Tannistha Chatterjee, Skin Tone and Racism

Actress Tannistha Chatterjee recently walked out of Comedy Nights Bachao. She had serious objections being roasted on her skin color. Ms. Chatterjee dubbed the channel and script writers racist. I personally think, Ms. Chatterjee was right in walking out of a show she was not comfortable participating.

Personally, I think the practice of judging people on their skin color is abhorrent. In India we have a deep seated obsession towards people with fairer skin. Matrimonial sections of our news papers are full of adverts that ask for fair skinned bride and groom. Our superstars, male as well as female, advertise for products that can improve skin tone. These are social biases, definitely. We are prejudiced people. But does this make us racist?

That is how many people in India address others they consider outsiders. They will call a person from West Bengal as BANGALI. Anyone south of Bindhya, will be called MADRASI. People from Rajasthan will be called MERO, and those from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar will be called KHOTTA.  Africans will be called KAALU. These are insecure and ignorant people. Many do not even realise that they are offending another human being. May be their behaviour reflects their  upbringing. But I do not think these people are racists. If one can tolerate initial boorishness, then they are nice people.

I think, people writing script for Comedy Night Bachao in Colors channel are not very intelligent, narrow minded and have a very poor sense of humour. These guys do not know what constitutes satire and when they are crossing over into  personal space. Recently, one of the scriptwriters of Comedy Night was interviewed in a radio show. In his usual bravado he said there is no question of apology to Ms. Chatterjee. She had come to the show knowing it was a roast format. No wonder, Comedy Night Bachao has a poor viewership. 

The roast conducted by AIB on Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor was also extremely obscene to many peoples sensibility. It was argued that freedom of expression must be allowed to flourish and people must decide whether they want to listen to such roasting. I think same standard must be allowed for Comedy Night Bachao also.

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