Trolling SRK’s daughter exposes Indian society’s deep-seated colorism

As social media has become front and center in our lives, hate comments are not new for women. Online trolls take the liberty to advise women about how they should look, what they should talk, and even who to talk to. The hate brigade’s latest victim is Suhana Khan, daughter of superstar Shah Rukh Khan, no less. She  posted a few pictures on her Instagram profile: the first was of a beaming Suhana, which were followed by a series of comments about her skin color; none were kind, and had the word “kaali” (black) in most of them.

Not one to take harassment quietly, the 20-year-old responded to the trolls on her Instagram post: “There’s a lot going on right now and this is one of the issues we need to fix!! this isn’t just about me, it’s about every young girl/boy who has grown up feeling inferior for absolutely no reason. Here are just a few of the comments made about my appearance. I’ve been told I’m ugly because of my skin tone, by full grown men and women, since I was 12 years old.”

Suhana ends her post by adding the hashtag #endcolourism.

 

The preference for fair-skinned people is linked to India’s regressive caste system as people of higher caste are generally believed to have lighter skin, comments Makers India. This caste hegemony is what makes fair-skinned people as more attractive and worthy. TV shows, movies, and advertisements also perpetuate the belief that fair is beautiful. Recently, a Bollywood song titled “Khaali Peeli” had offensive lyrics that caused outrage. The song’s controversial chorus, when translated, reads: “When you dance, watching you, oh fair-skinned girl, Beyoncé will be ashamed.” After widespread protests, the lyrics were changed to,  “Watching you, oh fair-skinned girl, the world will be ashamed.” Apparently, the film’s director Maqbool Khan doesn’t get the fact that the lyrics are still racist. 

Image courtesy of (Photo: Instagram)

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