VCU ISA Stays FAIR and Lovely

As a freshman at such a big university, I was determined to get involved. The SOVO fair showed me many opportunities and in most, I had a fair chance. When I came across the Indian Student Association (ISA) table I was immediately greeted with smiling faces and welcoming gestures, and need I add, the smiles were on varying skin colored faces.  I wrote down my VCU email on the sign up sheet, said bye and went along to the next table.

Now, it’s 2:37 a.m. on Nov. 4; I just got back from the library and while getting ready for bed, I checked my phone and happened to see numerous posts about an article published in The Commonwealth Times. As a passionate writer and reader, I admire literature that can impact people and make them think, and the article “ISA, Prejudice is Neither Fair Nor Lovely” by Justin Joseph did exactly that. It clearly made an impact on many VCU students, and it definitely made me think.  


Aveeno’s positively radiant skin brightening daily scrub, Burt’s Bees Brightening Even-tone Moisturizing Cream and Sally Hansen’s Anti-aging skin Brightener are all extremely popular beauty products. I am sure not all buyers and users of these products are dark skinned Indian women. These products are not always bought to become more attractive by becoming fairer. These products are used and made to remove acne scars, protect from harsh sunrays and to moisturize.  As for the standard of beauty in Bollywood I would like you to Google the beautiful Konkona Sen Sharma, and my personal favorite Kajol. Both are successful actresses who are relatively categorized as darker women, but are equally beautiful, if not more, than the fair actresses.  



I am not going to argue and say that Colorism is not real, because it very much is; it’s just not real in the Indian Student Association at VCU. The VCU ISA Formal flyer that was found offensive was simply made to please the eye. The use of different colors, shades and patterns is a very basic understanding in the art of advertisement.  The organization has never turned anyone away based on their skin tone, or on any other physical appearance factor. 

Colorism is an issue in society, and should be talked about, but targeting an organization’s flyer for an event was a lucky shot in the dark. Everyone's perception of beauty is different; some people get tans because they think darker skin looks better, and some like to use skin brightening products to be fairer, but none of those were highlighted in the flyer. It was a flyer made simply to welcome VCU students to a night of food, music, and dancing.

I proudly speak as a medium skin toned woman of ISA at VCU.