Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Racism - The Ignorant India #ATOZCHALLENGE #1000SPEAK

It should not come as a surprise, if you ask an Indian, which race he belongs to, and he doesn't know. He will tell you his caste instead. Or better still, their statehood (Delhite, Bihari, Kashmiri). Some of the respondents may feel offended, and they will gawk back at you - after all you are asking him/her about the skin color. Yes, in India, the most common interpretation of the word "race" is as skin color. 

Race is a biological differentiation of human being on the basis of their appearance. In more scientific words, it is the classification of populations into groups based on phenotypical traits. These variations have been observed based on geographical ancestry. Factually, there are three main races in India - Aryans, Dravidians and Mongoloids. There are various theories of their origins, and possible genetic variations. Different ethnographers have a different classification - some list down seven coexisting races in India. Because "race" is a biological phenomenon, it undergoes transitions after race mixing (inter racial reproduction). Therefore, no clear demarcation exists. 

In the modern world, race has become a basis of severe discrimination. Therefore, "race" is being replaced by "ethnicity", though merely changing the nomenclature will not change the mindsets. Coming back to the modern day India, discrimination on the basis of physical appearance is fairly common, and quite pronounced. Few of the most common basis of bias include skin color - fair skin versus dark skin bigotry is quite prominent. For centuries, Indian women have been imbibed with the fact that white skin is directly proportional to beauty, and hence to love. This has spread to men as well. India is one of the largest growing market of skin lightening creams - men and women both. 

Please note the change in facial expression as the skin color lightens

Among other common discernment based on physical appearance are size of the eyes (people with smaller eyes are ridiculed, naming them "chinky"), height, weight, hair color, etcetra. Noticeable is that many of these traits overlap with the variations in the races, even though the common Indian man doesn't identify his own race. 

This post is written as the eighteenth in the series of AtoZ challenge and a part of #1000speak
My theme is "Compassion" and today's thought is based on