Rinzin: Research Blog 8

India and Colorism: The Finer Nuances by Neha Mishra

In trying to understand how the Indians were treated during the time when India was under Britain colony and how that affected modern-day India was both interesting and gross. During Britain rule over India (1848-194), there was a lot of colorism, biased and white superiority. The feeling of superiority can be explained by the idea of them vs us by the Oxidant and how they viewed Orients as unusual, and exotic explained by Edward Said in “Orientalism”. Neha explains in India and Colorism: The Finer Nuances that in some cases, Indians were not allowed entry in restaurants and certain institutions. They would be signs that states ‘No dogs and Indians allowed’. Having been lived in India, I never knew the treatment Indians received because no one talks about it. I am not sure if the topic of colonialism in India and the racism is prohibited but there was no discourse on this while growing up. This treatment is similar to how the black folks were treated during the time of ‘separate but equal’ in America. However, in this case, there is no mentioning of equal whatsoever. The power relation between the British and Indian affected greatly on what is modern-day India today. A nation obsessed with being white and having western feature. In India, being dark/black skin means less chance of luck in the choice of marriage pool; there is less desire for dark skin partner.

The other thing that British used to feed white superiority was that during their time ruling India, they would advertise traditional Indian jewelry and saree but often times with white foreign women and male. Bollywood was filled with white skin hero and heroines and celebrities who advertise whitening cream. To my knowledge, Bollywood is one of the biggest film industry especially in India, people take Bollywood very seriously for a way to escape to a fantasy world. To having movies with a character you look up to, having them with light skin and saying use this brand definitely plays a huge role in fetishizing whiteness.




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