Colour Matters? The Truth That No One Wants To See
by Anuranjita Kumar
Publisher: Bloomsbury India (2019)
Colour Matters is the best book I read in 2019.
The book lists in-depth how skin colour has occupied a crucial space in public discourse. The importance an individual gets for being fair-skinned, and the neglect one experiences as a dark-skinned are too apparent in our society. To understand this, one does not have to look further than the newspaper matrimonial ads.
The book deals with colour discrimination and also with other manifestations of discrimination. It contains a lot of real-life instances of discrimination, including a few from the authors’ personal life.
The book is written in simple language. It is not just a rant but also contains solutions and suggestions on how to handle sticky situations.
The book is divided into six chapters. Each chapter begins with alphabets of the word `C-O-L-O-U-R’. The author has ensured that this book on the sensitive topic of colour, neither becomes preachy nor is downright dull. Each chapter contains related experience, learnings, and the conversations she had with her children on these topics. The conversations between the author and her children on adjusting to new cultures; enabling someone to adapt to Indian culture; and tackling colour discrimination are adorable. The conversations listed should set relationship goals for any parent!
Anuranjita’s connect with Sunita, daughter of a Dalit sweeper is heartwarming. What makes it a better story is Anuranjita’s mother encouraging this friendship. Preeti’s story is a reminder of what happens when we overdo the new converts role.
The author’s marital life is an excellent example of how love and not colour matters.
James, a black French national, has a traumatic personal experience while working in India. It makes a good case study for how potentially dangerous generalisation can be.
Let us make no qualms about it, even the self-declared broad-minded people view Muslims, with much suspicion. At the same time, a lot of us connect with them like we would with our kith and kin. The author has narrated an incident in the book, which is akin.
The author’s emotionally scary experience while holidaying with her family in Zurich is a grim reminder of how deeply entrenched is racism.
The conversation between the author and her children at the start of the Chapter `Love’ is heartwarming. Wish parents teach their children, acceptance of all races rather than parochialism feed to them by mean-minded politicians.
The problems faced by Indians from the north-eastern part of the country has been well discussed.
Anuranjita had a boss who was from Harvard University. He was tall, lanky and a black guy. At the beginning of his career, when he was working at the Wall Street, during breaks, he used to be sent out to fetch tea for others on the floor. This incident reminds us of the treatment that Dr BR Ambedkar received, in his short stint of working with the King of Baroda, as his Military Secretary. Peons used to throw files at him despite his academic credentials, and intellectual abilities.
Colour Matters is a must-read for individuals who have faced discrimination based on caste, colour, creed, religion, and region. It is an inevitable book for those who pretend such differentiation does not exist. The book is highly recommmended for those who feel superior due to biological reasons, to understand the feelings of those they may be trampling.
Colour matters, reading it matters for those who care for a discrimination-free society.