Recently, protests and riots broke out in several states in the US, as citizens marched to condemn the death of George Floyd, allegedly a victim of racial profiling by police officers.
Consequently, #BlackLivesMatter trended on Twitter. Bollywood celebrities were also among those who condemned the racism on social media.
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There is so much work to be done and it needs to starts at an individual level on a global scale. We all have a responsibility to educate ourselves and end this hate. End this race war here in the US, and around the world. Wherever you live, whatever your circumstances, NO ONE deserves to die, especially at the hands of another because of their skin color. On May 25th, George Floyd was pinned down by the neck by a Minneapolis police officer and died. He laid there, fighting for his life, struggling to breathe, and other officers just stood there and watched. The officer has now been charged with murder. George, I am praying for your family. ❤️ Text “FLOYD” to 55156 and sign the petition. #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd
However, netizens have now called out celebrities for condemning racism on one hand, but, on the other, endorsing fairness creams.
List of Indian actors who are speaking on BLM and their fairness cream ads, a thread : pic.twitter.com/yUeRNLch6U— anti pigeon (@aluminiummaiden) May 31, 2020
Bollywood peeps: regularly endorse fairness creams, practice blackface, actresses whitewash themselves on screen, stoic silence on issues in India— Sunayana Bhatia (@sunayanabhatia) June 1, 2020
also Bollywood peeps: we condemn racism 10,000 miles away in America #hypocrisy
Bollywood really should shut the fuck up about police brutality and racism. You endorse fairness creams, cozy up to a fascist regime and act in a 1000 cop movies glorifying lawlessness and fake encounters! Hollywood la chance kadaikum na ishta pundai ku pesardhu!— Viswaram Natarajan (@viswaram87) May 31, 2020
Bollywood : All colours are beautiful (but we will cast white actress and we will endorse fairness cream through racism commercial ads) #MaanKiBaat— Swayamsevak Funk (@Bongtweeps) May 31, 2020
The very concept of a fairness cream caters to the concept of racism because it is based on the presumption that one skin color is more desirable and consequently, superior, to others.
Furthermore, fairness creams contribute to setting unrealistic beauty standards, primarily for women, but also for men. And yet, celebrities continue to promote them.
Earlier, Bollywood celebrities were also called out for their 'selective activism', because they chose to comment about what was happening in the USA, but offered no comment on the on-going religious intolerance and casteism in India.
love it when bollywood engages in selective activism, not because they actually give a fuck--but because it's fashionable.— maud gone (@fitzzherald) May 28, 2020
meanwhile they remain silent and complicit whilst their own country burns to the ground. pic.twitter.com/8l3npHjyuP
. @priyankachopra good to see your solidarity for #GeorgeFloydWasMurdered and #BlackLivesMatter. But why are you silent on institutional Islamophobic violence in our own India's police against Muslims and persons presumed to be Muslim? Please say #MuslimLivesMatter in India 🙏🏾? pic.twitter.com/D4xeSHiNcz— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) May 31, 2020
Celebrities often have a large, impressionable fan base, and these fans are influenced by their actions. When celebrities promote a product that contributes to the ideology of colourism, then he or she is also contributing to a world where racism and its horrifying results will continue to exist.
Because racism does not exist in a vacuum and instances of racial profile and violence are not isolated.