12 Jan

Brown Girl In A Brown World

Rumaisa Hassan Khan


This took place a long time ago when I was a school girl. One of my aunts who was going to Saudi Arab to perform Hajj came to visit us. She was asking everyone if there’s anything they want her to pray for, thereby she asked me as well and I started listing the things I wish I could have.


“…aur dua krein k mein goori hojaun” (pray for me to get fair skin)


She laughed and began to tell me how attractive is brown skin and all the other things she obviously didn’t mean since I could see a film of greyness around her face which is caused by the overuse of fairness cream. At that moment my mother’s face was flushed with anger and disappointment. Later that evening, she told me how inappropriate I am & how I shouldn’t ever be permitted to open my mouth in front of the guests.


As the time progressed I started feeling sorry for what happened. Not sorry for speaking my heart out but sorry for the racism of the brown people inflicted on its own kind. We are in a dire need of Mandela and Martin Luther because instead of a white snob having a license to target a black guy, here everyone is licensed to pass comments on your inheritance.



​A brown girl is grown with the belief that she cannot match up the standard because she just cannot. So either she is found telling how fair she was as a child or how quickly she gets tanned or how she unfortunately takes after her paternal side.


You start watching a brown TV-show and you will find host telling you how to cease looking south-east Asian. You go to a market and you will see a good moisturizer making hundred times less money in comparison to cheap whitening creams and facial scrubs promising to turn you Caucasian!


Why are we so embarrassed about our race?! Is it because of the melanin which shields us from skin cancers?! Or vitamin D which strengthens our bones?!


What I wished as a child wasn’t unexpected and therefore I am not sorry for that but what makes me incredibly sorry is being brought up in the world which puts skin tone before skin condition. Indeed


“The hardest thing for a brown is to be in a brown world.”



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