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Friday, February 05, 2016

Racism in India: Why Indian news channels don't have dark complexioned anchors, news readers?

The mob attack on a girl from Tanzania and the alleged misbehaviour with her, has once again led to a debate over racism in India.

We may not acknowledge but racism--colour prejudice is deeply ingrained in our minds.

So deep is the prejudice against dark skin--ironically, in a country where majority is brown, that we don't even realise, while practicing it ourselves.


The first thing that people talk about while fixing a marriage is about the complexion--is the girl or boy fair? Words like 'fair and very fair' are commonly used in matrimonial advertisements.

Comments on looks on common in households, on streets and everywhere. People who are dark are mocked at, 'in jest', and these comments are taken as 'humour', not as racism.

It is common knowledge that fair people have advantage in getting jobs. And, there are certain fields where ONLY THE FAIR get a chance. Imagine, this happening in the country that is not perceived as a land of 'Whites' or 'Fair-skinned'.

So not just caste, religion, linguistic, gender and other sectarian forms of discrimination that are prevalent widely in our country, we also practice this form of apartheid, which is--'discrimination on the basis of skin complexion'.

WHY RARE TO FIND DARK COMPLEXIONED ANCHORS IN INDIAN MEDIA?

Tune in foreign news channels and you will find people from diverse backgrounds as news readers and anchors.

Not just US that has 14% blacks, a country like UK that has far less population of the blacks, it is common to see anchors of all nationalities. However, in a country of 'browns', it is difficult to find a person with dark complexion on our screens.

Of course, there are dark complexioned reporters but isn't it a discrimination that they are not the ANCHORS! Why dark skinned people are not chosen as news-readers. It's a big question for Indian media.

DISCRIMINATION WITH DALITS, TRIBALS EVEN MORE RAMPANT

As we all know, Dalits and Tribals also have NIL representation in Indian media. While there are reporters who are dark complexioned, Dalits and Tribals are nowhere even in the newsrooms.

Repeated surveys have shown how it is just the forward castes and some historically privileged and dominant castes that have representation in Indian media.

In US, the newsroom audit

FIRST WE MUST ACCEPT THAT RACISM, DISCRIMINATION ARE PREVALENT

After the Tanzanian girl was attacked by a mob in Bengaluru, TV channels were shouting--is our society racist? There were panelists who termed it just as an isolated incident, despite the fact that Africans are attacked repeatedly.

Students from Africa face harassment, abuse and have difficulty in finding houses on rent. The incident in Bangalore was just another example. We have seen such incidents in Delhi and other cities in the recent past.

People from North East face similar discrimination. Clearly, we practice racism and don't want to acknowledge that we are Racists. A problem can be solved when we first accept that it exists. Ostrich-like attitude won't help.