The politics of colour

I watched Kakka Muttai, and do not fear, I will not be waxing eloquent about it – though I might just push you to watch it. Is this the Tamil Children of Heaven? I might be prone to hyperbole here, but I haven’t felt so satisfied watching a Tamil movie in a long time (as A helpfully pointed out, OK Kanmani and Rajathandhiram did come close).

One thing I loved about Kaaka Muttai was Ishwarya Rajesh. I have had a little bit of a crush on her for quite some time now (she has no lip sync issues and is very expressive), but she is in a league of her own in this movie. And then I start worrying that she wouldn’t get any movies at all, since she is not fair enough (read Amy Jackson/ white) to play a Tamil girl. [Theni-Tamannah and Village-Girl-Hansika need to leave right now.]

This post is going to be about these lines:

கருப்பு கருப்பு கருப்பு நிறத்தை வெறுத்து வெறுத்து உலகம் ஒதுக்க காக்கை காக்கை முட்டை வண்ணம் மாற்றி கொண்டதா

(Did the crow’s egg change its colour seeing how the world discriminates being black?)

In a gathering of few acquaintances, the conversation turned to movies.

Fair person to dark person: Guess what? There is a new movie in your name!

Dark person: ?????

Fair person: Kaaka Muttai! Hahahaha.

Dark person: …..

Me: That’s not even funny.

There are two things of note here: One, a crow’s egg is not black. It probably bears closest resemblance to a mosaic tile. Two, the utter lack of humour or sensitivity in that comment. Fair Person is therefore not just ignorant, but cruel as well.

Somebody reading this (and who also knows me) might now think, “She’s fair, what is it to her?”. Yes, if my parents had their way, that is indeed how they would describe me in the forms provided by matrimonial websites. But this does not stop me from feeling repulsed.

A long time ago, I started receiving numerous compliments from family members for my sudden “fairness”. I was asked many questions, ranging from “Have you stopped going out in the sun?” to “What cream are you using now?”. I did not do any such thing. Turns out I was just anemic (true story).

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2 thoughts on “The politics of colour

  1. Ah. People do make that assumption, don’t they? That if you are passionately opposed to something, you should be a victim of some sort? That is weird, because it is easier to raise your voice against oppression if you aren’t a victim of that particular type of oppression.

    I have never in my life bothered by “dark means unpretty” trope. I don’t get a lot of comments about it anyway. Sometimes with the “Karupa Irunthalum Kalaiaana” tag, but very rarely in its raw form. It take is as a compliment as it is intended that way.

    Though there is one instance where a very chauvinistic wise old man said, “Your parents seem to have given you an inferiority complex about your color, why else would you have learnt so much English otherwise? Poor you.” Or something to that general import. Apparently I should have got his approval before liking P.G.Wodehouse or the Beatles. Only Men and Fair Women can do so without express approval from the Wise Old Man.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha! Your comment really had me laughing. I wonder what Wise Old Man would say about me, Fair Person who neither likes Wodehouse nor listens to the Beatles? 😛

      Like

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