She Must Be Black, no? (Part 2)

Posted: January 28, 2014

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Ages ago, my maternal aunt had almost keeled over when I had announced my intention of marrying a Malayalee, and the only words she could utter were, “She must be black, no?

Now so many years later, the in-house ignoramus cum clown of the Aam Aadmi Party, Kumar Vishwas has been heard saying that “earlier men were comfortable with nurses because they came only from Kerala. They were dark so the men were happy to call them ‘sister’ and no more. Many of these girls wouldn’t even put up their profile photos. Now there are north Indian nurses, absolutely glamorous.”

dark-beautifulAccording to this man, dark women can only be sisters, and not wives or girlfriends, and that only North Indian women are “glamorous”. Even if I allow for the fact that this man was a roadside clown in his earlier avatar, it does not condone such blatant racist and sexist jibes. His website adds insult to injury by proclaiming that this seemingly semi-literate man is “overall, an iconic blend of a Performing Poet, an Author, a Social Communicator and a Motivator.” The website also tells us that he is a youth icon, and, hold your breath, a professor! He is supposed to possess an MA and a PhD, and I for one would definitely like to know from where he obtained these degrees.

Kumar Vishwas does have his apologists in the AAP, who say that this offending video is two years old, and that as a performer he was only playing to the gallery. To me, playing to the gallery by passing such racist and sexist comments is a crime in itself, and this man should now have the grace to stand up and apologize. I know I am asking for too much, and for all I know soon the AAP might hold a rally to protest against what I am saying.

Sadly, he is not the only ignoramus in the AAP. Many of us watched in horror the antics of the other man- Somnath Bharti- Delhi’s law minister-calling Ugandan women prostitutes and drug peddlers. This man is supposedly a lawyer, and I am sure the courts where he practised law must be delighted that he is not seen there anymore.

Since Kumar Vishwas and Somnath Bharti have knowingly stooped to the gutters and pointed fingers at other people’s skin colour, looks and motives, may I ask them to look in the mirror themselves? And once they are at it, they could also take a peek inside their minds- however miniscule those might be- to figure out what makes them so sexist, racist and sickening.

Pic credit: The Dark Is Beautiful campaign

I am a former bureaucrat, and have worked a lot on gender issues, disaster management

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  1. Gone are the days when women used to be worried about what others said to them. Today we know for sure what we say to ourselves matters more than what others say to us. We can laugh at light hearted banter/poetry, and not be disturbed. What truly concerns us is the future of this great nation. Why don’t we want to see the good that people do? Are we the same people over the years? We have changed and become wiser. So do others. Let us not judge others for their words and deeds. Let’s worry about what good we can do for the nation.

    • I think we can see the good people want to do, and also call them out for sexism and racism. As for what’s wrong with light-hearted poetry/banter, please do consider that the disgust we have for dark skin is not about banter alone. It affects the thousands of young girls (and boys) who are often mocked at school for being ‘kaali’. It has to stop somewhere and unless we stop giving it a free pass, it won’t.

  2. Great article – especially coming from a man. I enjoy all your writing, Sir and I am sure your daughters are proud of you.

  3. If addressing a girl as short haired or curly haired or blue eyed is should ‘ black skin’ be. It is only a feature and black is only a colour. I believe there is nothing to be ashamed of a black skin as there is nothing to be proud of having a white skin. Being black has never stopped me from doing anythin and I take it as a part of my identity. Its too late to change the age old beauty concepts..and attitudes. I have no intention.of changing my skin colour and neither i want to.

  4. but they need vote from the north indian crowd so they will crack jokes that suit the majority taste.You are en exception sir. After all these years you can write this means u respect and love your spouse and daughters. But i know some South indian girls hwo are married to Punjabi men. Everyday of thier life they have to hear.While walking the street he would go on like…Arrey usko dekh Madrasi hoga”…”Uski dressing dekh SOUDH ENDIAN hoga” idont know how these women tolerate all this.

    If it was I wouldnt be there in his side when turns his head after passign such a comment.

    I live in Dubai. My daughter studies in a O level school run by Keralites but the students are mostly Pakistani Punjabis and few malayalis and Indian Punjabis.Infront of us these Indian Punjabis join Pakis for the Malllu kaaala kalutiya and rukhe sukhe log comment

    Its a fact that we have learnt to live with. Even a migrant Sindhi is above us WHY? kyunki uska rang saaf hai!!!!

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