From regular users to film stars and sport prodigies, people across India have shown solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Be it posting black squares on their Insta feed, or sharing appropriate hashtags and creatives that mourn George Floyd. However, perhaps we owe ourselves a bit of soul searching and reflect on how discriminatory our own behaviour has been, even before this hashtag was born. Racism, colourism is ingrained in our very culture. Be it schools, workplaces, or any other area, we have so many examples of how we look down on people and mock them with racist slurs.

Recently, West Indies cricketer, Darren Sammy posted a video talking about how SunRisers Hyderabad players used to call him ‘kalu’, seeking their apology but was told it came from ‘a place of love.’ Actor Swara Bhasker took to Twitter to tell Sammy that calling someone “kalu” can never come from a place of love. “Dear Darren Sammy if someone used the N word at a black person & said they “operated from a place of love” what would u say? Same with word ‘Kaalu’ & it’s variations. And team members of @SunRisers. Show some decency & spine #SaySorryToDaren officially!”

Have we forgotten how often, and casually we judge and ridicule people on the basis of their colour? I remember how during middle school years, my classmates used to deride this guy with a dark complexion and call him ‘kaala kaluta, baingan loota’, and this is even now a very common phrase. Now that I’ve grown up and I’m unlearning these tendencies, I realise how wrong it was and feel guilty for not standing up for him.

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We have heard stories of people being rejected for jobs just because of how they look. Girls being rejected for marriage because they were not fair. Little children making fun of each others’ skin colour on playgrounds and in classrooms. There are many mothers out there running after their daughters with besan face masks just so that they can have a fairer skin.

Our advertising too is a reflection of our society and vice versa. There is so much dysphoria around the shade of your skin that the television ads show already fair girls applying the creams that can make them jump on the skin shade card. Even the men have entered the fairness race without us taking notice and now wish to be nothing but “fair and handsome”.

While we raise concerns on black lives, we must take a moment to address our own prejudices. In our own backyard.

Also Read: When Will We Rid Ourselves Of The Fairness Fixation?

Before raising concern for the black lives of the US, we need to address our own prejudices. Feeling sorry for ostracised communities is important but at the same time, it is equally important (if not more) to stand up against biases that have been normalised in our own country. Black lives matter, but within our country too.

Saavriti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own. 

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