Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fair and Lovely and Handsome, Dark and...

It is amazing how many of us in this world believe that good and nice and god and goddess-like is to be fair, have blue eyes and perhaps be blond. Most of those who have read English literature and watched English movies certainly cannot expect a black man or a black woman (and shades of these colors which are considered slightly lesser colors) playing leads in the classics  They are the gods and the goddesses and despite the stupidity and conceitedness they sometimes exhibit, we forgive easily (unlike the colored fellows who only reinforce what is expected of them by showing more stupidity). The villains are colored and are rarely white and blond with blue eyes.

So it is very easy for a lot of people who see movies or read books, or even follow popular culture like dance and singing, to associate all things good and strong with white and all things bad and weak with black or colored. It is easy then for a dark skinned man to be made fun of in a Fair and Handsome ad (with background music ranging from Main hoon Don to the effeminate Pari hoon main) while a white skinned movie star comes by and condescendingly saves the foolish black/colored man from his misery. And soon as the black man listens to the white man's advice ad turns a few shades fairer, he finds white women wanting to go on rides with him. The white hero cannot afford to don black paint himself of course and turn white because he would be less of a man or god then. It has to be one of those fellows.

I don't get too bothered by these ads but this ad was brilliant in its messaging and its directness and shamelessness. Like Malcolm X says in his biography, black men used their new found freedom to bleach themselves white, straighten their hair through painful processes, many even trying to behave and be like the whites or going the other way and wearing flashy clothes. The Jew who owns the properties where Malcolm X works tells him the secret to his prosperity - show me a black man with a dime in his pocket and I will show you how to get it out of him. What the Jew meant was that he knew how eager the blacks were to fit in and to show that they belonged that they spent their last penny trying to prove something they were not. And the smarter ones got richer and the poorer ones stayed poorer buying trinkets, fake jewellery and if they had access to it, Fair and Handsome too. Am sure a lot of back fellows in India are trying to woo women by turning a few shades fairer.

It is almost as if the world's intelligence and goodness belonged to the gods (white) and all that messed up the world came from the demons (black and other colors). It's a thought that we have accepted and will find difficult to erase. It was nice to see a 'Moonlight' win the Oscar though it almost went to a ''La La Land' (and I liked the fact that Moonlight had no white character for a long time and it felt like this was not made in this world - how defenseless and vulnerable those black people looked without a white hero to save them). So Moonlight ends vaguely with no powerful endings, apologetically even, as most black films should.

But then one would wonder what it would take to make it even. To make people believe that even black people have red blood (what did you expect? Ink? - as the white, blue eyed, blond female lead says to her equally white, blond and blue eyed co stars while standing up for the black Sidney Poitier in ''To Sir With Love), have some intelligence, and perhaps some culture, some pride, would be some doing. One has to look around and see how many leaders are white and how many black. How many of our world's great people in arts, culture, science etc are black or colored. It is as if the leadership positions are with the gods and the manual work is for the blacks. It works in an ascending order - no black leaders in our colored countries also because all of the leaders are more or less fair, but in the world order our fair leaders pale in comparison with the pale, blue eyed and blond leaders of the world.

Then you wonder why Fair and Handsome is not bigger than it is. It ought to be a global leader by now.  Unless a majority of the blacks have resigned themselves to their fates - of being ruled, of being without the beautiful women, of being kept under leash and of living apologetically. That would be bad news really for the white world - so many dollars that could have been transferred wasted. All because of lack of ambition from the colored fellows.

It's funny - even fair would come with an opposite like unfair. Would there ever be an Unfair and Handsome, or Unfair and lovely, or Black and Handsome? Ummm. Would the gods allow that?


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