We all must agree that India to a large extent has a preference for lighter skin. Products claiming to lighten skin splash the billboards and play on TVs. Potential brides and grooms are advertised majorly as ‘fair’ and children are told not to play out in the sun too long in fear of getting dark. Some of my own Indian friends are terrified of the sun and its ‘tanning’ effect. Now I go could on about this but it’d be a whole other issue I rather speak about next time.
The reason I brought this up is because I think that this preference towards a certain skin colour is the cause of the unfounded negative attitudes that some (if not most) Indians have towards Africans.
On 27 March 2017, four innocent African bystanders were assaulted in daylight by a mob of “peaceful” protesters in Greater Noida. This mob was protesting against Africans.
An Indian 12-grader had gone missing in the area, and the fingers were pointed at the Nigerians in the neighbourhood. People BARGED into their house without so much of a care for their privacy to search for the boy. Upon finding nothing, these ignorant people accused the African men of cannibalism. Yes, people, in THIS day and age!
The boy was found seemingly overdosed on drugs and he later passed away in the hospital. The parents still filed an FIR against these men, because the boy claimed to have been kidnapped by a “dark-skinned man”, and also because Indians cannot be dark-skinned, only Africans can be. They believed that these men were responsible behind the boy’s drug overdose. Claims were apparently made that the boy used to spend time with these men as well.
However, the accused had to be released because there were no evidence that it was any of their doing. There was NO link between the victim and these Nigerian men, except maybe that both of them lived in a racist neighbourhood.
People took to the streets demanding justice (wish justice could really dealt) and turned violent upon seeing four African men who were innocent. The Africans in India are also protesting against racism by the Indians towards them.
That’s what happened.
Let us say that these men were the true perpetrators behind this alleged murder. Why is it that this incident took a racist undertone and generalise the behaviour towards the WHOLE continent of Africa? Why is it that a bunch of Nigerian men, based on this assumption, were held representative of a continent with 53 other countries? Why is it that all Africans must be responsible for the act of some men? This is my issue with many things in this world. Why must I, an individual who is fit to make my own decisions, account for my countrymen, my race and my gender?
But more likely than that, these men were the true victims of a racial attack, and this incident (one of the many) has just been an open window to the mindsets of some (again, if not most) Indians. This is, unfortunately, not the first act of prejudice and discrimination towards Africans in the country. Many African people have been assaulted in India – last year, there was the infamous case of the Tanzanian woman who was assaulted and STRIPPED (because they have to sexually oppress women, yes). She was forced to take the fall when a Sudanese man earlier that day had been involved in a fatal road accident. Then in 2014, three African men were mobbed in a metro station for allegedly harassing local women, the same year in which Delhi’s former law minister allegedly led a mob to illegally detain a group of African women who were accused of prostitution.
Why must we be so stuck upon the colours of our skins? Why must the colour of our skin dictate our behaviour and who we are as a person? When did a certain ethnic group become lesser because they were darker? When did a whole continent become lesser just because of their skin? My fair skin does not make me less capable of a crime next to a dark skin.
Curiosity is one thing, when you see a foreigner so unlike you (although the issue of boundaries must also be discussed). But it is another thing to assume his or her whole personality and make him or her a representative of a whole country/continent.
Yes, yes, fair skin is beautiful. But dark skin is no lesser. Beauty comes from within; beauty is who you are. A group must not be based on one’s actions.
Sources: Google, Hindustan Times, Times of India, and others