Why everything white is considered good and beautiful? Why everything black is considered bad and ugly?
I recently watched a video of young Muhammed Ali’s interview on “Why everything is white?” Muhammed Ali, as a child was curious about why everything and everybody are White starting from Jesus to angels, Miss World to Snow White, Men in last Supper to Angel Cake, Santa Claus to Tarzan. The same question hit me too “why everything white is considered good and everything black is bad? Why every modern representation of Gods and messengers of god are white? Is this happening in some particular societies or in entire world?”
Before we talk about different modern culture’s affiliation towards Whiteness ,let us look at historical categorization of human race according to Gottingen school of history .They classify human race into 5 major groups depending on their colour;” Aethiopian or black” ,”Caucasian or White”, ”Mongolian or Yellow”, ”American or Red” and “Malayan or Brown”. We can assume that , Africa predominately as black, Europe as white, America as Red ,Middle Asia as yellow, South Asia as brown .It may have been so in 18th or 19th century but in the modern present day, every region of the world has a mixed population of different colors living together.
Let’s take for example of India where people are predominately brown or dark skinned people but people at large are attracted to whiteness. The portrayal of gods and goddesses of each regions of world replicate the human attributes like facial features, body anatomy, skin colour, language, culture and so many other. It may be a dispute who derived what from whom or who gave it to whom. With that knowledge, Gods and Goddesses of brown people should be brown or the vice versa right? Then why modern portraits of Gods get whitewashed and given attribute which is not part of not region or culture. Jesus is whitewashed a century or two ago .Now the gods of India (Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna, Lord Karthikeyan, etc…) are too whitewashed systematically.
Leaving gods to rest, let’s look at the modern standard of beauty in India. The standards of beauty are never fixed and it keep on changing for every century or to say every decades. The present Indian society’s standards of beauty are: White/Fair Skin, Zero facial/body hair, Straight polished shiny hair, six packs(for men),lean body(for women),Spotless face and whatever more bullshit attributes. A population with mostly of men and women, who are brown or dark skinned, are brought up against these fixed standards and accepted as social norms. This is one of many ideas made as social criteria for individual also not by that society or individuals but by some cosmetic and advertising companies. They use the individual’s sense of insecurity to earn their monies by setting an unattainable standard.
To be more specific, Fair & Lovely ,a skin lightening cosmetic product of Hindustan Unilever introduced in 1975 ,has much more impact on people’s conscious of beauty in India than any other products. These cosmetic products are advancements of human wants to stay young and beautiful. And these companies have done a tremendous job of fulfilling those wants not only to upper strata of society but to the masses at an affordable price. The only thing that is nagging us is the strategies used by Advertising companies to upstate or overstates the product’s reach and understates human values. Everybody in India would have seen the ads of Fair&Lovely and Fair&handsome portraying transformation of dark skinned model to much fairer/whiter colour. The campaign strategy is that “if your dark skin, you won’t get job, girlfriend or even get married”. These strategy may be okay for paid brand ambassadors like Yami Gautam (Fair&Lovely) and the Bollywood superstar ShahRukh Khan(Fair&Handsome) but to the millions of people of India, it is racism.
To undermine the human value by showing the colour upfront is Racism. We, as individual and as a society should contempt this and boycott such products. But are we doing so? The harsh truth is No. We don’t ,we become accomplices to those racist mentality which is so ingrained in us and the society at large. It is painful to see mothers hate their daughters for being dark skinned because the girls are not fulfilling the standards set by Advertising companies. The love for oneself and self-confidence of millions of young people are destroyed because of so called superior white-is-better mentality. Until we as individual and society fight against this injustice and unfairness ,we are racist too. We should impart better values in us and also teach our younger generations to love their God-given gift, human body .We should help us and them from succumbing to such individual and societal traps. A child will choose much colorful dolls than dark/black dolls but as adult we should not choose humans based on their colors.