My name is Chand Bhangal (@chandbhangal), and I'm an activist, content creator, and social media strategist from Brampton, Ontario! My pronouns are she/her, and I identify as an Indian-Canadian woman!
I grew up around a diverse group of Caribbean and other South Asian people. However, I'm Punjabi and didn't know any other dark-skinned Punjabi women like me growing up. Therefore, many from my community couldn't relate to my experiences with colorism, and I couldn't talk to them.
As a child, I heard comments about, "wearing long pants and sleeves to prevent tanning." I was told, "pink doesn't look good on dark skin." These remarks mainly came from family, cousins, elders, and I didn't know how to process them. All I knew was that it made me feel uncomfortable. There was a period of time when we moved around a lot. My skin complexion was often the first thing bullies targeted.
In high school, I was told to intentionally pick a prom dress that would make my skin appear lighter. At this point, I had convinced myself that I wasn't beautiful. My people, society, and culture, were always shaming my skin, and I thought to myself, "if everyone thinks this is true, they must be right."
I was naive to think that I would escape colorism in my 20s. I remember being at a party and while breaking up an altercation, a South Asian man tried to insult me by calling me the N-word.
Colorism is a social construct directly tied to anti-Blackness. Colonizers exploited a hierarchy determined by skin tone, with lighter skin seen as privileged over darker skin. Thus, a darker-skinned woman like me and my dark-skinned Black counterparts always received criticism over our dark skin. This way of thinking exists due to a lack of education and the inability to unlearn.
I am committed to resolving issues within my Indian community and hope that one day it is a safe space that ALL feel welcomed, celebrated, and respected.
Here's to melanin and all its glory!
Don't let others dim your brilliant shine.