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Colour Part 13 - Apartheid

Updated on October 27, 2011

Unfair Colours

When God made people, He (or She, dear feminist readers) started in the morning and finished by night. He (or She) made red people early in the morning’s imperfect red light. In the harsh light of day, He (forget it!) made white people; in the darkness of night He made black people. Only in the cool light of the pleasant evening, He made brown people and was proud of His creation. That was the story my English Miss told my class when I was 12. She was a brown Indian.

The Reds, or to be politically correct, Native Americans, have a different myth. In that, God baked clay to make people and while the whites were half-baked, the blacks were burnt. God is happy with the red man, who was correctly cooked.

Which goes to show that each race is proud of its colour, which is how it should be. Only when we think that we are superior, the trouble starts. I read a sci-fi story in which aliens visit us, and we learn that in the universe, black is the most respected colour of skin. That upsets the world’s existing perception of skin colour.

“God is not merely interested in the freedom of brown men, yellow men, red men and black men.He is interested in the freedom of the whole human race.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

About 3 years ago, I met a British couple at a seaside bar in Pondicherry, India. I had to explain to them that when I visit my grandma in my native village after ages, and she exclaims, “How thin and dark you have become,” she isn’t appreciating my good looks. In India, where most of our people didn’t have enough to eat, a paunch was a symbol of prosperity. And the rich who don’t have to toil in the sun are fair while the poor who have to, are dark. My grandma wouldn’t understand why the whites have to sunbathe and show off their tan to their less fortunate friends. Actually, this tanning business is quite recent. Those days, in the days of Jane Austen and before, classy females kept their skin fair even in Europe.

What Westerners find really funny is how Indian girls use creams to become fair. There are many brands available in India even in this progressive age. And pregnant mothers mix saffron flowers with the milk they drink to have fair babies. Tamil girls apply turmeric paste on their skin to become and appear fairer. Funny, but sad. Where will all the dark beauties go? Abroad maybe. Or slap loads of ugly makeup on their faces. One dark beauty I know, then in her early teens, was okay with her colour but used to complain about her curly hair which was actually looking great. She wanted it straight.

In Goa, when I walked along Calangote Beach with a friend early one morning, I noticed a lot of Indians on the beach. No white people. Then the sun and a lot of foreigners came out. Indians vanished to the cool shades to drink beer. In the evening, the film ran in reverse: sun went down, whites went in and browns came out.

Maybe it’s demand and supply. We have a lot of sun, they don’t. An English lady, visiting India for the first time, told me that what she liked best about India was the sight of sexy, dark and skinny men and the always-there sun. I, the president of the Spoilsport Club of India, told her that their sexiness was due to inadequate food and infinite work under the eternal sun.

My friend, her husband, who is a great photographer, once had an exhibition against apartheid. He had taken b&w pictures of black people and white people and then handcoloured his prints. He coloured the black people white and the white people black. Pictures worth a million words!

I also remember a poster he designed: One vertical half of the poster was black, the other was white. And two words across the poster: APART HIDE, copy furnished by the copywriter, another friend.

He says grey is a neutral colour; it’s neither black nor white and no trouble.

And the point I am making is, natural skin is beautiful in all its colours and don’t tamper with it or use it to cause trouble.

Nature loves all colours, and all we have to do is remain natural.

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    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      I love that 'distinguished' bit, and have to live with the 'old' bit. Thank you, Ram for coming back!

    • profile image

      Ram 

      10 years ago

      Yes, indeed. Nice blog, I must say. Who's that distinguished old man in the picture?

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Thank you, Ram, for the visit; much appreciated. And for the value addition. That's by an unknown African girl, isn't it?

    • profile image

      Ram 

      10 years ago

      COLOREDWhen I born, I Black,When I grow up, I Black,When I go in Sun, I Black,When I scared, I Black,When I sick, I Black,And when I die, I still black..And you White fella,When you born, you Pink,When you grow up, you White,When you go in Sun, you Red,When you cold, you Blue,When you scared, you Yellow,When you sick, you Green,And when you die, you Gray..And you calling me Colored ??

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      lol, I think I saved you, if you needed saving!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      But I guess you saved me ...???? thanks g-Ma :O) (I won't forget it)

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      oh dear what and how can i be a spammer here...you mean too many comments on one hub return>> I am scared now...G-Ma :O(

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      One's there, G-Ma, I can see it. I denied the others as I didn't want you to be considered a spammer!

      Oops, I approved the blank one! Ok, righted it!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      but it's gone..or did it come through...I hit it too many times and sent it 3..now i look and there is nothing>>>G-Ma:O)

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      :O) (Now I'm speechless, G-Ma)

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      You are Welcome my friend..anytime,,ever,,,,G-Ma :O)

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      You will be a stranger if you are speechless, G-Ma! You are as speechless as me, but your words are packed with so much peace and light!

      I feel the love shared in these hubs, and am truly humbled by it! Thanks for visiting and sharing.

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      10 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Yet another great Hub...oh dear me..am speachless..pretty strange for me?  But 'to remain natural' is the best thing I've heard in a while. It some times takes us a while to be our natural selfs..sometimes many years of learning..experiencing the ups and downs we all go through...for good reasons...anyway Thanks again Kenny you are loved here...by many G-Ma :O)

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      I love the concept, too, but I wish so much importance is not given to skin color.

      Thanks for the appreciation, Compu-smart!

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      Brilliant, serious and humorous article Kenny.

      I also love the idea about colors being made at different times of day!

      Great job:)

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      That was in reply to my comment or to the hub or both? Very clever reply!

    • SunSeven profile image

      SunSeven 

      10 years ago from Singapore / India

      Hide No Hide!

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Ah, SunSeven, where had you been? Missed you.

      Thanks for the kind comment.

    • SunSeven profile image

      SunSeven 

      10 years ago from Singapore / India

      Brilliant!

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Thanks, Isabella!

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 

      10 years ago

      Interesting folklore - I love the half-baked part! ;)

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      Oh, Zsuzsy, thanks! That's a good 'but,' so it's okay!

      Me a mentor? Thought I was just a nice guy; totally apolitical.

      I'm overwhelmed by your appreciation!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Kenny!

      Hat off! That was absolutely great. Well said!!!!!

      This is why I really love the 'HUBBER scene' there is so much good stuff showing up. BUT (there is that little annoying word again) But the good stuff that's written here comes from good people who with perseverance will eventually rule the universe... Kenny it seems to me you are a 'good Mensch'

      awesome HUB

      regards Zsuzsy

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