I know I’ve kinda sunken into a rut here. I’ve kinda let my blog sink into a pattern and stopped writing about whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it. I started this blog out wanting it to be an honest barometer of my thoughts, but I guess it’s my fault I’ve only talked about a few things without really going out of my way to express my opinions on the things that really matter.
I was talking to eva a few days ago, and the topic we were talking about made me realize that I haven’t shown the pessimistic, disillusioned, pensive side of me on my blog. Life isn’t all happy happy, and that is precisely the reason why I have so many outlets for my frustrations. K-drama, movie, music, writing; all these things serve as great distractions where I can be romantic to my heart’s content without letting reality wag it’s annoying finger at me.
Anyhoo, back to the point I was planning on writing about. I read this article a while ago which a friend shared on facebook. There are many social evils that pervade the culture I belong to, but this is the worst. Read the article, and come back. There are plenty of other posts hyperlinked to it, for further reading.
It’s true. People in South Asian countries are complete racists. Not to people of other races, but to their very own. I feel blessed that I grew up outside, mostly shielded from developing a similar mindset. I had kids from all over the world in my class, so I ended up in the middle of the color-spectrum, not that I EVER gave a thought to it. I remember the two most popular girls back in elementary school. One was Sudanese and one was Slovakian. I thought both were beautiful. We had a pool in our school and would swim instead of run when the weather would get too hot. The pool was outdoors, and in the blinding sunlight of Saudi Arabiat, we would all get pretty tan. Later, we would pull back the shoulders of our swim suits and compare tans, shrug, and not give a second thought to it. It was when I’d go to Pakistan in the following summer that I’d get my unwanted dose of culture shock. I remember arriving in the sweltering heat of pre-monsoon Karachi. All the relatives I knew and didn’t know would be waiting to welcome us at my grandparents’ house. I’d be surrounded by people I really didn’t remember from the summer before, but I’d always remember the comments they made as they saw me after a long time. “Oh, she’s gotten so dark!” “Yeah, what have you been upto? Do you play around in the sun a lot? You shouldn’t, you know.”
Me: uh…I swim. Plus I am kinda dark skinned.
I, being too small to put a finger on exactly why those particular comments bothered me, let it slide. During the months I’d stay there, I’s hear from the less articulate little ones that I’d gotten ‘kali’ (black) . I’d feel so bad! What could I do about it?
I remember wondering that being this color wasn’t a issue back home in Saudi, where the majority of people were light-skinned anyway, but it was in Pakistan, where most of the people weren’t that much fairer than me. I remember my fair skinned cousins and how everyone would fawn over them. I myself thought they looked better, and wanted to be like them. Till this day, I hear stories of how dark-skinned girls don’t get married off well, or in some cases, don’t get married at all. It’s embarrassing that this is an open secret, the mentality of an entire country. Watch Pakistani or Indian television and within five minutes of the commercial break you’ll see an ad for a fairness-inducing cream. You’ll see beautiful foreign-looking pale models with flawless skin selling you an inferiority complex. The worst, the worst advertisements are the ones for the fairness creams. THEY PISS ME OFF SO GODDAM MUCH!!!
They all go like this : Dark-skinned girl sits at home in shabby clothes. She is sad and feels shy around people. Her pretty friend suggests a ‘magic’ cream that will change her fate within what seem like seconds. Suddenly the plain girl comes out and is ten shades lighter with amazing hair, body and three inch heels. All the guys in the room ogle her. She tosses her hair and laughes. Some guy asks her to marry him, and puts a fat diamond on her finger. Close up of that magic cream.
DOES THIS NOT GIVE YOU GOOSEBUMPS?? DOES IT NOT??? I’ve had to work so hard on my tolerance to keep from screaming out and forcing the person with the remote to change the channel.
Anyways, that was then, this is now. I, thank God, have my head on straight. I’d come back home from Pak and readjust my values and self-esteem. I spent quite a while thinking about it when I’d get back and over time I became a completely balanced individual. I LOVE myself. I have darker skin-tone, but I have FLAWLESS skin. I’ve never gotten pimples. I have great, shiny naturally silky straight hair. I have naturally hairless arms and legs (this is a blessing in the ethnicity I belong to) but most of all, I have a warm smile and expressive eyes. I repeat, I love me.
I still do face prejudices when I enter a Pakistani-majority gathering. Not anything extreme, for example I do spot cliques of better looking girls huddled together away form the less fortunate ones. But I make sure that at the end of the day, the way I act, the way I talk leaves a deep impression on the people and THAT makes them determine my worth. Not the color of my skin, not the trendiness of my clothes or how much money I have, just ME. Anyone who still has their heads up their asses doesn’t deserve the privilege that is my company. BOOYA!