Faces Hidden By Racism: An Online Photo Exhibition
TO VIEW OUR OTHER ONLINE PHOTO EXHIBITIONS CLICK HERE.
If you were to meet any of the women featured in the pictures here, would you look at their appearance and assume they are from India?
WOULD YOU SAY THAT THEY LOOK INDIAN TO YOU?
For most people both within and outside India — these faces are not ‘typical’ of what they expect an Indian woman to look like. Indeed, these faces hardly ever appear in Indian media, movies, politics, advertisements, and sports.
Yet, despite their “minority” representation in India’s public sphere or national identity, these faces are not necessarily a “minority” in their actual existence. For eg. seven of the North-Eastern states of India have communities of people with oriental features!! SEVEN WHOLE STATES! Which makes you wonder, why aren’t these racial features acknowleged as being ‘typically Indian?’
The racism that underlies this form of marginalization is particularly significant in context of the subordination and oppression of women in India. Even among third world countries India ranks at the bottom of the global gender equity index. A 2011 a study of 79 less developed countries had India at number 75! When being a woman is cause enough for social oppression, racism compounds various forms of gender persecution for many of the women represented in this post.
In the Northeastern states for instance, the systematic rape and violation of women by the armed forces has now become a serious national and international human rights issue. Even otherwise, when women from the Northeast move to other parts of India for work or study, they face abuse and physical and sexual violence not just because of their gender but also because of their race. They are also subjected to racial slurs like “chinki”, “momos”, “thukpas” and “noodles” and often feel like aliens in their own country.
THE ONLINE PHOTO EXHIBITION IN THIS POST IS CREATED FROM THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE 2400 PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO SUPPORT THE 50 MILLION MISSING CAMPAIGN ON FLICKR.
THE PURPOSE OF THIS ONLINE EXHIBITION IS TO ASSERT THE RIGHT OF THESE WOMEN — THEIR FACES, THEIR FEATURES, THEIR RACES, AND THEIR CLOTHING — TO BE RECOGNIZED AND AFFIRMED AS BEING MAINSTREAM INDIAN AS ANY OTHER. SO CLICK ON THE PHOTO MONTAGE ON TOP TO VIEW THE EXHIBITION AND THE NEXT TIME YOU MEET SOMEONE WHO LOOKS LIKE THIS BE SURE TO SAY “SHE LOOKS INDIAN!”