The coverage for the new social media campaign #UnFairAndLovely has been fast and amazing–-from posting pictures of dark South Asian women in places that they previously had been missing, the reporting has been powerful.
And yet, most major sites, like USAToday, and BuzzFeed are choosing to highlight just the South Asian origin of the movement, despite the fact that the hashtag was created by two South Asian woman, Mirusha and Yanusha Yogarajah, and a Black woman, Pax Jones, following a photo series made by the three of them. Also the hashtag has been made open to and used by a range of people of color on social media to highlight their individual stories with shadeism.
This story may be obscured by the fact that the hashtag is a direct play on the skin lightening cream Fair and Lovely which comes from South Asia and on Tumblr it’s been attached to the annual #ReclaimTheBindi week where Desi users post pictures of themselves in traditional regalia from the Motherland, but this lazy reporting rings pretty clearly of racism.
The need to share these personal experiences is important because they’re wholly not unique. Some people spoke about how colorism affected their mental health and sense of self-worth. Even within our own communities, these stories explained, we are not safe from racist backlash. Racism and colorism go hand-in-hand because historically fair skin meant a person belonged to a higher caste or was more European-looking and therefore more beautiful.
Some outlets are also only embedding posts made by medium or fair-skinned South Asian women, completely ignoring the goal of the movement AGAIN.
And that’s the fundamental issue with coverage of this campaign–how can a movement that is entirely about eradicating colorism and racism from ethnic populations be reported in a colorist and racist way?
Unfair and Lovely is not a South Asian movement, it’s an everyone movement because everyone is affected by shadeism and colorism.
And just to more fairly represent this campaign, here are some wonderful posts from the hashtag showing off beautiful melanin:
So much global #melanin love on the #unfairandlovely hashtag!!! love to see the cel… http://ift.tt/1RV3LBe pic.twitter.com/KHvJLQzxFp
I learnt to love myself too#UNFAIRANDLOVELY #BROWNANDUNBOTHEREDpic.twitter.com/tZ1wuv4WZ5
For when all those that question our friendship. This is Sisterhood #UnfairAndLovely #BrownandUnbotheredpic.twitter.com/2RmWl1ubtX