…then there’s the mythical\semi-mythical gods and goddesses, ViSNu-mUrthi is dark (‘neela’ or blue is basically a euphemism for dark *dermal* pigmentation -as opposed to epidermal ‘brown’ pigmentation, something a lot of people do not seem to have grasped even today) and so on. It just seems to me the mish-mash that is modern India has lost a *lot* of knowledge over the millennia, the land of the dark-skinned heroes and the kamasutra has today descended into a dark-skin disliking, extremely-conservative-about-sex society. Somewhere along the we took the wrong fucking turn. I’ll do my bit to set it right.


  57. October 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    hey there,

    i came across this while trying to formulate my own thoughts on this issue in a blog post, and its great to know that people like you are stepping up and talking about it. While there are lots of different things that factor into how we indians view whitER/lightER/fairER skin as superior, I think that any hope for positive change regarding this notion, resides in the pride in ourselves and the ‘color’ of our skin that people like you and me choose to reflect, despite the dictates of popular belief. does that make any sense?

    anywho…thank you for speaking out!

    more power to yah 😉

  58. 78 shasi
    October 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I am a south indian female with a dark chocolate skin. I have faced discrimination because of my skin color and have resented this. I want this to come out in open. I also want the fairness ads to be banned for promoting color discrimination. Besides this I am angry at south indian movies. The heroes here can be dark but heroines are always very light skinned women mostly from north india. It promotes a color discrimination that is very cruel to women. This has to stop.

    • November 12, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      hey i totally agree! how would one go about campaigning for/petitioning against fairness product commercials? any ideas? it’s something i’ve been thinking about for a while but i think its time we seriously step on the gas pedal. i for one am going to try and actively look into this. it would mean going up against a pretty big ‘industry’ if you will, because way too many people buy into this toxic rubbish but… let’s do something about it already? i’m not talking anything too reckless but we could always start by spamming the bejeezus out of the The Advertising Standards Council of India with signed petitions or…really though let’s do something?!? i might be a little too eager…but…i’ll figure it out one of these days…

  59. 80 prasanthgaucho
    October 24, 2011 at 6:48 am

    good posts! but this does not change anything! i am just happy a few people appreciate dark skin!

  60. 81 prasanthgaucho
    October 24, 2011 at 7:02 am

    one more thing i almost forgot to say! chocolate brown skin is always the best! i mean look at all the hot latin and brown brazilian women ! they look better than the top light skinned actresses .

  61. 82 Nash
    November 19, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Indians are more racist than any one else in the world. Especially the North Indians who made fun of me because of my dark skin.
    I lived in Australia for 7 years. I did not have any problems at all. When I returned back through Delhi I was looked down. Indians are Indians. I am proud to be Indian in some way but this point turns me off. Good Luck all lighter Indians, you will never improve for your whole life. We south Indians are more talented and hold high positions in Software companies than the North Indians who are just cabbies and run 7-11’s in U.S

  62. 83 Dee
    January 16, 2012 at 7:32 am

    My first question would be…where did these so-called light indians get the notion that they were better SIMPLY because they were lighter? What idiot places value on a…color? I am an attractive African American woman, caramel color during the winter and yummy cocoa in the summer. I had a guy at my job who would always comment my summer tan by saying..dang, you got dark! WTF! I had no idea that Indians discriminated that bad due to skin tone. I learned about the caste system a few years ago. Just so youll know, outside of India, all the othere races think that your beautiful with your cocoa skin and jet black hair.

  63. 84 Rabindranath Jawahar Banerjee
    February 26, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I was also told when I was a boy that I was black and it pissed me off. At about 14 years old I started to do weightlifting and bodybuilding and the result was awesome. After some years in New York City I went to Calif to lift weights at the gym where Arnold used to train. There I heard some beautiful white female modles asking Vince Gironda- the owner of the gym- “Who is that very handsome guy?” They were reffering to me. Also when I went to night clubs girls from Norway, Sweden , Denmark and Brazil would always say to me: “You have such beautiful skin and hair. My own Indian people were out to destroy me whereas these foreign girls empowered me. Now I am 64 years old and still very handsome and athletic.

    • 85 Cunning_Stunts
      May 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      Would you’ve been equally ecstatic if there ‘you heard some beautiful black female models’ asking Vince Gironda the same?

  64. 86 anu
    April 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Hi ,

    I am a Maharastrian grl with a kind of dusky skin tone ..I hv gone thru the same plight as all of u guys hv gone thru…but more shockingly it came thru my BF ..who cudnt marry me because his mom wanted a fair skinned grl..I cudnt believe the kind of shallowness today’s educated Indian guys cud hv…He is just a fair skinned guy and lookswise i am way much better than him..I so hate myself for spending time with such spineless ,racist freak .

  65. 87 PureDravid
    April 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Abhishaken and everyone who’s commented on this post..almost 15 years after leaving the country, when people ask me if I’ll go back..the only thing that I can think about are the hundreds of millions of dark-skinned Indians who were not fortunate enough to be able to receive an unbiased education and end up starving on the streets or laboring in some foreign country under the most horrific conditions.

    And every time I see Shahrukh Khan in the Fair and Handsome ad, I think of Br. D’Souza, the dark-skinned Catholic priest who picked up the coal that Shahrukh was and made a diamond out of.

    I was lucky. I escaped. I did well academically and bust my way through the obvious caste, ethnicity and color biases. And frankly, I could’t care a toss about this whole “karma”philosophy that seems to drive this vicious cycle.

    To all my fellow ethnic Indians of color, perhaps its time that we are more vociferous in denouncing the Indian movie hypocrisy and the marriage shams. And to those who can – try and help dark skinned Indians get a better education. Plus if there is a dark skinned lawyer out there – could you kindly bring up a class-action suit against the manufacturers and marketers of ego-defiling skin care products.

  66. 88 DAN
    April 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    It is like “being born dark is a sin”.I am a dark guy and starting from school most people including some of my family members never left an opportunity to ridicule me about being black. I am simple guy who never causes trouble for others and people has always loved me as person for my helping nature and my feel good character. But still many seem to overlook what i am inside and just pass cruel comments that breaks my heart into pieces. I always try to be strong and just put deaf ears to such cruel comments, but still at the end of the day I am a human being with feeling and whatever i do some day my heart climbs the limit of pain and my eyes flood. I think life is a lot tougher if you are born dark. In a country like India fair skin is the face of beauty, from your film stars to commercial ads stressing fair skin to be the ideal skin color, people like me with dark skin finds our self totally misplaced. But I always think i cannot let others take control of my feelings, how bad it may be i have to stand up and live. Those people will walk away leaving me bleeding and hurt and they have nothing to lose. Well ya i am hurt but not destroyed, even i have a life to live making it beautiful or miserable is my choice. If i keep all these cruel remarks in my mind and keep crying on it I am the one who is losing out and i am also joining the side of those people who made that cruel comments on me. If i pity myself for being dark then i am no different than the people who bad mouth my skin color. So I think it is important that one should love and accept oneself. I have many qualities in me that i am proud of,how can just one factor called “dark skin” take all that away from me. I am not saying that loving yourself will keep you away from all the miseries you have to face due to your skin color.Loving yourself will make you stronger to face and overcome every cruel remark. There still may be days when you feel totally down by a comment made by your colleague or friend knowingly or unknowingly, but never forget you love yourself more than anything thing , just think all the good qualities you have and how you as a person have influenced many others. These things will help you. Rise, fight, overcome and leave behind the bad moments never make them a space in your memories bcos there are soo many good moments that can fill up your memories. Today i stand 30 years old when i look back i can say i am beautifully dark skinned and l love myself soo much and i want to live like this for another 60 years. Bcos what i am today is bcos of what i was yesterday……………….

    • 89 bhavana
      April 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      U are superb

    • 91 Meena
      May 2, 2013 at 6:45 am

      I am an Indian woman married to an Indian man and living in the US. We are both dusky and of the typical Indian color. My comment to you is I am so glad that you are proud of who you are and please do NOT let anyone make you feel less. I actually love it when my husband works in the yard in the summer and gets really dark. I find his tanning so alluring and attractive, Indian and wonderful.

    • 93 Leila
      April 24, 2012 at 12:30 am

      You should come to where I live in South Africa – I am Indian and much darker skinned than the so called ‘dark skinned people’ everyone has identified in the comments on your blog (I think that India is so warped that you don’t even know what being truly dark skinned actually looks like :-p) and its not a problem for me here at all – it being given that I don’t live in Durban (which is South Africa’s biggest Indian community). I am supposed to come visit India later this year but am thoroughly terrified now!

      • 94 PureDravid
        May 26, 2012 at 11:16 pm

        Visit India..? For what? Go if you have family there. But if you want to find your “roots” don’t waste your time. If you’re in South Africa, its probably because your forefathers were dark-skinned and relegated to being exploited in India in the name of the caste system.

  67. May 29, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    Found this to be very enlightening!!

  68. 96 selvaraj
    July 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm

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  70. November 15, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I am so proud of you for speaking on these issues. As an African American female I understand the color issue. You are beautiful , you skin tone is gorgeous. Reading this made me feel more secure! The soul has no color and it is ancient of days.


  71. 100 Balamiah
    December 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    I’m a Bengali in the UK with somewhat dark skin and I hate it. 😦

  72. 101 lalu
    January 4, 2013 at 11:00 am

    see, to tell the truth , it is the dark skinned south indians who idolize white north indians. The southie men lust after northie grils and the southie women lust after northie guys. I have worked in north indian as well as south india and the general attitude of south indians is shameful. in their movies the heroes are south indian dark skinned moustahced but the heroines are 16-17 year old north indian fair girls just out of schools. South india is the biggest market for fairness creams. With this kind of mentality where you hate your own skin color and secretly dream of north indian fair women as your dream girl and dont even bother to treat your own women as your ideal couterparts then there is something wrong with this mentality. All north indian girls get olgled at in south india because they are fair and south Indian women ogles north indian men. with this kind of unhealty mindset, no doubt south india needs to do a lot to respect themselves.

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  80. 109 fermats
    September 21, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Indians are stupid when it comes to many things that are global.. when I came back to India on a holiday, when I asked where I am working, I simply said Africa.. I would have talked to more than 50 ppl.. and none of these idiots asked which country in Africa.. such idiots live in India.. they may be smarter in memorizing and working like a slave.. but they can never innovate.. they can’t create anything new that can make the world go crazy about.. it’s a nation of mediocrity corruption and idiocy… on top of that they are bloody racists and the biggest hypocrites I the planet.. shame on Indians..

    • 110 Amit
      December 1, 2013 at 1:02 am

      When people in India had asked you about your country name , why did you hide it & , what was the reason to tell them the continent name, are you suffering from inferiority complex with your own country, any ways which country are you from ?

      • 111 Amit
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        Hi Fermats, I think you deserve a better treatment so please ignore the above answer. Check this one

        When people in India had asked you about your country name , why did you hide it, what was the reason to tell them the continent name, I am sure all the 50 people must be thinking about you that how stupid you are , they are asking the country name and you are telling them the continent name, are you suffering from inferiority complex with your own country, any ways which country are you from ?

  81. 112 Amit
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    We all are beautiful just the way we are. We keep on concentrating on the things we wish we would have & forget what we do have.

    I make short films, inspired so much from the video linked below, that I have a plan to make a short film on color complex issue, looking for the people with their experience , you can mail me at askharbanda@rediffmail.com ,


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  93. 124 Kevin
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    Thanks for writing this article, man. I’m free Kerala and I’ve experienced the same prejudices from so many people. I live in the US and almost everyone is lighter than me where I live. It used to be so painful just walking in the mall and standing out, but now I’m okay with how I look. I’ve grown to appreciate my dark brown skin. It’s as dark as earth and reminds me that I’m in sync with nature. I used to also be made fun of, but screw those people. Their self worth is probably wallowing if they can’t even be comfortable in their own skin with people of all colors. So happy that we have overcome this obstacle. And so glad I read this article.

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