Not a color!

Ramona Crasto

The color of our skin is an expression of our genes we have inherited but mostly affected by various environmental factors – UV, pollution and pigmentation. But why do we define the very basis of our social status based on skin color? As a kid, we were warned not to stay out in the sun too long just because we might get too “tanned” and lose our natural color but on the other hand, people spend thousands over artificial tans and complexions.

Let’s address the elephant in the room; Racism is a prevalent social malice still existent in our society. Coming from an Indian family, I am unusually fair amongst my peers so I am perceived to be a step ahead of others in terms of jobs, proposals and other walks of life. I fail to understand why the false perception! Beauty, intelligence, reasoning, physical prowess or any inherent human quality for that matter is not defined by how fair or dark a person is. It’s extremely inhumane and not justified to differentiate based on color.

Back in school, I had a friend who was dark skinned and was always teased for it and was nicknamed after his skin color. No one took it seriously, as it started off as a joke. That boy went home after school every day and applied fairness creams and prayed to lighten his skin tone. After a while, he just got used to it. In college, a girl with a very light skin tone was teased of having Leucoderma, she was so frustrated by the comments, she begged her mom to get her a spray tan.

It is not a joke! We are a race of unparalleled abilities only to be pushed back by trivial and unnecessary conflicts over skin tone. One of the most prevalent forms of racism exists on the job application front – we discriminate! Qualifications and personal as well as human skills are tossed out the window? Why should there be a conundrum in the first place when it comes to who is more qualified for the position? No one is infallible whether fair skinned or of a darker tone. We fail ourselves as an example to the younger minds of tomorrow.

The quality of my character, my merit, my talents and abilities are not determined by the color or shade of my skin. We live in a modern, fast-paced and quickly changing world. When will these old, tired and useless stereotypes die?

By Ramona Crasto
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