Racism in Asia | Are Asians racist on color and caste?

Racism in Asia
⟶ Racism in Asia
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It is a common notion that Europeans are racist. From the time of colonization till now, they are mostly known for their bad treatment towards other races. Recently, the Black Lives Matter movement in America has disclosed the discriminatory attitude of white Americans towards black people. But here the point to consider is that if only Europeans are racist? Well, what if we tell you that racism in Asia is more prevalent than in other continents? And it is engraved to that extent that nobody even feels it bad or takes a stand against it. But how is this possible that nobody feels discrimination and prejudices towards them? Read the complete article to understand the reality of this invisible Racism.


Racism in Asia and its Prevalence


The most interesting thing is that Asians are more racist towards their own race. It seems weird how a nation can have prejudice over its own race. Well, let me explain to you. Despite the majority having a range of warm, dusky brown to yellowish skin tones, Asians are obsessed with white skin. The prejudice against darker tones is highly prevalent in Asian countries. Similarly, the caste system is another example of being intolerant towards own race and nation.


Color-based Racism in Asia


In Asia, skin color determines superiority. People with lighter tones have more opportunities as compared to darker ones. Not only in the media or entertainment industry but in every field of life including dating and marriage, white skin is the preference. A color that a race doesn’t even possess naturally is its standard of beauty. The intolerance towards dark color forces people to use different methods to lighten it. It is not an issue of one or two nations, Almost all Asian countries are obsessed with white tones.

Asian people with different skin tones
Asian people with different skin tones


Dark Skin Stigma in India


In the subcontinent, especially in India dark skin tones are not acceptable. In the entertainment industry of India, most of the time girls with fair tones get more opportunities to appear on the big screen. Although there are some top actresses like “Dipika Padukone” and “Priyanka Chopra” who possess dark skin. Still, they have a long story of suffering and discrimination due to the color of their body.

Many actresses admitted going through medical treatments to become fair. This dark stigma hinders many girls to get more opportunities as fairer girls. A fair-toned girl has more chances to get married to a prestigious family. On the other hand, dark-toned girls always have to worry about their marriage. Because they do not fit the beauty standards of Indian men.


White Skin Obsession in Pakistan


Although the skin color of the majority in Pakistan is dusky brown, in northern areas girls possess fair skin as well. But things are no different in Pakistan as compared to India. Many actresses go through whitening treatments to look beautiful. An actress Amna Illyas has shared her experience of much efforts cameramen and makeup artists had to put on to make her look fair on-screen. According to her, there is always constant pressure of directors and producers on her to look white on camera. Similarly, top actresses such as Ayeza khan have claimed of using whitening products. The Chemical and beauty product industries earn high revenues by making low-quality skin destructive whitening creams.


Whiteness a Beauty Standard in Thailand


In Thailand people, whiteness means a key to success. According to many people, they can get more successful in careers if they become white. The obsession with white color is much extreme than in Korea and Japan. Thailand has a black market where the majority of people buy illegal whitening drugs and mercury-containing creams. Injecting chemicals to whiten the body is the new trend that causes kidney and liver disease later in life.

Those products can severely damage their skin and body organs but still people but want to get rid of dark shades. The dark color stigma is so prevalent that they think dark skin is unhealthy and white is healthy. Being dark is something highly unacceptable in Thailand. Even in normal discussions usually, people curse each other to get dark. Also, It is normal for advertising companies to relate whitening with job success and opportunities.


Koreans and White Skin Preference


The k-Pop industry full of pearly white skin and perfect body shapes is enough to indicate Korean preference for fair tones. Although the majority of Koreans have enough fair skin still there are many people with warmer tones. But not even a single Korean celebrity represents the darker shade. Also, the cosmetic industry and beauty products only display fair-toned models.

There is not as much stigmatization towards dark shades. still, color-based bullying is common at the school level. Rejection of dark skin is usually found in their jokes. Recently, a video went viral in which two BTS members were teasing each other for being a little darker than other members. The expression of the members who were getting teased was reflecting the unpleasant expressions of being called dark.


Caste-based Racism in Asia


The Indian caste system is a common example of intra-racial discrimination. There is a hierarchical structure in the sociocultural system of India. The castes of the lower hierarchy suffer from the most injustice. Other castes consider them as untouchable and even they are not allowed to worship the same deities. Marriages between various castes are the most restricted and cause many disputes in society.

Caste based racism in India
Caste based racism in India

Similarly, in Pakistan fraternity is the most common cause of discrimination. There are many people of the same religious groups separated based on beliefs. Each group consider believes of other as wrong. Marriages between different belief groups are prohibited usually. Many times disputes arise on different religious occasions due to variations of ideologies.

On the other hand, in Japan, different minorities are the victims of extreme discrimination and exploitation. These are the aboriginal castes Burakumin and the Ainu. Japanese people not only outcast their ethnicities but also call them polluted blood. Although there is no historical evidence of any heinous crime related to Burakumin and Ainu.


Why Asians are Racist?


The reason behind racism in Asia has its roots in the age of colonization. When the British arrived and occupied the Asian countries they initiated racial discrimination. British felt that they are superior to Asians in terms of color and race. The environment of injustice and prejudice they created left a never-ending impact. British discrimination created a perspective that the white color is a symbol of superiority.

Despite having a vast range of skin tones, Asians felt inferior. Even after the British left, the inferiority complex related to color and race remained there. Still, after a long time, there is a belief in Asian’s minds that a white tone demonstrates success and admiration. To overcome the complexity, till now Asian people only prefer white skin tone and they try everything that can make them fairer.

Anyhow, the world has advanced and people are moving more towards acceptance of other races and nations. Now, it’s a time for Asian people to accept themselves, their race, and their color. They should feel proud of who they are because they are meant to be unique. Similarly, the caste system is basically intolerance towards own people. Now racism in Asia should come to an end and they should embrace not only their selves but also their people.

Also, read about the dark side of the K-Pop industry. Learn how much K-pop idols go through to look beautiful. Is this worth it?

About the Author:

Aneeqa Iqbal

Former team member of NaeTaze.com
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