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  • Airbrushed it out

    by Sunny
    22nd July, 2006 at 3:53 pm    

    Following on from my last post, it seems Glamsham has hurriedly changed Bollywood actress Rimi Sen’s racist quote from ‘He can make even a black African look pretty‘, to a more neutral ‘He can make anyone look pretty‘ (thanks Gaurav). I didn’t get in touch with them over it.

    But I have contacted Yahoo, who still carry the original statement (screenshot). Unless Glamsham publishes an apology on that article for publishing the statement, I’ll still be pressing Yahoo to take them off the feed.

                  Post to

    Filed in: EDL,Media,Race politics

    27 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Katy Newton — on 22nd July, 2006 at 4:00 pm  

      I find it bizarre that they edited the quote instead of just removing it, to be honest.

    2. xmlsi — on 22nd July, 2006 at 4:46 pm  

      shouldnt Rimi Sen be the one apologising..

    3. Jackie Brown — on 22nd July, 2006 at 4:56 pm  

      Why remove it? Obviously it was her honest opinion and no one else surrounding her- PR person, agent, movie production etc thought it was glaring wrong- then we have to let her reflect who/what she ,her culture, profession and environment thinks. Attractiveness is after all a subjective topic.

      You don’t even have dark skinned Asian stars in Bollywood—please don’t tell me that Bipahsa Basu is the darkest shade Indian’s come in. If all the darkie movie going public in India don’t have a problem with it—why should blacks outside of India?

      I might depending on the context have a problem with a line such as “he can even make blacks seem smart/hygienic/religious etc”- but considering who and where the audience is for this why bother? Awkward analogy- white guy in the movie CRASH demands that a line spoken by a black actor be edited so that it sounds more ‘black’. Cleaning up this comment is the same thing in reverse; You wish people in Bollywood wouldn’t sound so ignorant. As brand India grows- and realizes the power of the international dollar- they will get with the program.

    4. Sunny — on 22nd July, 2006 at 5:53 pm  

      Attractiveness is after all a subjective topic.

      It is still a racist statement. I would consider anyone saying ‘Asian people are ugly’ as racist too.

      Yes I wish Bollywood stars weren’t so ignorant and racist, but unless we force them and the media to clean up their act things won’t change. The same happened in the UK. Unless it becomes unpoliticall correct to become racist, the same attitudes will persist.

    5. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd July, 2006 at 7:04 pm  

      JAckie Brown,

      “I might depending on the context have a problem with a line such as “he can even make blacks seem smart/hygienic/religious etc”- ”

      “Attractiveness is after all a subjective topic.”

      I think they are all subjective. It was a bad comment in my opinion and reflects the idea that dark skin people cant be attrative because of their skin color, or they cant be smart because of their skin color, or they cant be hygienic because of their skin color, or religious, etc.

    6. Jackie Brown — on 22nd July, 2006 at 8:44 pm  

      My point was her views were *accepted* by all those around her. Its no sense trying to get to point E when everyone is still thinks moving to point B is too radical. You can’t know what point someone is at if you muzzle them from speaking freely. A significant portion of the population in India does not look (skin tone) like the stars on the screen in Bollywood- that marginalization is accepted and perpetuated. Her comment just reinforces the status quo; fair=lovely. The darker people can pretend there no inherent problems with this; after all -they are not black Africans. A society that equates darkish brown with undesirable is not ‘ready’ to see black as beautiful.

      Of course Sunny is right minded/noble to point this out- and look for accountability—he should care that this narrow mindedness is contested in his society. From an Afro-point of view I don’t think political capital etc should be wasted on getting some other group’s acknowledgement of me as being pretty. (plenty of mirrors in my house :)

    7. Katy Newton — on 22nd July, 2006 at 8:59 pm  

      I think that the comment should have been left as it was or removed. I have a problem with it being rewritten to make this weird racist actress lady look like a normal reasonable human being.

    8. Bikhair aka Taqiyyah — on 22nd July, 2006 at 9:23 pm  

      Katy Newton,

      In any event, our true opinions will be reflected in the people we choose to love and not love. She can say what she wants but she will not get much love in America with that where Black has been beautiful for sometime now. Its a good thing blacks have got the larger society so “shook” about their ethnicity that people watch what they say.

    9. Bikhair aka Taqiyyah — on 22nd July, 2006 at 9:28 pm  


      I dont know if you have ever seen Spanish speaking T.V. in the states that cater to our growing Latino community but if you watch their news cast, morning shows, games shows, or the notorious Novellas (soap operas) it is the same phenonemna. All the actors are light skinned while the only time you see the Indians, those who arent either white or mestizo (mixed race) are the ones fighting like dogs on the talk shows. Hook up to Univision and see for yourself.

    10. Sabarish Sasidharan — on 23rd July, 2006 at 12:24 am  

      We can’t expect Rimi Sen and many other such actors, actresses to be politically correct, pure, sweet, truthful and straightforward. Can we? In fact i hate it whenever they hit headlines with their opinion on current political state of affairs (though this is not such a case).
      Suppressing their talk will only prevent us from knowing what they really think. I think that that matters a lot too.

      Though iam digressing a bit, can you tell me how you are going to react to her movies? I mean, would you be boycotting them or still watch them for what they are without worrying about the real nature of the person who acts in them?

      I for ex know that a malayalam comedian called Jagathi has quite a few infamous sexual affairs to his name. But then people have never boycotted his films. He continues to make people laugh. And he would also be laughing at the same people who laugh at his antics on screen.

      And should we actually be pressing glamsham for cheating us all by modifying it instead of pressing yahoo to take it off? If more people know her attitude it, they can react better.

    11. Chris Stiles — on 23rd July, 2006 at 2:51 pm  

      We can’t expect Rimi Sen and many other such actors, actresses to be politically correct, pure, sweet, truthful and straightforward. Can we? In fact i hate it whenever they hit headlines with their opinion on current political state of affairs

      Ah .. but they are our new royalty - it actually works as a comparison as long as you only think stereotypes.

    12. Vikrant — on 23rd July, 2006 at 3:00 pm  

      Talking of racism in bollywood, just this afternoon i was watching Phir Hera Pheri tis afternoon. Suniel Shetty clearly refers to an African gangster as “kalle sand” meaning ” black bull ” .

    13. seasons2006 — on 23rd July, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

      Come On
      We are humans.
      Being politically correct all the time is like walking with a pot full of hot oil.
      always Cautious.
      all of us are brought up with some prejudices and they do show in our behavior at times.
      Talking about movie stars, quotes by them get un-necessary publicity anyway !

    14. seekeroftruth — on 23rd July, 2006 at 3:55 pm  

      Isn’t this also racism?

      THE SUN’s whole coverage on the Lebanon-Israel problem seems to be about how Omar Bakri the nutter is getting a taste of his own medicine now that bombs are dropping over Beirut. It just gives a ‘feel good’ factor over the whole bombardment. Such extensive coverage of Bakri also seems to give the impression that what kind of people are on the Lebanese side.,,2-2006330791,00.html

    15. Sunny — on 24th July, 2006 at 5:02 am  

      Seeker - Well it was annoying they were focused more on Bakri than the other carnage in the city.

      I’m not asking for her to be censored, or for her words to be changed.

      My point is that unless we challenge racism where we find it, among others or among ourselves, then we cannot defeat it. Of course I’m going to pick up on bigots and challenge them, that is my aim as it states in the mission statement.

      Without challenging the media’s complicity in this we cannot hope to change perception and the way racism is dealt with. This is not a call for censorship, but rather challenging those who perpetuate it. That includes Glamsham, Yahoo, and of course Rimi Sen.

    16. Fatwadodger — on 24th July, 2006 at 10:20 am  

      Hear, hear. Actually there are loads of ‘dark’ (relatively speaking) actresses in Bollywood - they just lighten up thanks to make-up/surgery/lighting (anyone remember Hema Malini and Rekha in the 80′s - look at them now!)

      I’m still blown away by the ignorance of many seemingly bright Pakistanis (that’s my background) back home, even within my own extended family who are always trying to get me to rub domestos on my own face.

      At least in India there is a movement among women to challenge this - in Pakistan people look at you as though you are mad if you consider skin colour to be neutral in the beauty stakes.

      And not just back home, I have a distant British-born ‘auntie’ in Bradford complaining recently about how her beautiful eight-year-old daughter looks ‘dirty’.

      It’s going to take outspokeness on the part of us darkies and a ‘black and proud’ mentality to change attitudes.

      I don’t agree with what Jackie Brown said. Bollywood people need to be told that their attitudes are shallow, ignorant and stupid. Not to mention racist. It’s not ok to be culturally relativist about these things and say ‘ah well, we all know Indians don’t like dark-skin so why have a go’.

      Not only is this attitude racist towards black people, but it contributes to the negative self-image of literally millions of women across the world, who think they can never be fair enough.

      Things are changing. None of my immediate family or Asian friends give a monkey’s about skin colour. And my mum was recently checking out a beautiful very dark-skinned Ghanaian girl at a wedding we went to, mainly because she knows that race and skin-colour mean jack shit to my brother.

      But it’s going to take concerted resistance by Asian women (and men!)and no apologies for being dark-skinned before there is a real change. I’m proud to say I think that’s where British Asians are leading the way and sooner or later our Bollwood cousins will have to follow (I mean, they followed the west on dress, dodgy MTV-style dance routines and anorexia, so why not this?)

    17. Jackie Brown — on 24th July, 2006 at 11:48 am  

      Good on you! It is for dark skinned Asians and those Asians that can see that dark does not mean ugly to fight this battle. It’s no good telling a Bollywood person that they are wrong about Africans. Why should they care? That’s not their primary market. I’m too cynical to think people change out from ‘seeing the light’ more like they change from seeing the $/£ sign.

      I guess I give the actress more credit than thinking she is just plain racist. She equates dark with ugly- not matter what. Her comment tells ‘ugly/dark’ Asians to stay in their place, but gives them an out. She knows who lines up to see her films (the majority dark skinned Asian public). As I said they can pretend this doesn’t apply to them- since they will be the first to say ‘I’m not black’. I had this conversation with a good friend of mine who calls me fair – my friend is Asian. He also mentioned Bipasha Basu (who is *several* shades lighter than him) as being dark. I didn’t want to press it with him- but if that girl is ‘dark’ that would make him black- and that’s just a no go area.

      The argument is not why Bollywood should think afro people are beautiful. It’s about why so many Asians continue to support this shadism. Of course it’s not unique to Bollywood. However there is progress in other groups. I remember watching R&B/ hip hop videos back in the day- the desirable girl was always always white or mixed race looking. That’s definitely changed. [Now if we could just get rid of ‘weave mania’ it will be all good!] I’m sure Latinos and others will take up the banner as well.

    18. Rohin — on 24th July, 2006 at 1:07 pm  

      Shadism. Good word.

      I’m quite shocked how some people like seasons2006 have come to her defence as if this is some argument about political correctness. This is nothing to do with being PC, this is racism. Or shadism.

      Interestingly, I was at Cineworld on Saturday (for Superman) and we were queueing next to a poster of her movie. My girlfriend said “look, there’s your racist friend, she’s so dumb” or words to that effect and a family overheard and asked what she was talking about. We explained and the family just nodded along, smiled and went to see the movie. They - a typical Hounslow Asian family - couldn’t care less. THIS is the attitude that needs to change more than Rimi Sen’s herself. The acceptance.

    19. Sunny — on 24th July, 2006 at 3:21 pm  

      Jackie - I think this sort of stupidity needs to be challenged by everybody. I’m quite light skinned to the extent that people don’t actually believe I am of Indian origin sometimes. But that doesn’t mean I’ll go along with these racist attitudes. Similarly I’m a feminist, but without the vagina. That doesn’t stop be from demanding more equality.

      You also said: Its no sense trying to get to point E when everyone is still thinks moving to point B is too radical.

      I disagree. I think most Indians are aware of the racism and discrimination and don’t want it, but are suckered into the system and afraid to speak out. I’m not.

    20. fotzepolitic — on 24th July, 2006 at 6:07 pm  

      Isn’t it possible that the journalist left that comment in for a reason? Say, to specifically show her up as being ignorant? I would totally leave a quote like that in if I were reporting on it, knowing that readers would flip. Why make her look smarter than she is? So pressuring yahoo just seems pointless — celebrities do and say stupid stuff all the time, that’s why gossip rags and sites exist. You want to ban an entire site from a news feed because they quoted some dumb-arse celebrity opinion?

      I’m not saying her thoughts are in any way acceptable, but I just know that if I were writing a story on her, that quote would be too good (controversy! more readers!) to leave out precisely BECAUSE it’s so horrible.

    21. gunjan — on 24th July, 2006 at 6:26 pm  

      This women obviously doesnt realise how big bollywood is in africa & the damage she’s doing to the industry & India in general by making such stupid comments publicly.
      I think she should appologise & hopefully that would discourage others from making such comments in the future.

    22. John Palubiski — on 24th July, 2006 at 7:20 pm  

      Sunny, even here in Canada when one reads the personnels in Indo-Canadian publications practically every male seeking a female insists they be “light-skinned”.

      What,s weird, though, is that dark-skinned people never notice how much trouble ( and even danger) white-skinned people go through just to look darker.

      Girls with straight hair have it curled. So much so, in fact, that by the time many of them are 40 they need a wig.

      Both white boys and white girls roast in the sun for hours, even at the risk of developing skin-cancer, just to get a stupid tan.

      And lately, thanks to Pam Anderson et al, we have the pneumatic *fishlips* look wherein even though you’re lilly white your lips are nonetheless African.

      So let’s see, here; I’ve curled my hair, I’ve tanned my body and I’ve fattened my lips and yet, boo-hoo, I’m still “white”.

      No one, it seems, likes their “racial” type

    23. sybil — on 29th July, 2006 at 4:17 pm  

      She is crazyyyyyyyyy who the hell do she think she is? SHe aint even beautiful like some of them actresses. Black is beautiful so she can take that shit, and shove it

    24. Emi Joseph — on 30th July, 2006 at 2:26 am  

      Her quote was based up on her ignorance. How can she judge someone based upon skin color? It is ridicolous for an Indian to say something like that!! India is a country filled with diversity of people ranging from the tone of skin, languages, and culture. I think she needs a reality check! To be honest, Remi Sen is not even beautiful. Her lips looks like a chicken’s ass, all plouted out, lol!!! Even her eyes are like a drunkads’. Let’s see how much airbrushing does my remarks need?

    25. rakesh — on 30th July, 2006 at 6:42 am  

      Big deal! Why did they remove the comment? That was her opinion. How can black people be beautiful? I think the same way too.

    26. Sunny — on 30th July, 2006 at 1:16 pm  

      Yes, and you’re clearly stupid like her too Rakesh.

    27. Missy — on 4th August, 2006 at 9:06 am  

      You Indians and all the Rakeshes clearly need a reality check!! Most Indians I’ve encountered in my travels are dark skinned. You’re entrenched so profoundly in the abyss of denial that you believe your own hype. White people look at Indians as ni**ers just the same as any other dark skin of any country. That’s reality for you.

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