Skip to main content

Colour bias............

Over the years, colour bias is one issue which have caught my attention. I don't want to write a long essay on the topic, which I will do sometime later. However, I will narrate one of my day-to-day experiences here in London. Whenever I am travelling by bus and there are no double seats empty (People are sitting in every seat either occupying one or two places) and if I am sitting in one of the seats with one seat to spare, I have observed that people from this country would search for people of their colour and sit. Sometimes, they remain standing even when seats are empty. I was sharing it with my friend who said he also felt the same in Germany. He said one thing which made me to think. He said when we are travelling in India by bus, we also follow a sort of same thing. If there are two single seats, one occupied by a fair and well-dressed individual and the other by not-so-well dressed individual, he said we would sit beside the former. We can be both victims and perpetuators of colour or any other bias.
Recently, I read an article on the same topic in Business Standard ( written by (Sunanda K Datta-Ray on Colour bias).


Ramnath said…
Hi Johnny, you are very right in saying that "We can be both victims and perpetuators of colour or any other bias."

It's very interesting to see how the whole thing works.

One of my professors at college used to say that there could be no end to downsizing. Pareto principle (20% contributes to 80% of output etc etc)would continue to apply even anfter many iterations. Let's say, you have 1000 people and you fire the 200 who are least productive and end up having 800. Even in this 800, you are likely to observe 20% doing exceptionally well, and 60% average and another 20% not very productive. (Managers generally dont get too obssessed with the rule, because even the first downsizing yields results and make shareholders happy) However, the point is this: what characterises a big group would characterise its subgroup too.

Do you remember, we discussed how CK Prahalad's Bottom of the Pyramid ideas (where he talks about the world's poorest) applied to platinum jewellery market too. The people who are at the top of the pyramid also behave the same way as people at the bottom; because the top most part is a pyramid by itself.

Recently, when I went to saloon for a haircut, I heard the barber say that one of his colleagues didn't invite him to his home because he was rather ashamed at how small and untidy it was. The barber himself looked so poor - and it sounded ironic.

AT the bottom of all these, I think is human nature itself. We constantly compare ourselves with others. And this comparison by definition leads to judging whether the other person is superior or inferior to us. This comparison takes place in every one - rich and poor; beautiful and ugly; intelligent and less intelligent - irrespective of where you are in the social or economic ladder.

The only ones who are free from this, I guess, are the spiritually evolved people, who see everyone as a reflection of God.
Arun said…
Nice Observations from John and Ramnath. Thought provoking!

But not all of this country's men who did not sit next to John can be labeled as 'biased'.

Let me prove it,
Just take this hypothetical situation, You enter into a bus having only one seats which are empty besides
a british guy, an indian guy and a chinese guy. Who would we choose?

I guess you made ur choice by now.
But why we choose, cannot be diminished to one factor 'Colour Bias'. It takes so many other factors,
Like age, sex and their looks( do they look CULTURED or decently dressed)n their moods( irritated, or calm or grumpy or smilin) their interests( one with musical instrument, or one having a bible or one having a newspaper)etc...

If i see a grumpy indian guy shouting over the phone, I would never choose to sit beside him.
Another thing that goes in the mind, is whether they ll disturb you, or they ll spit on you or do they stink?

I do agree sometimes, we know it is strictly only the skin color issue as pointed out by John.

What can we do abt that?

One of my friend said this,
'When my choices reduce after the above initial consideration,I will just choose to sit next to 'the supposed to be the most inferior colour'.
I did sit for a couple of times like that. I felt It wasnt enough, just me acting like that. I thought I was just one drop of water on
sun-scorched barren land.
But rain is constituted by million drops.'

If everyone who reads this, tries to do that, Its gonna make the land fertile -- and The world ll ve a beautiful soul!

Dont you agree?

Popular posts from this blog

Being hopeless....

Three months back when my mom was visiting me, she experience heart palpitations for two consecutive nights. Worried I called my cardiologist friend who asked us to visit him in the government hospital on that day as it was a non-OPD (out patients day) duty for him. Apparently non-OPD days are less crowded. As we sat waiting, we saw many worried parents bringing their just born babies to treat serious heart problems. What struck me were the faces of these parents - a feeling of hopelessness. This was their last hope to treat their infants in a state-run hospital as they don't  have money to take them elsewhere.

Fortunately, the staff at this government hospital were treating patients sympathetically. I hoped the patients would have got the best of treatment available. In comparison, patients were treated as cattle herds at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India's premier hospital. To get an cardio OPD appointment, you will have stand in the line from 5 PM …

Happiness, street vendors, and negotiations......

Few days back I was watching a documentary series, "India's Frontier Trains". The three-part series was on trains connecting India with its neighbours - Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. Yes, there is a train connection between India and Nepal, and that train is the only functioning train for the whole of Nepal.

In the episode on the train between India and Bangladesh, the program documented a life of a chocolate seller inside the train. He boards the train in the Bangladesh side of the route. A sole bread winner for a family of four, he earns by selling chocolates in the train.

He faces a perennial problem: because of hot weather conditions, his chocolates melt. In those hot days, his earnings are meager. A basic cooling device like this costs seventeen pounds and he couldn't afford that.

What moved me was the insensitive nature of some passengers in haggling with this struggling chocolate seller. They would force down the price by 10 pence or more (which is more tha…

With no choice and voice….

Last Sunday I took a friend of mine to the emergency gynecology ward in one of Delhi's private mission hospitals. It was a lean day with not much of activity and I was chatting with my friend's husband, it was then I noticed a pregnant women walking in along with two of her relations. They have been referred to this hospital by the nearby government hospital as the private hospital would take better care of her. The reason: the estimated weight of the baby she was carrying was grossly under-weight, measuring only 1.2 kgs even after nine months of pregnancy. She was in great discomfort as her membrane broke, and sat next to me in a wooden bench.
In the meantime, I saw a lady doctor talking angrily out of frustration with relations of this pregnant lady, including her husband. With little knowledge of Hindi, I couldn't follow the conversation. Another friend had come by this time, and also a senior doctor was summoned by the lady doctor who first talked to pregnant lady'…