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14 Wash. U. Global Stud. L. Rev. 725 (2015)
India and Colorism: The Finer Nuances

handle is hein.journals/wasglo14 and id is 746 raw text is: 


                             NEHA MISHRA*


   Most Indians show apparent ignorance about the practice of exclusion
and discrimination based on the skin tone of a person although it is a
deep-rooted problematic practice embraced by both the oppressor and the
victim. This single practice has become so widespread in India, more so in
the past four decades, that it has taken shape along the same lines as
colorism of the Western world. However, the manifestation of the color
discrimination in India differs as it hides behind various other variables. I
The questions that are still unclear and remain unanswered are: Whether
colorism was prevalent in ancient India; whether it is prevalent in Indian
society now; how and when colorism found its roots in the Indian society;
how deeply it influences the mass consciousness; and what are the reasons
behind the prejudice and bias toward dark skin?
   Since India is a very complex and diversified society, the derivatives
that play a role in the discrimination are also as diversified. These
derivatives become the variables that in turn affect the overall premise
that darker skin color results in discrimination.  Caste, class, religion,
region, gender and economics are a few of these variables. Through this
study I will explore how all of the variables are connected and got
connected over the period of time with the skin tone preference.

     * Neha Mishra, Head, School of Legal Studies, REVA University, Bangalore.
     1. Colorism in the western countries emerged with the belief of alleged attached superiority of
white skin of European race who were the power holder for a very long time as against the subverted
class with a darker skin, who were taken as slaves. India however consists of varied color tones of its
subjects ranging from very dark to very fair skin owing to the very different climatic and geographic
conditions. Again, in Indian scenario, power was determined by more than just skin color- factors like
caste and class played vital role in determining the acceptability of a person. See COLE ET AL., infra
note 63. Still, last 4 to 5 decades show that fair color of the skin is becoming more and more
acceptable. Id. at 34-35.

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