Commentary on racial injustice committed by South Asian communities.
I was six when my family and I moved to the UK – a country, nothing like Pakistan. I didn’t know a word of English; there were no samosa carts on the road, it was exceptionally quiet, and people looked different. In short, my limited existence had very little experience being brown outside of South Asia.
I was apprehensive but excited, ready for my life to revolve around fun, food and a European love story. However, when I started school, I was visibly different. My lunches consisted of chapatis and leftover curries. There was a stark difference in my family life in comparison to my new friends. I would try and speak English, but with a different accent. But most importantly, I did not look like them.
But this wasn’t the first time I’d experienced being “different.” During the course of our life in Pakistan, I’d faced my fair share of colourism from, (un)surprisingly, my own community. As a child, I was encouraged not to play in the sun because it would ruin my “light skin tone.” Children around me were repeatedly told not to drink chai because it contained “skin darkening properties.” And to this day, South Asian children are taught names of fairness creams before they are taught how to read.