Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Stop Embarrassing Yourself, You're Asian!

I know that this post will not apply to every single brown person but I’m hoping that it does something for brownies everywhere that have been affected by WBWS (Wanna Be White Syndrome) or maybe it will help those brownies who know other brownies affected by WBWS to take a stand, particularly in South Africa.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me tell you a quick story. It was a Sunday morning and my sisters and I decided to take a nice long brisk walk to the Bakery (burn the calories before you load up again see, take notes people). Anyways, the route is around 5km’s long and by the time we got there, around 9am, we were huffing and puffing, laughing at our competitiveness and some or other stupid thing, hair slightly disheveled, tiny beads of sweat on our foreheads, perfectly happy. And then I saw her…

I call them BG’s (Barbie-Girls). This particular BG was perfectly poised and dressed like she was about to attend a Presidential Electoral Ceremony at 9am on a Sunday morning. But the issue was not her clothing because she would have looked nice (I tend to favour the elegant sophisticated stick-up-the-arse look myself) had it not been for her face. It was like looking at an accident, you know, where you can’t help but stare, horrified with a mixture of awe and disgust. How do you take someone like that seriously? It's difficult not to laugh at this self-imposed fugliness.

I’ve seen this face hundreds of times on various brown girls… black/brown eyes piercing through blue/green contact lenses, framed by a face caked and layered with enough foundation and concealer, and other cosmetic products I can’t even pronounce, to produce an effect that would make Snow White jealous. Some of them are smart enough to conceal their necks as well and others, well… lets just say that there are a whole lot of girls whose faces don’t match with the rest of them, particularly their necks, arms and hands. Why stop there, why not take it one step further… I’m sure the masses will love it.

I want to know who lied and told these girls that they look pretty. I’m serious. I really want to know who. There has to be some sort of mass indoctrination / brainwashing going on because no sane woman steps out of the house ardently believing she looks great when she looks nothing short of ghastly, hideous and atrocious. The joke is on her, and SOMEONE is having a good laugh.

I was instantly reminded of Cate Blanchett who played the medieval Queen in the movie Elizabeth. Pale skin was popular in the European cultures of the Middle Ages because it signified and became associated with wealth and stature in society. Back then, women went to great lengths and exaggerated measures to achieve that white pale skin, some by bleeding themselves and others by using deadly ingredients like lead and arsenic.

The world has never known as much as it does today and it’s somewhat ironic that in the 21st century, with the sheer magnitude of information and wealth of knowledge at our fingertips; knowing ALL that we know about life and love and morals and values and what’s important etc.; ignorance continues to thrive and there are STILL people out there who believe that being “whiter” means that their mundane existences will be validated and that they will actually be more significant or worthy as individuals. Talk about self-esteem issues. And the reality is that it’s an epidemic that is not only rife amongst most Asian women, but is most disturbingly, encouraged and endorsed by their societies and Asian men as well.

I don’t know when this existential crisis began, but my money is on Colonialism, specifically when the British colonised India (in my opinion, everything that is wrong [and right] with the world today is because of Colonialism). Bollywood hasn’t helped matters… every time you see a non-professional photograph of a Bollywood actress at an event, look at her neck and hands. I dare you.

After seeing her, I was tempted to go out and protest wearing a t-shirt that says: Just because you look like a white rat, it doesn’t mean that you’re beautiful. Proudly Brown. But this has nothing to do with the naturally whiter/fairer people. It has to do with ludicrous ideals embedded in our societies and warped definitions of what it means to be beautiful. Being white does not mean you’re beautiful!!!

Yes we are all entitled to our practices and opinions but what if those practices and opinions begin infringing on other people’s basic human rights because surely walking around with a white face plastered on you says something about your beliefs and ideals. Does that mean that everyone else sporting any kind of hue or tone, who is NOT wearing a clown’s face, is not worthy by your standards? Such beliefs and ideals are indicative of oppression… the victim is clearly oppressed if she believes that she’ll only be accepted if she has blue contact lenses and powdered down white skin.

And what about the oppression to my eyes?
Dear Eyes
I’m so sorry that you had to bear witness to that monstrosity. I shall never look again.
Love Azra

Bottom line, a wake-up call is needed. And I am therefore instituting my “Proudly You” campaign in an attempt to get people to appreciate and love who they are, regardless of their skin tone, height, weight, hair texture and shoe size. Be proud to be YOU. Own the skin you're in. Accept and celebrate who you are, and make the most of it. Feel free to join me on this quest. I must have said it a thousand times already, but if you cannot love yourself, who is going to?

To all the clowns, I say this sincerely and out of genuine concern. Have some self-respect and wash that shit off your face. Stop embarrassing yourselves, you’re Asian!
Pics courtesy Google.


  1. if only there was a way to encourage those posers to use a more concentrated arsenic...

    incidentally, mixed race people make up 3% of the population, but nearly 40% of the top performers in sport; hamilton, obama, tiger woods, mariah carey, halle berry. mixed race DNA is stronger, faster, and smarter than our plain ol' Vanilla, Chocolate and erm, burnt burfi flavours.


  2. hit the nail. on the head.

  3. M Irfaan - As one of the "mixed race" I suddenly feel very special ;D
    I recently found out that I have Jewish ancestors (Mother's great great grandfather from yonder)... so thats a mixed breed practising Muslim with Jewish and Catholic connections, no wonder they stop me at every airport! lol

    mezba - Where I live it is terrible, I mean TERRIBLE! I wish I could take pics to show you just how terrible it is.

    I recently met with an acquaintance who, last year this time, was a completely normal human being. These days she sports an Elizabethean white face with green contact lenses, pink blusher and enough mascara to give Revlon a run for their money. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

  4. ahh great great grandfather on your mother's side. I thought we might have to start calling you Ezra. But it's ok. As you were, er, Azra.

  5. Skin colour is a HUGE issue in many different cultures. And the only way that we are able to change social stigma is one person at a time.
    It took me awhile to recondition the way I thought about myself but I can finally say…I am proudly brown!

    But ever so often I question it. Like when someone I know tells me, why do you wear that colour it makes you so dark? Or when a boy that I like doesn’t like me I wonder, if I was fair, would he feel the same. I know it’s stupid but this is the consequence of the social conditioning of snow white.

  6. Levi & Trinity... I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said "Be yourself, everyone else is already taken" ;)

  7. AA-

    You know, I don't mind it as much if the BG's are young and naive. After all, we all did stupid stuff when we were young and impressionable and simply wanted to 'fit in'.

    But I get really disgusted when older, more mature people are trying to be part of popular culture and what not. Shouldn't they have 'found themselves' by now and be comfortable in their own skin?!


  8. Mwahaha i loved this post.. i was falling off my chiar. I just didnt get round to commenting. There was a girl at college.. we used to call her, "Atta face." Ahahahahah *falls off chair again* yes im sorry im really mean but it was so funneh! (Atta meaning flour! go figure) :-P

    This also reminds me of a conversation i was having with hubs and his best friend who said something along the lines of being able to chisel off make up off some girls and being able to build an entire model of twin towers hahahahaahaha *coughs and falls*

  9. Naeem - I agree. What I find really disturbing is that these women (and men) are indoctrinated to believe from an early age that "white" means superior. And they grow up with these attitudes and expecations and enforce those beliefs on their own children. And thats the real problem.

    Zahera - lol, I know what you mean. I'm not talking just a little blusher and base, I'm talking white as a page stuff... it's really a spectacle to see ;)

  10. hahahahah.
    i still don't get why anyone would want to get dressed up to go to THE BAKERY at 9am. who are they expecting to see at that hour?
    my friend and i would pj it to the bakery at times, with our pink slippers and abaya and praying that no one that we knew would see us.

    i don't get it.

    family members should stop them from making spectacles of themselves. i once had these stupid sunglasses when i was around 15 and my brother called me a clown and my sister agreed. the idiots. i never wore them again.

    btw, i've seen tons of non-brown folk doing the exact same thing over here.
    so i'm not just going to classify it to just indians.

  11. Fatima - LOL. Alot of people do it. But the rate at which it has increased over the past few years amongst the Asian demographic in specific communities here in SA is phenomenal. I would actually go as far as to say that it depicts the epitomy of racism, that whole "class" ideology and low self esteem.

    I agree, your loved ones should be telling you when you look like a moron ;D

  12. Nose-reshaping, facial contouring and eyelid surgery to look more western. I've seen it a million times and it still surprises me. That must be one of my shortcomings... It starts out with wearing blue contacts. I've seen Indian girls wear them and only a week ago an Indonesian student of my did the same thing - until I made a comment about it and now she doesn't anymore... And what about famous Bollywood stars? They are almost always white-skinned (or at least light-skinned), especially the ladies. Now why is that? We know why. White is beautiful, baby! Once you go white, you know it's alright! And guess what? Blue eyes are beautiful. Just check this out: http://www.bollywood-stars.net/2007/06/15/top-10-actresses-who-ruled-the-bollywood/
    Of course, I'm not saying white people with blue eyes aren't beautiful. I'm saying you'd have to be a brainwashed narrow-minded dreamer to want to look that way, too. I know a lot of Indian people, and if there's one thing I've come to realise it's that within Indian circles it is often the case that light-skinned children are considered to be more beautiful than dark-skinned ones. Not surprisingly, dark-skinned children are even made fun of. One more thing before I go. Here's a sad anecdote about a very dark man that I know who disapproved of relatives living among other coloured people: http://rcbenglishclass.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-indian-girlfriend-was-at-party-that.html

    So tell me Azra, when do we order our blue contacts - two sets for the price of one, satisfaction guaranteed?

  13. RCB - Exactly! These practices are endorsed by the so-called Bollywood elite which further encourages these outrageous cultural norms and beliefs that they are nothing if they aren't Caucasian looking. The entire thing is a farce... if only people knew how stupid they looked to the rational world. I'm sure they have sales on blue contact lenses somewhere ;)