My experience with racism in India and USA

This is w.r.t this post calling Americans racist.

I wanted to share with you my experiences on racism.
Let me introduce myself. I am Ms X , born and grew up in central cindia. I moved to the States when i was 20. I am 26 today. I was born dark skinned. This could be the story of any indian girl.

From the day i was born, my mom tried different oils, lotions to change my skin color. Everyone ridiculed my mom for giving birth to a dark girl. Everyone told her it would be difficult to find a groom for her as she is very dark. This would trouble my mom and she tried everything to change my skin color.

I was born intelligent. I topped most of the competitions at school. I was a good orator. When i was in my 4th grade, my teacher told me she could not give me the role of cinderalla for our school day function as i was dark and they wanted a fair skinned girl. They chose a fair cinderalla over me who could not even deliver her lines. I went home heartbroken. The next year i was chosen for a dance performance for a school show. One of the teachers asked me to not stand in the front row as i was dark and they wanted pretty girls in the front. I was asked to move back. Imagine what a 5th grader would have gone through. Anyways as i turned into a teenager, my confidence was at rock bottom. I was dark you see. That is like almost the end of the world you see. I tried all sorts of things only to realize nothing in this world can change your skin color. I kind of got used to people calling me dark.

At 20 i got admission at a very prestigious university in US for higher studies. I landed here. Out in US, not one single day was i told i was dark. Everyone around me were so appreciative of my other skills apart from my skin color. I met a very handsome guy whom i started dating. My confidence slowly built up thanks to this guy . I am soon going to marry him. In US I was never told a single day by anyone that i was dark. Infact a white girls came to me and once complimented me for my healthy skin. I am not making this up BTW.

The reason i wrote this was because i saw so many comments here saying Americans are racist. Hell no. We Indians are the most racist people in the world, we dont realize it. In US there are laws against racism. In India there is not one single law that will protect a dark skinned girl from being ridiculed. It is just accepted as being OK to say you are dark.

So people before you comment saying she is dark and ugly- think of what you will be doing to the 100s of girls in india who are dark skinned. You will be shattering their egos, bruising their self confidence and they will be scarred for life.

Today I work as a developer at google . I consider myself beautiful and am very confident. It took me years to realize that self-confidence comes from within.

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Anonymous's picture

All said n done..How is racism in India harmless? Forget beauty, dark girls in India are not considered marriageable, employable or even worthy of having good friends.. Because, dark skin seemingly ruin the 'beauty' of their family or workplace or friends circle. Honestly, is it so harmless when like 30% of Indian women are looked at like this? There is a color thing.. but it affects women more than men. I mean, I have seen a lot of fair girls with dark men.. But how often have you seen a fair guy and a dark woman? And when you do he's lauded as a sacrificial hero. (I'm sure you can tell that 'THAT friend has a dark skinned wife.. etc'.. but my question is HOW MANY??) So, its easy for u to say that this is not an issue.. cos you're probable either fair or a a guy or both..

Anonymous's picture

WEll I appreciate you for posting all good things about America., But dont talk ill of the country which gave you birth /education and brought you up and generalise as if all Indians are like that.Such epople exist every where in the world not only in India and you cannot generalise that .
..This is the problem of Most Indians staying abroad including you ....these people . want to utilise all the resources from India to go abroad be comparatively cheaper education and comparatively cheaper all other facilties like Bank loans etc .,

., but as soon as they go abroad they behave as if your forefathers have been there for generations and you know in and out of that country .Worst is that they start comparing a few unwanted aspects of their country of birth and try to say as if United states is heaven on earth.

sorry dear I have been there seen it and I know what really it is .It is only that you have all through your stay ..have been meeting people who have been kind to you in words and heaped praises ...but it does not mean that the whole nation is like that .

There is no denial that America provides equal oppurtunies for all but it is not as if all the people who live ther are free from negative feelings towards others like racism., discrimination etc.,

.Most Indians are generally harmless and innocent in the sense they tell you on face what they feel.They dont lavishly praise you on the face but go elsewhere and mock at you or hate you from inside ..

reg Racism in United states present day laws have been made stricter offering maximum protection for the people who come ther or have been living there and thus creating fear in the minds of common people of not to talk openly about skin color etc.,

But let us not forget that racism and exploitation existed for centuries there in worst form .When people say there is still racism they mean it., They dont say it without experiencing., It is not only you ....but they are also not making up stories .

You have tried to paint a whole rosy picture but sorry dear ., People in India are very much aware America is not a bed of roses ., Like every other country this country also has hell a lot of problems

While it is good that you praise the country you have migrated to Please shed this attitude of comparing each and every aspect with india.and trying to show India is bad...

Indians might have a few aspects not so good and Americans might have a few aspects not so good.,

Remember all that glitters is not gold

If you try to put your own home country in bad light comparing a few unwanted aspects it would only put you in bad light Please remember that .

Anonymous's picture

Sorry to burst your bubble honey, but everyone goes through ridicule. India has its colorist problems, but only America has the power to hurt other countries just for being different. Those "laws" that you say are there aren't there to protect you from teasing, they're there to make sure people don't get discriminated against in terms of access to housing, education, and employment. Unfortunately, they aren't doing such a great job of that because inequality still runs rampant. Just see how white Americans treat blacks and Latinos with such disdain. You only came to America in 2006; back in the 1980s and '90s when there were large influxes of Indians and other Asians, there was a lot of discrimination and violence against us. Since globalization has occurred and in a post-9/11 society, it's only gotten worse, as Indians are blamed for taking away jobs from whites, and being blamed for the WTC attacks by ignorant whites. I realize that this article was written a while ago, but I hope you read this and remove the blinders from your eyes. Maybe then you'll realize racism happens everywhere, and that white Americans have been exploiting non-whites for three centuries.

Anonymous's picture

Indians might be racist in some ways, but it's generally harmless. True racism is when people are lynched and physically attacked for their skin color, they're not allowed to move into apartment buildings, or they have their businesses vandalized, all of which has happened in America and Britain, and none of which happens in India on the basis of skin color. There is inter-caste violence, but I don't think this is a color thing, rather a social problem. Every family in India has big differences in skin color among them, including mine - and I'm the darker one.

Anonymous's picture

so true! me too neither white nor dark, but don't know whether wheatish. i just vary!

Anonymous's picture

the google snip that brought me to this post-

My experience with racism in India and USA | PINKVILLA
www pinkvilla com / beauty / skin... / my-experience-racism-india-and-usa‎
Jul 19, 2010 - I consider myself beautiful and am very confident. .... The girls just find it so funny to have a straight looking indian man be gay that they giggle ...

Ofcourse the comment!

Anonymous's picture

I am a male and yes dark sinned. I am one of the most highly qualified person and settled in a developed country for long. I got married to a fair girl 14 years back. However, the girls parents never could accept me as their son in law in their hearts because of my skin colour. Can you imagine? This can only happen in India.

Anonymous's picture

This is ridiculous.
In India one can easily find fare and dark skinned people in the same family.
My maternal grandmother was fair while my maternal grandfather was dark skinned. So half of my family on my mother's side is fair skinned while while half is a bit dark.
So can I say I love half of my family more than the other half. NO.

Just because a teacher or one of your relative has a mental block does it mean you should live with it.get over it please.
This is not racism.

Anonymous's picture

Boycott these Indian Movie & Sports Stars and Companies in India spreading Racism through Advertisements that spread discrimination based on skin color!

go to facebook...... search for: boycott stars, products and companies that spread racism in india.

Anonymous's picture

I too am an Indian girl with dark skin tone. I have been ridiculed by my colour constantly. The so called fair girls never ever hang out with me coz I am dark coloured. I don't have popularity in college as I am dark. These Indian guys only go for white skin girls even though if they are dark.
Black guys want white gals
white gals want white guys
what should dark girls do?????????

Anonymous's picture

Thank you for for writing this so that people like me could read this. Before reading this, I was being narrow-minded myself. I have always secretly thought and believed that fairer skinned people were much prettier than the average dark skinned person, though I don't treat them any differently. I tried to be open-minded as much as I could but couldn't help it. God help me with that.
But there is one thing I'd like to add: Racism is everywhere. In order to earn someone's respect, we should respect our-selves first. This blog made me question why I think the way I do. Please don't hold any grudges against anyone who treated you badly, you've succeeded so hopefully they would think twice and come down to their own senses.

Anonymous's picture

I disagree, there is racism in the USA just like there's racism in India. When I was in school in India, I faced little racism because of my dark skin, same as I faced in the USA, but in the USA it was little more out of ignorance, because people would say funny stuff about my tan or the way I smell. The US media was very careful about controlling images of dark-skinned Indians. But, the way they treat Afro-Americans is ffffffed up. Same with those ethnic Mexicans (Indegenas). That's no way to treat a human being.

Anonymous's picture

I am Indian and my situation is strangely weird. I have experienced both sides of the coin

I am a male and am born light skinned . Constantly as a kid my siblings were poked fun at for being dark and me being called cute , beautiful etc. for being a this light skinned chubby kid with floppy silky hair

As I grew older, I have become dark, and my siblings who took much care as kids of their skin, are not much darker than I am. Id say my sister has this shiny smooth glowing skin all the time and is constantly appreciated in every country we go visit except in india itself. the lighter skinned girls some of whom have average features think they look better than her.. she is an aspiring model and flight attendant currently. My brother does exceptionally well with the girls. Its easier for a guy with masculine features and great height and built to live with a slightly less fair complexion

Now im my case I am darker now, and everyone who sees me every few years later will look flabbergasted and say what a waste. we expected you to turn out so handsome and you look totally different.
The fact that I did not end up with exceptional good looks and gotten darker to add salt to the wound , has gotten it horribly bad for me

Indians of lighter skin will purposely say you look Bengali, tamil and every race that they deem darker
PLUS I AM GAY although straight looking which makes it worse in Europe . The girls just find it so funny to have a straight looking indian man be gay that they giggle and make fun of the fact that it is the case... Wow seriously , racism is EVERYWHERE

I think it hurts more when an outside race shows it towards you especially since darker races subsconsciously find whites superior because of their skin colour and the history they have shared with the so called superior white races

Anonymous's picture

OMG being born into a very conservative dravida-brahmin family I COMPLETELY RELATE TO YOU. These indians are obsessed with purging themselves of their MIXED heritage (we are not persian anymore!). The better educated the man, the more white his wife will be and vice versa. My father went to IIT and took a white-skinned tamil brahmin bride and she shamed me endlessly for being darker than her even though I excelled in school (and I'm not even that dark! not that that's even relevant). The standard for what they consider "fair" in India is ridiculous, whiter than white people. They are the most self-hating racist people ever. I am only glad I grew up in america so I had some relief from her derision and am able to see them for the shallow people they are. thank you for writing this, you sound like a beautiful person :)

Anonymous's picture

Beautifully written and so true....

Anonymous's picture

You go sister! I cannot agree more. Being a beautiful dark skinned Indian woman I can vouch for the fact that the most racist people I have encountered are Indians themselves.
Black is BEAUTIFUL. More importantly beauty radiates from within!

Anonymous's picture

I have lived in USA for last 15 years and this is what I have to say: "Racism is every where", no matter which country you go to, but one thing I agree with that in other societies, people fight within themselves, but they also help each other, but in India, we are like those crabs in an open box, where we pull each other to let us all down.

As far as dark skin and USA is concerned, then I am wheatish, and most of the Americans who are white are envious of my skin color and they all compliment me all the time.

BOTTOM LINE: We always want what we cannot have/dont have !!!

White people cry that they dont have a dark dkin and dark people cry that the are not white..........................THAT IS THE IRONY OF THIS WORLD!!!!

Anonymous's picture

Yup...more to do with the skin color or if there's nothing else, it's got to with religion or caste or region...some reason to hate really.

Anonymous's picture

Indians with extra white skin are also been discriminated against !.....googlo "INDIAN ALBINO"

Anonymous's picture

As a white woman growing up in the inner city, I can assure you there is plenty of racism against white people in the U.S. It is considered acceptable though. Let me tell you something , even if we were all the same color we would still find ways to differentiate and persecute- just look at Rwanda in 1994, black people with flat noses killing black people with pointy noses. So everyone needs to stop whining about race and learn how to love people. Case closed.

Anonymous's picture

Im glad your American experience was so positive. I guess coming from a place like India where it's ok to discriminate against skin color would make anyone think the US is heaven on that subject. But the reality is, color in the US is still one of the major problems we face. The only difference is you're being praised and accepted because you're indian rather than for your skin color. If you were african american woman and dark, you wouldn't get the same open arm reception. The hypocrisy is greater when it comes to race. In your country, most indians are the same race though there are subsets and divisions. The US is made up of a melting pot and there's more emphasis on division of culture and race than mere skin tone. A indian, an african american, a muslim and a mexican can all be the same skin tone yet be treated totally different. In the US, indians and asians tend to be accepted more than some other races even with dark skin. Muslims are seen as terror suspects and eyed with suspicion, while mexicans are automtically profiled as illegal immigrants and african americans are often relegated to lowest and undesirable status. Even when the subject is attractive, the still profiling remains. Despite being pleasing to the eye, the typical citizen refuses to ignore your racial background. So there is a caste system agenda here as well but just more hidden.

Anonymous's picture

Actually there are laws enacted against racisim in india....the society is like that, cuz of imperial influence of british who used to torture native indians like hell

Anonymous's picture

Indians are racist indeed.

Anonymous's picture

I just went through and read some of the comments... This whole post was about non discrimination. I'm proud to be a Hindustani, it doesn't matter if I'm light or dark.

Anonymous's picture

Such an interesting perspective, and I know what you're talking about happens in many different cultures. Here in the U.S., racism is still a serious problem -- while whites may not find it safe to say blatantly racist things anymore, the racism here is more insidious because it's hidden underneath the surface in terms of hiring practices, housing, and police surveillance. I say this as a white man who grew up with the privilege in the U.S. of never having to face racism myself.

That being said, I've lived in several different cultures for extended periods of time (years), and the racism you describe in India is present both here in the U.S. within ethnic communities and in many other countries. There's a long history of criticism by Black Americans with darker skin being looked down on and given worse treatment by Blacks with fairer skin. Similarly, one of my friends in Mexico, where I lived for six years, once said to me "We don't have racism here like you do in the United States." My answer to him was, "Really? Why don't you try telling that to one of the indigenas" (the natives who face institutional and individual discrimination pretty much everywhere in the country).

Interestingly enough, though, I came across your blog after typing "India and racism" in a search engine because I just returned from my first trip to Kolkata, India and was really disheartened by the amount of nonsense I had to put up with in virtually every social situation I found myself in as "foreigner" (what everybody called me) because of my white skin. Some might say that what I faced is different, that it's not because of my skin color, but because I'm looked at as a tourist, but I've now been reading through several articles and blogs from native Indians with lighter skin who describe being treated like second-class citizens in their own country. On top of that, I know exactly what we'd call it if a taxi driver in Los Angeles decided to charge four times the normal fare to someone who looked latino or a shopkeeper in New York said "Why don't you go back to where you come from?" to anyone walking in who looked Sikh. We'd call it racism.

So it's been interesting to read your perspective and the experiences of everyone in your comment section. Personally, I left India with very mixed feelings...on the one hand so beautiful and with some wonderful people, but on the other hand steeped in really entrenched and unapologetic racism and sexism.

Anonymous's picture

I love how your screen name is dark n lovely, yet you decided to post a picture of a white- asian looking woman for this post... a bit contradictory, no?

Anonymous's picture

You fool,

I can only say these words. Who said that India don't have any law protecting people. You anti-nationalist. How dare you hate your own nation! India may be the biggest racist nation in the world, but don't say we don't have any law regarding the protection of the people. I learnt Political Science about our constitution. It gives protection to everyone and prohibits all atrocities. But, our ignorance allows us to violate these laws. I want to change the future of 'my' nation. Bharat Mata Ki Jai!

Anonymous's picture

You are the only one who says that there are laws against racism in U.S.A.

Anonymous's picture

Ossam lady .. I appreciate .... Well,when I came here to u.s I was praising about my country India.. Used to tell all good things.. After being here I noticed many other usefull things.. In the name of tradition they just follow blind rituals for example as u mentioned about being racist. Yes I totally agree with you... Grow up India..

Anonymous's picture

Great post, although I'm really sad you had to experience it to begin with. Your strength to get through this is commendable and now I hope and pray that to make up for those long years of abuse, you will now forever be left at peace to be who you are, as you are.

I'm a woman of Indian origin but left at an early age to come to the US--and even then constantly surrounded by freshly off the boat Indians. I was never criticized for my skin, but it took my own share of experiences to realize that Indian people really are extremely hypocritical. It was only once I moved out to attend college did I feel like I can breathe easy. Indians--with their unreasonable ideals--can be so chaotic. Traditional Indians know nothing about living and let living. I feel like India is a great place to go to for a unique and historical experience, but when it comes to forward thinking, there's isn't really much of it. Indian people can't help but cling on to their eons-old Aryan roots, and desperately try to bring back the light skin and light eyes that maybe their ancestors once had. Also, they love to brag about Indians' success and contributions to the world (the invention of the numeric zero, chess, the USB and so on), but honestly those were other Indians. Indian people love to ride on other people's prestige and it's just sickening. Also, Indians may be good with computers, but look where their priorities lie that they know how to use a computer, but don't know jack about respecting human relations. India is really a victim of their own culture.


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