What is it like to be a dark-skinned person in India?
Anukriti Shrivastava, studied at Neeraj Public School
“Those who matter in my life don't care about my skin colour. And those who care about my skin color don’t matter in my life”
I am a dark skinned girl. And my mother is a beautiful fair lady. I have lots of experiences which are not at all good. Lets start with my childhood.
1.I was three or four years old. We were at my mother's home town. My nani (maternal grandmother) came too me. Looked at me in a horrible way and said - Dolly (my mom)is she really your daughter?You are soo beautiful at this age and this girl is soo black and ugly. I was a child yet i broke into tears.
2.When started going to school, i used to sit alone. No one wanted to be my friend. That time Children barely talk to me and I heard them whispering “she is soo ugly don't talk to her. Don't sit by her side”. They even sometimes treated me as an untouchable
3.When I was in 2nd standard, our whole school was busy with the preparations of our annual function. I also wanted to take part. But my class teacher refused to take me in the dance act, as she wanted only good looking cute kids.
4.All these incidents made me an introvert and lacking in confidence. I became a girl that was forced to think that she was ugly and that she could never make friends . She can never get her prince charming.
5.Most heart breaking thing- i was in relationship with a punjabi boy. We were classmates in our school. I was completely in love with him. And i still love him with all my heart. He is a man of honor i must say. He is the best person I had seen in my life. Every thing was going well. He told his mother about our relationship. His mother reacted positively, after which i was on cloud nine. she called me for tea, When she saw me for the first time. Things suddenly started to change. We had the tea but we didn't talk much. After that she forced him to break up with me. The reason was- yes you guessed it right - i am black. I was broken. I burst into tears and I was shattered. It was not my mistake.
6.No, we didn't break up on that. My boy (actually my man) had a sense of what is right and what is wrong. As is said, he is the best person I had seen in my life.
Enlightening of my life- Since my chilhood the reason why i didn't lost faith in my self and i didn't started hating my self is ‘A Boy’ yes when no one wanted to share bench with there was a boy who was always there for me. We share the same bench for all our kindergarten life. He used to share his tiffin with me. He used to make me laugh and he still never fails in that. Every time i started hating my self he came to the rescue. The made me realize what i really am. How beautiful i am. And what i can achieve. He always made me see the bright side of my life. When i was broken after my boyfriend’s mother commented on my skin he made me happy. He made me feel like the real princess i am. We shares every thing we share the same emotions, we share the same skin, we shared the same bench, we shared the same color, we shared the same house, moreover we shared the same blood. Yes he is my brother, my best friend, my enlightening. He is the one you kept me together for soo long. He is the one who told me about Quora He is @Priyansh Shrivastava
I am not the same under confident girl i used to be. As i figured out that -
In india if you are not beautiful, you have to be confident and funny and over achiever and physical fit and a good speaker and a good listener. If you lack a single thing mentioned in the above list…then you are screwed in this country. Specially as girl.
And i am working soo hard to be the best version of my self. I have a bag full of certificates for rankings in inter school, inter city debates, extempore, speeches etc. I ride bullet in my small town and when i am riding that beast no one gives a look at the beautiful fair girls standing in fornt of them. Each and every pair of eyes are wide open and with jaws dropped to the ground. Their fingers pointing me and the only word that comes out of there mouth is “WOW”
Blessed with extra chocolaty texture….. Right..
I bet you can't keep your eyes off me…when i ride this beast
Keerthana, I'm an Indian teenage girl.
I'm from southern part of India where majority of the people are dark skinned but still they ridicule us .
I have been facing cricticism since my childhood. My mom and sis both are fair skinned but my dad and I are dark skinned. When I go out with my mom, people would ask me why am I dark skinned while my mother is so beautiful.
But now I accept what I am. I'm beautiful in my own ways and I don't need anyone's compliments. I don't use any fairness creams or lotions. But get lots of advice to use them. I would like to narrate two incidents that happened to me.
A fellow Quoran who had been following me on quora for 2 months texted me and said that he likes me. You may think what's the purpose of mentioning it here. But what he said next irritated me.
“No one loves dark skinned girls. You must be lucky to have me.”
It hurt me a lot. Being fair skinned is not beautiful. Beauty never lies in the skin, it lies in the heart. I wanted to tell him. But couldn't.
And the worst part is he too is a dark skinned guy.
I hope you all know default shareit profile pictures very well. They recently introduced a dark skinned girl's face. I liked that pic a lot, so kept it as my profile picture on share it. One of my friends who is a fair skinned girl kept a pic of a fair skinned girl.
While we were about to share some videos she noticed that I kept a dark skinned girls pic as my profile picture. She asked me this:
We all know you are dark skinned, but why are you keeping a picture which looks like you as your pro pic. Look at mine. How beautiful is that pic.
Fair skin doesn't mean beauty. Dark is also beautiful.
Stop your lecture. We all know what you are going to say. If you are not fair skinned, at least keep a beautiful girl as pro pic.
I could not argue with her.
I don't know when they are going to change. In foreign countries people pay to get tanned and here we pay to make our skin fair.
Here is the girl who you call ugly dark skinned:
Please don't criticize us. I'm now strong enough to face you all ill minded people but not everyone is strong.
Yes, Dusky is Sexy!
I'm dark toned. Yet, I love my color more than anything. People have been always mocking at me in regard to my color. This was one of the reasons why my ex left me! I was always given roles of demons or tribes in my school plays. I've been the least favorite grandchild. I did feel bad but, I also have people who said, 'You are dark yet charming.’ If mocking could disappoint me, then appreciation could also boost me up. I chose the second. This is me:
Being dark is a blessing.
You are protected from sunburns, especially in tropical countries like India.
You are less prone to skin diseases. Thanks to the melanin.
You are naturally tanned, rather the sun loves you so much that he kissed you way more than what he did to others!
You are always photo ready.
No major acne problems.
Wrinkles and folds are camouflaged.
Jewellery shines brighter on you. Most of the times, diamond jewelry is advertised on black mannequins.
You catch everyone's attention(be it in anyway, you stand out in the crowd).
You don't have to spend loads on your make up.
You shine and sparkle when you sweat.
To also get into notice, the filmfare award is otherwise called as 'The Black Lady'.
Neha Gore, Content Writer
I can answer this one and I think I must.
Being a dark skinned person is absolutely normal for the people who are so called blessed with a white skin tone. It is just a problem for the person who is dark.
I am a dark skinned girl and since childhood I have faced many situations which makes me feel I am a mistake because of my skin color.
People will make fun of you and find it humorous.
Beauty is a definition only for fair skinned people, rest all are mistakes.
You will always be the last choice of your opposite gender.
My name is Neha Gore and that goes very ironic with my skin tone. So if any stranger asks me what my name is, I have noticed a sarcastic smile on more that 60% of the faces after they hear my name.
You get used to various comments like,
Are you visible at night?
You would always get lost if there is a power cut at night, how do people find you?
You must be from any African tribe and have come over here accidentally?
Did your Mom forget you in Sunlight when you were small?
Don’t you even think of swimming, because you wont tan, you would become coal ultimately.
Why do you apply makeup? You just look like a ghost trying to look white.
These are some comments that I am used to. Many others must be experiencing some more interesting comments..
Anybody hardly realizes that behind the giggles and laughter, the person being made fun of would be feeling bad about it.
This thing has become so common in the country that it hardly matters to be discussed by anyone. But there are many who do not pay attention to all the stuff which is the correct way to handle it.
If anytime, anyone tries to protest and ask others not to do so then a very casual reply shuts the topic down. ”Dude we are just kidding. Why do you need to get so serious about such a silly topic?”
I do not think color shaming is a silly topic for the ones who face it on a regular basis.
But once, my body color helped me a lot.
Scene- Two guys were following me when I was going back to my home. As soon as they came by my side with their vehicle, they looked at me. One of them said to the other, “No dude. Lets go. She is too dark for us.” and before I could say anything, they left. So even eve teasers are color specific all the time I guess.
At the end all that matters is accepting yourself for the way you are and being proud of it. I am very sure and happy for the fact that most of us do not get disheartened by the bullying of others and continue to lead a normal life. Many others have understood that color shaming is not cool and have stopped making fun of others. I hope this thing continues till the end.
For the ones reading this answer, this is me and I love my skin color. I don’t think I would have looked better than this ever.
Yes, we are dark and we are proud of it.
In this country, I just wish a day comes when people like us are also counted as human beings and not just as a medium of cracking jokes.
Edit 1: It feels great to get such an amazing response from everyone. Difference can surely be made if everyone thinks like you guys.
Thanks for the upvotes and comments. For a few people who insisted me to upload a few more images.. Here it goes….
Edit 2: Many people in the comment section told me ‘I am not that dark, so I am not the best person to answer this question’. I wonder if a person like me has to face unpleasant situations in spite of being ‘That dark’ then conditions would be miserable at times for the people who are ‘Actually dark’.
I am dark skinned so here I will share the incidents that I have experienced.
In my school, I had participated in a group dance competition. I was doing well in it but I was rejected from the group by my dance teacher. I couldn't participate. And it was all because of my dark skin. He did this only because he wanted all the members to be good looking enough for stage performance. I didn't feel good.
My maasi(my mother's elder sister) always tells me to apply some fairness creams or lotions, ayurvedic creams blah blah blah blah... so as to lighten my skin colour. She often told me these exact words -’why are you turning so dark day by day. Your parents have enough money. At least buy some fairness products and apply them!’ Seriously I felt very bad.
While choosing clothes for me I have to think about it hundred times. Which colour, what type of design etc etc. Will it be so bright or so light for my skin? What will others think about it?
I started hating myself . I didn't want to see myself in mirror because I was influenced by the way.
Even now there are some people, who don't like me, they are avoiding me and that too only because of my dark skin.
Now, I have learnt that the skin colour may be the first priority to someone but I just don't care!! I have to live my own life and nobody else will play my part. So why should I change myself according to their wish?
I want to love myself the way I am! I want me to be my first true love.
Thank you !
Nivin Krishna S, Section Engineer at Kochi Metro Rail Limited (2017-present)
Questionnaire for all my Indian friends,
Your really pretty college friend got married and her facebook feed shows something like this, what is your first thought?
Standing in a crowded bus, you really need to sit down. Seat next to you has two boys sitting, white skinned and dark skinned, to whome would you ask for a seat?
School anniversary, teacher told you to pick a dance partner from two girls, you don't know both of them. Would you pick the dark girl or white girl?
Hungry in a strange place with strange people and unknown language. You have a weak stomach. Two similar tea shops run by a white guy and dark guy, which one will you try?
Watching movie, hero/heroine is making fun of someone for being dark in a racist way and everyone around you is roaring with laughter
Are you shocked, angry or laughing?
First day in new school, you enter the class and two seats are vacant. Would you sit with white boy or dark boy?
In a crowded bus, felt somebody trying to pick pocket you, turns back and there are two guys in back seat, one dark and one white, who is your first choice as the culprit?
Think about your answers, and tell me with a straight face that skin colour doesn't matter, only your ability and skills does.
Now imagine a four year old girl, full of energy and innocent enthusiastic charm. She has got a killer smile that will melt your heart. Her cute little stories and out-of-nowhere dances can make you laugh all day.
Like a free bird flexing it's wings to explore the wonders and adventures life can offer.
She is dark.
Let's see how she grows up
Her cousins, friends and schoolmates starts teasing her calling 'karumbi' or 'kaaloo'. She can't understand why, but when she does, she can't stop it. Because it is considered normal to tease dark girls.
Her text books have pictures like this.
She overhears parents worrying about her skin colour, she couldn't understand words like marriage and dowry. when she is reluctant to drink the ‘special milk', they tell her that it will make her beautiful.
She no longer smiles like she used to be, but still got some of her old charm. Doesn't initiate a talk with others, but is funny once she does.
From TV ads, bill boards, news papers, from every street and corner her favourite movie actor and cricket player is telling her to bleach her skin, or stay ugly.
She tries fair and lovely cream, herbal creams, ayur Baba's home made creams, With no effect or lots of side effects.
Doesn't like to shop, has an i-dont-belong-here feeling in shopping malls and fashion stores.
She no longer looks in the mirror
She no longer pose for selfies, if she has to do a group photo, she never choose the center spot, Always the corners behind someone else's shadow.
Doesn't face or talk to boys.
Hates her body, most of the time keeps to herself
Afraid of stages or facing a group of people.
Her collegemates and teachers remember her as a quite, obedient, regular girl, who doesn’t smile that often. She is never part of their interesting stories.
Poor performance in job interviews, has this constant feeling of being underqualified.
Idea of relationships or marriage gives her frights, because all she see in matrimonials are fair girl ads like these.
She/he is that dark looking, soft spoken friend of you. Next time you see them, remember, there is a soul inside her/him, a soul who was denied a fair chance of healthy growing-up, a soul who had been molested, beaten up and tortured to the core by our toxic social standards.