What is our Skin Colour Logic?

In South Africa, Mmusi Maimane announced his candidacy for DA (Democratic Alliance)in the coming national election. 

In the South African parliament led by the African National Congress(ANC), Democratic Alliance is the primary opposition. And all parties are heading for the general election declared for May,(7 May 2014). Originally a White liberal party, DA was in the wake of transforming itself into a multiracial party under Hellen Zille since 2007 who at the time of her retirement passed on the party baton to Maimane.

Well, it’s not for discussing Maimane's political chances in the election that I’m writing this post, but to express my thoughts on his wedding photo. Not that he married recently, but I came to see his wedding photo and read about his wedding recently. And he lives in an interracial marriage. So what? As far as South Africa is concerned, who marries who is not an issue here. Any two individuals love each other and are committed to a long-term relationship can decide to get married. And it is in their choice to go for a civil marriage or otherwise. 

Something also intrigued me when I read his wedding; the colour politics ruling marriages and relationships in Kerala, my motherland.

When it comes to other nations, we criticise them for the racial discrimination they practice. And we excuse our own discriminations arguing we have no race. That we’re a true non-racial nation with caste varieties, which is God-given and our hands are tied in solving any issues emanating out of that. And we're obeying God by barring one caste from the other when it comes to marriage. 

And then we associate skin colour with people's caste in a comical manner. The low-castes are black, and the premium-castes are fair. Funny!

In South Africa race is skin colour. You can see it at a glance, White, Black, Brown, or Coloured, etc. The reason is clear: they come from different races. Now I wonder, what skin colour logic can I apply to Kerala. I see there men of colour defeating charcoal, marrying fair women, from pale white, to chalk white and red white and vice versa. And they say, they are classic endogamous combinations. All religions and religious denominations indulge more or less in similar arguments. 

I know a young girl from Kerala whose mother is red white and who is on a hectic hunt to trace her ancestry to somewhere in Portuguese (Vasco da Gama, the coloniser explorer came to Kerala from Portuguese). No, her parents are not in an inter-caste or inter-racial marriage but originate from the same church and same denomination. 

The point is we are a people whose ancestors were practising serious interracial relationships at a time when even religions and castes were still awaiting their production stages. Only that can explain how within the same caste and family we are people of multi colours.  



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