Re: Racism and ancient history

William Belcher (
31 Dec 1996 07:10:26 GMT


The association of skin color with social class in South Asia is definitely
a complex issue - based on geography as well as many other factors. Based
on my experience in Pakistan and India, lighter skin color is more
desirable, hence the wide range of skin care products for women that
"bleach" the skin. Also many of my fishermen informants always talk about
wanted a lighter skinned wife, but they can't afford the bride price (in
the Pakistani Punjab, the ideal wife is an Afghani refugee as they have
extremely light skin). I have also overheard many of my workcrew refer to
an individual as low-caste and that you could tell because his skin is so
dark. Nothing academic here, just a few personal observations based on
friendships with a large number of working class Punjabi villagers.

Bill Belcher