South Asians in UK with darker skin suffer bullying, insults from kin: Study

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London– People of colour, including South Asians and Blacks, with darker skin in the UK were sometimes stigmatised by their parents, siblings and other relatives, a new research has found.

The study by King’s College London revealed that within families children with lighter skin were often favoured, while those with darker tones were subjected to insults and bullying.

Almost half of the 33 people, aged 19-60, who were interviewed said that they had witnessed the prejudice, or had been the target.

People of colour with light skin spoke about being favoured within their families.

A 33-year-old Black woman said she was given a lot of privileges in her family for having lighter skin.

A 43-year-old South Asian woman said: “Being younger, one of the biggest issues I had was with my mum always going on about how it’s better to be fairer, ‘you’ll only find a boy if you’re fairer and you’re only beautiful if you’re fair’. And I think that really got to me. How do you interpret that when you’re a young child?”

“Black” and “ugly” were common terms used by the families as insults, the research, which was conducted as part of the UK Skin Shade study, said.

A 31-year-old woman of Pakistani ethnicity told Aisha Phoenix, who led the study, that extended families would ask questions like, ‘How come your sister is so much lighter than you?…Do you not scrub your skin properly in the shower?'”.

Phoenix said that some families reproduced prejudices common in wider society, so that “darker skin was imbued with negativity”.

People of Colour with dark skin can be subjected to prejudice and discrimination from both members of their own families and society at large.

“The internalised colourism within some families contributes to the prejudice. However, some families resist colourism and work to instil positive ideas about dark skin or all skin shades,” said Phoenix, Lecturer in Social Justice, School of Education, Communication & Society, King’s College London. (IANS)


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