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Puck
September 2, 2007, 07:06 AM
below is a one act sketch. the theme is not mine. variation on the same theme has been performed at standup gigs for three decades now. mine includes a pointless nani character.

(is a small living room with the tv on, mum, dad and nani are sat comfortably)
daughter: (enters the room looking worried) mum, dad and nani, i am going to get married.
dad: (springs up from his chair looking intently at daughter) subhanallah, are you out of your mind?
mum: (starts wailing, whilst looking at dad) i told you not to bring up the children in this iblis country.
nani: (still fiddling with her hearing aid) ke mar dilo?
daughter: ralax mum, relax dad, nobody is hitting me nani (raising her voice). you know you always said islam is the best, well guess what, he is a muslim!
dad: (sighs) that's a relief.
mum: what relief? oogo shuncho tumi ki bolle
nani: ke muslim?
daughter: (smiling), mum, dad, listen, he's a doctor.
dad: alhamdullilah.. mashaalla (gets up to give daughter a hug)
mum: (tears of joy, she also goes to embrace daughter)
daughter: there is something else i need to tell you about him..
dad: (still embracing daughter) ma, we don't mind if he is not from pabna, you are old enough now and if you have chosen a muslim man we are happy and all the more happier because he is a doctor.
nani : (joins in the embrace without really knowing what is going on)
daughter: (looking hesitatant and separating herself away from the embrace of mum and dad) dad there is something else i need to tell you.. (still hesitatating) dad, mum, he is from nigeria..

(mum and dad screems from the top of their head, nani, not knowing what is going on starts weeping)
nani: (her hearing aid is working all of a sudden and she heard the last sentence) ke nigro manush?
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does skin colour still bothers the british asians?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork/documentaries/yourideas.shtml

shaad
September 2, 2007, 12:07 PM
Good post, Puck. I think most South Asians are still rather hung up on the fair complexion -- a bias that probably started with the initial "Aryan" migrations into what was then a Dravidian subcontinent, and has been boosted by subsequent invasions and colonizing attempts. "Whitening" products like those from the Fair & Lovely/Fair & Handsome brand still sell very well in both India and Bangladesh, and matrimonial ads still use the term "wheatish" as a mark of social cachet.

Based on my admittedly small sample size, I have to admit that I see a version of this bias even among 2nd generation South Asians in the US, although it seems less prevalent than back in the desh. Interestingly, there seems to be some skewing along gender lines. I have seen quite a number of interracial couples where the man was black, and the woman South Asian, but very few where it was the other way around.

What's the situation in the UK?

Puck
September 2, 2007, 01:29 PM
hello shaad,
i must have left south asia too young to have noticed whitening products! surprised to hear that they exist.

let us broaden the scope of this discussion a little and include all nationalities and races into the non-bengali melting pot. this makes it a little easier for explaining the british scene anyway. one has to bear in mind that the bengali population is a lot smaller here than in a vast country like usa. the bengali population is thought to be less than half a million and i would say that it is perhaps even less than that. class, level of education and gender (as you mentioned above) play a major parts. amongst the second generation educated middle classes (by this i am referring to children of originally middle class parents) are more likely to take on a non-bengali spouse. the middle classes whose parents had not been educated middle classes have much stronger family ties. inter-racial marriages or relationships are not very common. amongst the working class second generation bengalis there is even less inter-racial marriages.

there is another factor here that had been pointed out by our now banned member ias a while ago. over 90% of the second generation bangaldeshis would be of syleti origin. the family structure and bond is extremely strong regardless of the class structure. there are many marriages between syleti families in UK and that seem to dominate the trend more than anything.

i must also point out that i am hardly a 'community' person! most of my friends are white english, welsh or scottish. my best friend is actually a second generation bangladeshi, however, beside his complexion, there is very little 'south asian' about him. my only regular connection with bangladeshi's of my age would be through this forum. so you might want to ask some of the londoners about their assessment of the situation here!

shaad
September 2, 2007, 11:43 PM
Re: whitening products

Puck, I'd be surprised if they actually work. But as long they hold out the illusion... people will buy them.

Re: interracial marriages. Do you see much in the way of interracial marriages where one partner is South Asian and the other black? Or East Asian? Most of the interracial couples involving South Asians (Bengali sample is too small) that I have come across in the States, almost always feature a white partner; and as I've mentioned, in the few cases featuring South Asians and blacks, it's been remarkably skewed by gender.

Puck
September 3, 2007, 03:53 AM
hi shaad, the white partner is rather more common and in some case other south asians as well. the majority of inter-racial marriages tends to be between white women and asian men, although there has been a noticeable change amongst the educated middle class non-syleti bangladeshis. the non-muslims indians tend to be the group where you see the most inter-racial relationships. here, class is less of a factor, although there appears to be less inter-racial marriages amongst the second generation family business orientated middle classes.