“Skin colour bias is simply racism by any other name. It must be confronted just like any other form of bigotry,” said UNESCO representative Eric Falt.
New Delhi: On the evening of October 14, UNESCO hosted the launch of the ‘India’s Got Colour’ campaign in New Delhi, followed by a panel discussion to address the issue of racial injustice and discrimination.
The launch’s highlight was a music video created by actor-director Nandita Das along with filmmaker Mahesh Mathai and music composer Ankur Tewari, casting actors including Radhika Apte, Ratna Pathak Shah, Vikrant Massey, Shweta Tripathi, Gul Panag, Sayani Gupta amongst many others.
They have all been vocal to oppose the subject of racial prejudice. The video makes a strong statement – “I see you grin, As you sneer at my skin. Mock my Colour, Make a joke of it” – illustrating the everyday bias people face in professional and personal spaces. It showcases society’s and the media’s bigotry towards darker complexions.
Indian popular culture and media has a history of making people different based on their skin tone. The popularity of fairness products such as Fair and Lovely prove that. Ads which show a dark woman failing, but then suddenly achieving her dreams as she becomes more fair, have been far too common.
In the last few year, several celebrities including Kangana Ranaut have said that they will no longer endorse fairness products.
The video screening was followed by a panel discussion involving Nandita Das, Eric Falt, director and UNESCO representative, and Kavitha Emmanuel, founder and director of Women of Worth, initiator of the Dark Is Beautiful campaign in 2009.
“Skin colour bias is simply racism by any other name. It must be confronted just like any other form of bigotry,” said Falt.
Das has been supporting the Dark Is Beautiful initiative since 2013. On its 10th anniversary, Dark Is Beautiful was reinvented as ‘India’s Got Colour’. The panelists discussed how skin colour effects a person’s confidence, and predefined notions of beauty have led to discrimination.
“While we must combat the various forms of discrimination based on caste, religion, gender and sexual preference, the least we can do is to end the bias based on skin colour,” Das said during the panel discussion.
“India’s Got Colour’is a brave new expression and an extension of the Dark is Beautiful campaign to put an end to the unfair and toxic belief that measures a person’s worth and eligibility based on the colour of their skin,” Emmanuel added.