Most of us were teased and marginalized because of our skin colour and/or physical features or because of the stereotypes associated with our skin colour. Some of us would do anything to not be associated with whatever our skin colour represented. Of course now that we’re at the adult stage of first-or-second generation immigrants, mindsets have mostly changed for the better and we rarely face that kind of blatant racism.
Although when people add someone’s race at the end of a compliment, they imply that they are surprised that someone of non-white race, is attractive! That they even have the ability to fall under the standards of white “conventional beauty”. That a person from a race they once thought as inferior to them is actually aesthetically and physically appealing in their eyes.
What they’re actually doing is reinforcing all the self-consciousness you might have already had about your skin colour and/or race growing up. And this applies to every race, not just brown people.
So to all people who think they’re paying a compliment on someone’s appearance by adding “for a [insert race/skin colour]girl/guy”, here’s the reality check: When you are basing beauty and/or attraction on skin colour or race, you are being racist.
And to those who are defending themselves right now as they’re reading this thinking “How is it racist though? It wasn’t intentional. I thought I was being nice.” This is what you call a microagression; a form of intentional or unintentional form of discrimination, is used on a daily base and often goes unnoticed but it is still discrimination.
It’s unfortunate as there are so many non-white girls and guys that feel proud and happy when they receive this kind of “compliment”. As if they have finally been accepted. That they have reached someone’s “superior” standards. In fact, some of the inspiration to write this piece came from my 14 year-old brother.
He attends a predominantly Caucasian school, and often he’d tell me stories of his friends or what happened at school and I’d usually just tune out. Except this one time. He was saying how his friends were joking around that “[He] is not like other brown people though. Like a white man in brown skin, like a Kinder-Surprise!” and my brother continues that he’s glad they think he’s “whitewashed”, because it means he’s doing something right. And then I proceeded to lecture him.
Regrettably, we do it to people of our own race and/or other races as well, and do not realize it. Usually, when my friend and I noticed a brown guy we would say—especially if we’re with our non-brown friends—“Wow he’s good-looking… For a brown guy”. Why? Well that’s for another piece written by yours truly.
So the next time someone says, “You’re cute for a [insert race here]girl/guy”, say, “Thanks, but just so you know ALL [insert race here]girls/guys are hella cute.” Remember, don’t conform to the thought that you’re not good enough based on your skin colour because people of all shades, are beautiful. Most importantly, as long as you feel comfortable and happy in your own skin, then that is the only beauty standard you need to adhere to.
P.S. I’M SO SORRY TO ALL THE BROWN/TAMIL/DESI GUYS OUT THERE, I WAS YOUNG AND IMMATURE.