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About races and racism

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By: Misba Mushtaq

‘It is in your hands to make a better world for all who live in it’- said Nelson Mandela who respected the differences, fought against the differences and made a difference!

We live in a rainbow world having different colours and each colour has its importance and its charm. A single color, howsoever warm and pretty it might look, cannot make a rainbow effect and can in no way be called a rainbow. Similarly, our peaceful earth doesn’t only need different colours in flowers to look beautiful but in its people and cultures as well.

Nelson Mandela is a famous personality who is known for his contribution in fighting against colourism which is a type of discrimination in which certain ethnic groups with dark skin colour were subjugated and treated unjustlydue to their skin colour.

During the colonial period in Africa, blacks and coloured people were treated as if they were lesser mortals and were even compared to Dogs and animals- it was harsh on them and no matter what a person was capable of doing, if he/she belonged to a particular colour, it was judged differently! There were posters which said that read ‘Blacks and coloured are not allowed’.

The reason for this discrimination was the ideology of the influential and ruling class people. They had created an impression that ‘Blacks were inferior and white’s superior’ and no matter how unethical, unjust and criminal it was, this was a trend that continued for several centuries.

Every human being, no matter how rich or poor; how tall or short, how skinny or fat, how literate or illiterate, how dark or fair, has the right to equal opportunities, respect, status and to live his/her life to its fullest without any hindrance. It was promoted as a thought that the fairer skin you have, the more deserving and beautiful you are and the darker skin you have, the more filthy and unworthy you are!

Anti-Apartheid movement opposed the African apartheid system and supported the black population who were oppressed by the whites, the rulers in most of the cases. Nelson Mandela fought tooth and nail against apartheid in the 1950s and here we are in the 21st century with the same issues though less in their intensity. How shameful it is that we are being cowards when it comes to raising a voice for ourselves and black lives in this modern, technology driven world.

Apart from South Africa, our country, India, is full of diversity where people from different religions, colours, castes, cultures and traditions live.Britishers ruled India for over 90 years and they were fair-skinned which left behind the ideology of racial racism in the minds of people here. So much was the dominance of the colonisers that people soon began thinking in their paradigm and developed inferiority complex which still exists. People began to prefer fair skin, their mindsets changed and as a result, they began to hate and reject their natural and biological colour.

Today, we can see how far we’ve come. We’ve forgotten our own identity and the centuries old wisdom that saw differences as beauty and great variety!

So, let us end it now and make this planet a beautiful and peaceful one by appreciating the differences and promoting equality amongst ourselves.

The writer is a 10th standard student at Public Higher Secondary Ganderbal.

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