Colour of Skin

By Somali K Chakrabarti

Racism

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Blinded minds, tongues

tied; morals guided by color

of skin; sucked in the

venomous vortex of  bias

Reason dies, rhetoric screams!

 

 

The recent attack on a Tanzanian girl in Karnataka, has brought to the spotlight the ugly face of racism once again. Yet, many of the state govt officials continue to live in denial that the problem persists. Nurturing a hatred for any community based on their features, skin tone, language and culture amounts to racism, but can a problem be tackled unless people admit that the problem exists?

A Tanka is a Japanese poem consisting of 31 syllables in 5 lines, with 5 syllables in the first and third lines and 7 in the others.

 

 

Lei: A wreath for your soul  is a collection of short poems that combine elements of nature, philosophy, culture, science and spirituality. Take a peek here on Kindle Store.
Lei

 

 

 

 

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43 thoughts on “Colour of Skin

  • February 8, 2016 at 12:26 am
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    Contempt for all who did it, but wouldn’t blame entire state or people of state for it. Lived in Bangalore as North-Indian for long, but learnt Kannada in a month. So I did learn Marathi when I was in Maharasthra, and Norsk when I am in Norway now. Its not racism always but how we gel together, and mingle up with people to even out the barriers. To say barriers don’t exist, and one is egalitarian and other isn’t, is unnatural. It exists and a mutual approach for co-existence is desirable. This mob doesn’t belong the city for sure, and so doesn’t the media who push the entire city to corner.

    Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 12:37 am
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    It is not only about the state but such incidents have happened in other parts of the country as well. Discrimination (if not racism) does exist in the minds including prejudice against people from different states, and in the worst cases become apparent in such mob actions. As you have said a mutual approach for co-existence is desirable.

    Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 2:03 am
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    It’s a lengthy topic and discrimination on similar grounds exists even with the citizens of the country in Mera Bhaarat Mahaan. However I endorse your viewpoint that admission / acknowledgement of the problem is the first step in the direction of its resolution. Such things are to be condemned (without any qualification) and more than that, prevented.

    Reply
    • February 8, 2016 at 7:51 am
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      Exactly Mathur ji. Discrimination exists even within citizens of our country and with certain outsider communities, which should decrease, not increase by the day.

      Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 4:56 am
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    Acknowledging is a key and I think getting the issue out front in different forms (like your poem) is key too. You never know which form of the message will take hold….

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    • February 8, 2016 at 7:55 am
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      Thank you Maremma. Yes when the problem is acknowledged, people do think of coming up with means to find a solution to it.

      Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 8:21 am
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    It thrills me to read your potent words. Yes, let’s set our eyes on peace and tolerance. 🌎 🌍 🌏

    Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 10:23 am
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    Hi Somali,

    This is a very sensitive topic, which is often swept under the carpet. Living in the world of denial can never root it out. We have to acknowledge and address this age-old malaise, which keeps revisiting humanity in one form or another.
    Thanks for highlighting it.

    Reply
    • February 8, 2016 at 4:48 pm
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      Oh yes! Actually I wanted to switch over completely to self hosted blog but later realized that I was too much in love with wordpress.com for the ease of use, so maintained two separately..but yes as you have rightly guessed it becomes challenging.

      Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 10:47 am
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    My maid picked up a bottle of moisturizer which she applies on my mother’s body regularly and asked me whether it was a fairness cream as she required one for her niece. I asked her not to bother about the colour of the skin as it was inconsequential. I really don’t know whether she understood me or not. The moot point is this partiality towards lighter skin is ingrained in our culture since ages. It is unfortunate and sad. We are wired to assess beauty by its surface value and humanity by racial traits.

    Reply
    • February 8, 2016 at 4:37 pm
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      The obsession with pigments 🙂 Yes we are wired to judge by surface value and racial traits. Thank you Geetashree .

      Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 12:04 pm
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    A beautiful poem on a contemporary problem. There is no such thing as pure race .We all trace our origin to the same ancestor. Scientists tell us that no one has any right to boast of his or her colour of skin. They are not able to find that one particular group of people based on colour etc. is any more capable than the other. I remember during my days in Presidency College Calcutta , a Ugandan student, a great human being , happened to be my best friend.

    Reply
    • February 8, 2016 at 4:40 pm
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      Yes holding bias for colour/ features doesn’t make sense. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Reply
    • February 8, 2016 at 4:43 pm
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      Thank you for sharing the link. Very rightly you have said that we tend to forget that the pigmentation of our skins is a work of nature.

      Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 3:30 pm
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    We have been trying to get rid of this for long, we have succeeded a lot but still a long way to go.

    Reply
    • February 9, 2016 at 7:19 am
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      I know what you are saying. Sometimes undercurrents can be felt in the western countries too. Thank you for sharing Alok.

      Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm
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    It’s not only against foreigners with dark skins, we are capable of hating our own countryfellows with different skin colors. Even today fairness is considered a synonym to beauty. How stupid can one get to buy fairness cream to enhance their beauty? And, we have superstars promoting this juvenile obsession and educated people buying it.

    Whatever happened to Shakespeare? Beauty is skin deep? Nowadays, it’s packed in tubes with a 14 days guarantee. :/

    Reply
    • February 9, 2016 at 7:26 am
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      The obsession for fairness ingrained in the mind and the perception of cultural superiority that each community has over the other contributes to such illogical and unacceptable behaviour. Thank you Rakesh.

      Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 10:48 pm
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    It’s sad. I can’t believe in happened in a civilized society. Are we civilized?

    Beautiful, heart wrenching verse.

    Reply
  • February 9, 2016 at 2:54 am
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    Discrimination is an ugly beast, rooted deeply in the hidden , dark folds of our minds.

    Reply
  • February 9, 2016 at 5:59 am
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    Unfortunately, in the U.S., racism is rampant!

    Reply
    • February 9, 2016 at 7:32 am
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      We feel saddened when such incidents happen in India. This one has met with a strong protest by the media.

      Reply
  • February 9, 2016 at 8:18 am
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    A powerful poem against the barbarity displayed by a small section of people bringing disrepute to the state and our country and making Indians in the other country vulnerable.The guilty should be punished ruthlessly at the soonest.

    Reply
  • February 9, 2016 at 11:06 am
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    Apt lines on the occasion. It shows the sensibility of the poet. Good initiative, Somali 🙂

    Reply
  • February 11, 2016 at 8:06 pm
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    It’s a sensitive issue and is prevalent not only as black vs white but something even more than that. In our country too, we have songs/films starting with “gori” and it is an essential quality for females for being beautiful. Have you ever heard a song addressing a beautiful female as ‘kali”? never, it’s a word of contempt. The notion is a deep-rooted one… 🙁

    A very powerful and precise tanka..

    Reply
    • February 12, 2016 at 7:27 pm
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      Thank you Maniparna. You are so right… let the heroine be from gaon, shahar , anywhere but the songs will have mention gori. The only exception to this was a very old song ‘More gora rang lai le’ picturized on Nutun I guess.

      Reply

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