Still talking about race eh?!

The question of race, as sensitive as it might be, it must be dealt with. Different societies have taken up different approaches. In Sweden for instance, I was surprised at the huge importance given to the notion of racial discrimination and the protection from discrimination. Personally, there have been no incidents based on racial discrimination at all. Or nothing tangible that has affected me. But as a Swedish friend pointed out, my joy ride of not having been seriously discriminated based on my racial identity could be due to the academic diaspora I primarily interact with, and supposedly also due to my skill of acclimatising with new people. The same might not be the case for the people from those unfortunate and battered countries, who are now trying to rebuild their lives here in Sweden.

Growing up in India, one is accustomed to a perpetual propaganda about skin fairness. While I was a kid, there were very many attempts to make me feel inferior due to my dark complexion. These personal incidents apart, other routine tantrums ranging from ads for products that can make the skin paler, to the outright equating of skin fairness to success in life, and in extreme scenarios equating darker skin colour akin to the demons in us; I have grown up in a society that is bluntly racist. And we are not even conscious of this racism. This is why I am taken aback, when some of my fellow Indians who practice extreme racism back at home, rile up in rage even for the slightest hint of the distinction made based on their racial identity.

While, white supremacy is a heated topic of debate and a certain force at play, one must not forget that any paler shade of brown also has a supremacy over the darker ones. For proof, watch the ads for skin fairness products in India.

Localising the talk to Sweden: While there is incredible consciousness in the population and the system to subdue racial discrimination, there is but one major lacuna in their story of racial reconciliation. In my two years of travel in Sweden, I have seen thousands of couples. But, I might have barely spotted a fraction of those couples who are inter-racial. This when raised to a Swedish friend, he frankly accepted that he does not find women of other skin colour attractive. Of course, I would like to think that I am mistaken in my observation, and that it is only him and maybe a small minority who would reason this way. Nonetheless, the problem of integration still remains in this part of the world.

Racial discrimination, both consciously and collectively as a culture, is as an embarrassment to all humanity. That we are still faced with this obstinate menace, in this time and age, is all the more depressing.

About Raghav/Raghu

A fortunate mass of hydrogen cloud conscious enough to be contemplating that very fact.
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