Last month, Nina Davuluri an American of Indian origin was crowned Miss America and instead of basking in the joy of her glory, she was busy being bombarded by bias and bigotry moments after the announcement. Mindless racist stereotyping had spread all over the social media after the event calling her a terrorist and an agent of Al-Qaeda. She was dubbed as a foreigner and mocked for her “different” skin color.
Even after electing their first president of African-American origin the United States of America has failed to eliminate prejudice, intolerance and hatred. Being a hub of diversity due to immigrants coming from all corners of the world, acceptance has still failed to seep through.
No matter how much we talk of equality and the fact that we have eradicated racism for good, the sad truth is that discrimination on the basis of color of skin is still rampant everywhere. And by everywhere I am not just referring to the western world of fair-skinned Europeans discriminating against people of Indian and African origin; but of discrimination within our own country.
We are no less when it comes to come stop discriminating against darker skin tones. The giant market of fairness products and whitening creams is evidence to this fact. Take for example the high rates of sexual attacks on “fair skinned” European tourists. Or the sheer number of articles in the newspaper about the ill treatment of African foreign exchange students in our country! When it comes to making a hue and cry about discrimination against Indians we happily lead the crowd (such as in this case); calling other countries racist. But what we must truly realize is that we too are an equally racist country (if not more!).
What is the cause of this blatant discrimination? Now, that’s a simple answer: Ignorance. Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. We as a people have blinkers to limit our view of the world. Our minds are riddled with racism that needs to be removed for good. Racism isn’t born, it is taught. It is a learned behavior towards persons with different physical characteristics and it seeks out to divide and destroy. It starts right in childhood when children are praised for their milky white skin or their light eyes.
And as I ruminate over all these thoughts, I am left wondering: if only we were color blind; wouldn’t the world be a much simpler place to live in? But the very next moment I am reminded that we would probably find a new reason to discriminate against each other: by the size of our nose or maybe even the shape of our ears?!