The stubborn, on-going pain, known as racism, is still very much alive and kicking. There is prejudice against dark skin in societies around the world; from Rhodes University to the fashion industry.
The #RhodesSoWhite social media campaign, which sparked at Rhodes University as an after effect of #RhodesMustFall, caused much controversy. The campaign was illustrated on the social media site Twitter, illustrating the bad experiences of black students, as a result of a lack of understanding about culture and race by some white students and staff
The campaign depicted the power of united students; as they took park in the solidarity march for the students at the University of Cape Town, following the desire for the statue of Cecil Rhodes to be removed. “As a foreigner, I don’t have a right to speak for the campaign, but I will say that there is a very noticeable and clear racial disparity at Rhodes, and I do feel sympathetic towards the students whom are affected”, exclaims Linguistics lecturer, Will Bennett.
The present racial disparity at Rhodes and other South African institutions is one which has been largely critiqued, and the #RhodesSoWhite campaign illustrates this. “Students enrolled in a university should be judged on their academic achievements, not the colour of their skin”, human rights lawyer Kim Wild explains. “There is so much more to achieve in the higher education system in regards to race. These campaigns are just stepping stones”.
Burberry recently first signed their first Indian model, Neelam Gill. To illustrate how proud they were, Burberry darkened the colour of her skin, in order to make her glow. This however has been disparaged by many; student Zakiya Chand, of Indian origin feels that “by doing that, it is a direct contradiction with regard to the concept of racial equality”.
This seems to be a new trend within the fashion industry, as agencies are darkening models skin to get a different effect. Critics are against this motion stating that they “totally disagree with them retouching skin colour; if they wanted a darker-skinned model then they should’ve hired one. On a personal level, it sends the message that their skin tone isn’t good or beautiful enough. There is so much that could’ve been done to make her face glow, but altering her pigment was unnecessary to say the least”, stresses journalism student, Tevin Tobias.
Racial discrimination has been on the Runway for many years now, and finally people are speaking against it; Naomi Campbell, Vivienne Westwood to name a few. Recently, Sudanese model Nykhor Paul has caused an up rage on social media site Instagram about racial discrimination within the industry.
Paul states that only one black model will get the job, causing tension between models.
This has been illustrated at New York Fashion Week, as well as on front covers of high end fashion magazines, including Vogue.
Although there seems to be improvements within the industry, it is clear that there are still racial problems which need to be resolved and fast.