All this talk about Obama being the first “black” president of the US has prompted me to write about something that has been on my mind for some time.
A couple of months back, a series of strange billboards began appearing around Hyderabad. Each one showed a person asking if anyone had heard about “Street Smart Sudhaker’s” new flat. The billboard characters wanted to know the dirt, they had heard about his brand new digs, but didn’t know where or how and wanted the viewer to give them the gossip on Sudhaker. There was even an email address where you could send any information that you might have. Nothing appeared on the sign to tell you what particular builder these signs were for, but it was clear that it was an advertising campaign for a new development somewhere.
After over a month of this, the billboards suddenly changed overnight. Each billboard now sported a new person looking positively overjoyed and ecstatic, with phrases like “Yes, yes, this is Street Smart Sudhaker’s new neighbor!”, or “Meet Street Smart Sudhaker’s new neighbor!” Each one of these thrilled and over-excited people were 20 something’s. Fine, they are trying to appeal to the younger home buyer, I can accept that. But the thing that immediately drew my attention was the skin color of each of these individuals. Every one of them were several shades lighter than the average citizen of Hyderabad. It seemed that each and every one of Street Smart Sudhaker’s new neighbors was young and nearly “white”. I’m not certain where they all came from, as even mixed marriage expats generally have children who are darker skinned than these people, but apparently they’re here and they are all living with Sudhaker.
What message is this sending to this nation’s children? Why are these prejudices allowed to continue unchallenged in this day and age? When will we learn to cherish each and every person, regardless of race, class, or creed?
I had not expected to find this here in India.
It appears that our two countries are not as different as they seem…..