- True love knows no caste, creed or religion
Several years ago I posted a response to a woman who was dating an Indian man on a forum called www.Lovingyou.com . She was concerned about being accepted by the guy’s family because she was African American. She had heard so much about Indians rejecting others because of their skin tone. My words to her were designed to offer hope and share my experience. Since then I get many emails from women (and men) who are dating an Indian partner and they are trying to demystify the whole process.
I wish I could the skin tone issue was simply an Indian myth or stereotype but it does exist. What is surprising to me is that it even exists among the darkest of Indians. I’ve often told M that it’s as though some Indians look in the mirror and see another image staring back at them other than the reality. The image they see is a throwback to the British colonialism days when white was right. Many Indians (espcially older Indians) still think that if they are ligher (or more fair as they call it), they will be accepted more easily in Indian society. Sadly, in some cases this is true.
Take a look at some of the Indian matrimonial ads out there and look at the overwhelming number of them that describe themselves as wheatish or fair. It’s as though that is supposed to be some type of major selling point. Sadly for many, it is.
I feel so sorry for the darker skinned Indian girls who grow up in a society where the shade of one’s skin is more important than the content of their character. If they don’t hear the words spoken from others such as their parents, there are tons of ways society is reinforcing this backward way of thinking. For example, skin lightening cream commercials showing darker skinned women being turned down for jobs and then getting the same job after they’ve lightened their skin using the special cream. It’s sheer madness.
When my husband told his mother he had married an African American woman, he told me she asked if I was fair. After my incredulous reaction, I think my response made my position on her question quite clear. Now, to this day he swears this conversation never took place. I think it’s because he knows my reaction will never change. Let’s just say that part of my response involved a little neck swirling and eye rolling while I asked, “what are you going to do return me if I’m not fair enough for her tastes?” and “has she looked at you lately because you’re darker than me!” That’s the edited version of that conversation.
Here’s the nuts and bolts of the skin tone issue. Are there Indians out there who discriminate against others because they may be slightly darker? Definitely. Are there Indians out there who still in this day and time refuse service to some people because they may be darker? Yep. Is it sad and pathetic, YES! But for every one of those backward idiots there are those who show a different more sane way of thinking. They recognize that the outside of a person only holds so much. It’s what’s on the INSIDE that will sustain them over a lifetime.
This idea of darker skin being something evil or bad is steeped in history. Many years ago (and in some villages even still) there is a lower caste of people called the Untouchables. Basically, this group of people is considered to be too impure or unclean to be amongst those of a higher caste. They couldn’t drink from the same well and often had to ring bells to let people of higher castes know they were approaching and if they saw someone from a higher caste on the road, they were to get off of the road and yield to the higher caste person. They are banned from some temples and basically life is just miserable. Here’s a couple of interesting articles on the untouchables if you want to know more.
The experience of the untouchables reminds me of what blacks went through during slavery and the period prior to the Civil Rights Movement.
If a man doesn’t want you because of the color of your skin then he’s not worth it. Consider it the best gift he can give you. Until the next blog….