What do Sammy Sosa, Shah Rukh, and Michael Jackson all have in common? Well, let me give you a couple hints. Michael was in denial about it. Sammy is currently in discussion to market it, and Shah Rukh is plain old capitalizing off of it. Yes, you guessed it. I’m talking about Skin Whitening Cream. This cream has made it possible to completely transform ones natural “dark” skin color and develop a lighter, brighter complexion. On top of all that, the Indian skin whitening campaigns promise to not only whiten skin, but make it healthier and smoother.
Of course, this skin whitening craze is not just an issue in India. A Dominican Republic Native, the former Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa told the world on the show “Primer Impacto” that he uses a bleaching cream each night and that this cream whitens his skin. His blue contacts also had quite a dramatic effect on his appearance as he strutted his stuff down the carpet at the Latin Grammys and stunned the viewers with his brand new lighter complexion. This war of dark skin vs fair skin is universal, but it seems to be an ancient battle for India. One of the most known Bollywood hero’s Shah Rukh Khan has done what he does best. He danced and pranced his way into a Fair and Handsome Emami commercial. He proudly promotes the fact that men need no longer to feel ashamed by stealing women’s skin whitening creams since Emami has saved the day and created this product especially for men. And here’s the best part – it has “American Double Strength.” Wow. Every heard of it? Neither have I, but it sure sounds convincing! Oh, and about Michael, well let’s just say this isn’t the first time he hasn’t admitted to something.
When was the rejection of dark skin institutionalized in India? Unfortunately even today we do not have an answer, as many archeologists are caught in a heated debate – was it the dark skinned Dravidians or the fair skinned semi nomadic, central Asian migrants, the Aryans who built the Indus Vally Civilization over 5000 years ago? Who is “more” Indian? The Dravidians? Or the Aryans? The Aryans first appear in 2000 – 1500 BC in North India. The Rig Veda, the classic religious text which is highly respected till today in India contains what appear to be the first signs of the dark skinned indigineous Indians being subordinated by the fair skinned Aryan man. Is this where the origen of shunning the darker skin evolved into a cultural norm was born? Do modern day Indians think that modernity is somehow connected to being American, not just mentally but physically as well? Here’s a little history lesson. About 50 million years ago, India was part of the super continent of Pangea. The drifting tectonic plates lead the land mass of India to the coast of Asia. The resulting collion was so intense that it resulted in the spectacular Himalyan Mountans. Where was the Indian Subcontinent before it drifted across the ocean? It was connected to Africa. Where is the proof that this collision even took place? It’s at the top of Mount Everest, which just so happens to be the highest peak above sea level in the entire world. Scientist have found ancient marine fossiles at the top. Doesn’t this mean that Indians should admire their African roots as much as their Aryan roots?
It is a known fact that the lighter the skin, the higher the caste (depending of course on the location in India). This makes it pretty impossible to escape the light vs dark skin battle when it comes to religion. It seems as if skin color is not just a physical characteristic one is born with. It is the equivalent of what a Bachelors degree is in the West. If you don’t go to college in the West, you have a tougher time of becoming successful, where as in India, if you have darker skin, you have a tougher time becoming successful, or earning a respectable living. Should skin color still matter to a society which is already divided and subdivided by ethnicity, language, caste,class and creed. Come on now it is 2010 lets escape the light vs dark skin battle. Bollywood its your turn to set a new trend, and yes Shah Rukh I am speaking about you!