Do ethnic minorities wish they were white?

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A lot of Indians do, it seems.

As both an A-list Bollywood actor and the host of India's answer to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Shah Rukh Khan sets hearts aflutter for all manner of reasons. Now, however, he has been accused of peddling a dream too far - in an advertisement for skin cream.

Khan, 41, a heart-throb star likened to an Indian Tom Cruise, has agreed to promote Fair and Handsome, a skin-lightening cream which panders to a widespread Indian desire for fairer skin. While darker-hued Indians spend a total equivalent to £160 million a year on such products - despite doubts about their effectiveness - the sight of Khan's chiselled features endorsing the cream has angered campaigners, who say it is "racist" to promote lighter skin as superior.

"We are against the product," said Brinda Karat, the president of the All-India Democratic Women's Association. "It is downright racist to denigrate dark skin."

The row over Khan's deal with the Emami cosmetics company reflects growing embarrassment among modern Indians about the popularity of skin-lightening products, which stems from a centuries-old cultural belief that equates fair features with high caste status, good looks and eligibility for marriage.

Protests by Miss Karat's group recently forced another company - Hindustan Lever, the Indian arm of Unilever - to withdraw television advertisements for its women's fairness cream, Fair and Lovely. The advertisements depicted dejected, dark-skinned women, who had been snubbed by employers and men, suddenly acquiring new boyfriends and glamorous careers after the cream had lightened their skin.
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Yet most of India's 800 million population are puzzled to hear such creams described as symptomatic of an unhealthy self-image. In the matrimonials, the classified newspaper advertisements through which brides and bridegrooms are sought, a potential bride's porcelain skin is ranked as a more desirable attribute than a university degree. Film stars who are not naturally light-skinned are touched up to look paler on screen.

In everyday conversation, the ultimate compliment on someone's looks is to say someone is gora (fair). "I have no problem with people wanting to be lighter," said a Delhi beauty parlour owner, Saroj Nath. "It doesn't make you racist, any more than trying to make yourself look younger makes you ageist."

The creams' effectiveness is widely disputed, however.

"My maid has been using Fair and Lovely for years and I still can't see her in the dark," said Anuradha Kapoor, owner of a public relations firm. "But she goes on using it. Hope springs eternal, I suppose."

Mr Khan's face will adorn a slick new tube bearing a "before-and-after" photo. "He's a role model for young Indians, and now he'll be telling them that dark skin is unattractive and must be changed," said Renoukha Khandekar, an author and columnist. "It's irresponsible and stupid. We have skin tones of all hues in this country, and they're all wonderful."
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/07/01/wskin101.xml

Apparently they are quite obsessed with skin colour. I wonder if a lot of non-whites secretly (or not so secretly) would rather be white?
 
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LOL. IS it racist to promote tanning agent and fake tan promoting darker skin as superior? What muppets.

This made me chortle:

"My maid has been using Fair and Lovely for years and I still can't see her in the dark," said Anuradha Kapoor, owner of a public relations firm. "But she goes on using it. Hope springs eternal, I suppose."

I can just imagine the extreme hurt and embarrasment that would have been caused had a white person said that...... and he's owner of a PR firm.... oh the ironing.
 
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Yeah, i know a few Asian people, and they want to be white.

Me personally, i am mixed race, black and white, so im already half way there :p but no, i don't want to be full white, or change who i am.
 
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jamiemoles said:
There is no difference between this and fake tans in the uk.
There is a lot more to it. People in Britain who are pale due and with no sun tan, are not subject to prejudice or looked down upon as inferior from fellow whites with a sun tan.
 
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Hell no, i prefer my brown skin tbh...i think a lot of white people secretly want to be brown skinned...i mean why else would those muppets sit underneath a tanning bed or in the sun trying to get brown:p. All the while causing long term damage ie skin cancer :/

As for this article...dunno what the big fuss is...Shah Rukh is quite dark skinned in real life...ive met him a few times...thoroughly decent bloke plus my mum adores him. But i would say hes not ashamed of his dark skin..rather its money thats done the talking for him so therefore hes taken this advert on. I dont blame him, hes trying to make sure his family has a steady income coming in while hes not doing any movies.
 
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Spawn said:
Hell no, i prefer my brown skin tbh...i think a lot of white people secretly want to be brown skinned...i mean why else would those muppets sit underneath a tanning bed or in the sun trying to get brown:p. All the while causing long term damage ie skin cancer :/

As for this article...dunno what the big fuss is...Shah Rukh is quite dark skinned in real life...ive met him a few times...thoroughly decent bloke plus my mum adores him. But i would say hes not ashamed of his dark skin..rather its money thats done the talking for him so therefore hes taken this advert on. Dont blame him, hes trying to make sure his family has a steady income coming in while hes not doing any movies.

I think a lot of people find a light brown skin more attractive than very dark or very light. A spanish/italian complexion seems very popular universally.
 
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I've always thought that one of the reasons being white might be attractive to non-whites is that our appearances are so varied. Blacks for example have short dark hair and brown eyes. In fact all non-whites have brown eyes AFAIK. Whites on the other hand have all different types and colours of hair and eyes. I can understand that other races would see us as being superior.
 
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both my parents were born in india, i was born in the UK, so im technically anglo-indian, and my opinion on the matter is i would rather be coloured than caucasian, but i find my skin colour is the best

 
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I actually made a thread a while ago to how to keep my skin lighter in the summer, I don't want to be white but I don't want to turn dark orange either :/. tbh, it was just a phase and I don't care less now. I think it's to do with the countries desire to be more western, not entirely in terms of skin colour but in terms of wealth. Very dark skinned Indians I think are seen as peasants who spend their time outdoors doing manual labour in the sun, if you have lighter skin it means you have a "better" job, status and such to them.
 
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A lot of Indians want to be a lighter shade of brown rather than a darker shade. You are suppose to look more attractive and it is mainly women who go after these type of products, though the younger generation of male also seem to be into this nonsense. That has been the case since I can remember so I don't quite see the point of this thread? That product supposedly gives you lighter skin not white skin though I'm quite sure dirtydog knows that as well, I think someone is trying to start off a white being superior to other colours thread....

As for Shah Rukh Khan promoting this product, well I think you will find in India most famous people will promote just about anything as long as they get well paid for it, there is a real obsession in India with film stars and cricket stars hence whey they do so many adverts. Living abroad you don't realise this but when I went to India you go around and see their adverts and pictures just about everywhere.
 
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dirtydog said:
There is a lot more to it. People in Britain who are pale due and with no sun tan, are not subject to prejudice or looked down upon as inferior from fellow whites with a sun tan.

That's not true, I find that women (maybe it's the ones I hang around with I dunno), often look at e.g. other women/celebrities and comment more on pasty looking skin than those with blatent fake tan. Also they tend to use fake sun tan in various amounts (mostly little) so they don't appear to be too pale, and treat is as a necessity if they're going to be exposing their legs...

It's really weird, it's not only a thing in India, I found that in e.g. Italy and Spain those that were really pale were more highly regarded on a physical level compared to those that had a natural brown tan.

I do not wish I was white, but that's not to mean I look down on those with that skin colour.
 
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manoz said:
I actually made a thread a while ago to how to keep my skin lighter in the summer, I don't want to be white but I don't want to turn dark orange either :/. tbh, it was just a phase and I don't care less now. I think it's to do with the countries desire to be more western, not entirely in terms of skin colour but in terms of wealth. Very dark skinned Indians I think are seen as peasants who spend their time outdoors doing manual labour in the sun, if you have lighter skin it means you have a "better" job, status and such imo.
Used to be the same in the UK. Lighter skin meant more wealth as you did not have to work outside. Lead oxide was used to make you ghostly white.
Now a tan seems to indicate healthy or possibly that you have more leisure time.
 
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