Masaba Gupta on facing racism: ‘Boys made fun of my shorts size, said they must be black from my skin’
Designer and actor Masaba Gupta has opened up on facing discrimination while growing up due to the colour of her skin and her parents’ unconventional relationship. Masaba is the daughter of veteran actor Neena Gupta and West Indian cricketing legend Vivian Richards. She was born out of wedlock.
In a new interview, Masaba said you need ‘a certain amount of grit and resolve to power through those moments’. She said the toughest time she faced was during school and immediately after that.
Talking to journalist Barkha Dutt on her Mojo Story, Masaba said, “It was reactions of friends and acquaintances, people who you thought had your back that affected me. A friend of mine brought up the colour of my skin every time I asked her about what to wear, what subject to study or what sport I should play. I thought it was bizarre. However, more than the colour of my skin, it was about the relationship of my parents. I remember being called a b*stard child a lot. Lots of boys in my school will ask ‘is she the ba**ard?’ I didn’t understand what it meant and I went and asked my mother when I was young and she explained it to me by the book. She said this is what it means and be prepared to get more of this.”
Talking about the cruel reactions she faced, “I played professional tennis in school and I was permitted to come late to the class as I was playing for the state. The boys in the class will open my bag, take out my underwear and toss it around. They would make fun of my shorts because I was a bigger girl. They would be like ‘is it all black inside from the colour of her skin’. You think you outgrow it but you don’t.”
In a recent post after Kamala Harris was chosen as the US Vice President-elect, Masaba had written, “You know when i was little & started to understand more about my ethnicity...the fact that I was a mixed child..half Caribbean & half Indian,I thought I was the only one of my kind.I used to think wow,masaba there possibly can’t be more like you out there. And then my world opened up,I travelled and on a trip to Antigua I discovered so many more of my kind. It was like looking into a mirror I could never find. And I felt a little less alone in my constant fight to understand racism-it was such a big word. In my fight to understand why I was different. I mean,it’s just so much easier to be like everyone else so you mix with the crowd in Mumbai,isn’t it ? But today I see @kamalaharris & I know different is so good. It’s so good that if you keep your chin up & work hard enough to break out of the color,skin,race box they put you in...you might just make history.”
“Madame Vice President,the first black woman / the first person of south Asian descent & more importantly just the first woman to be VP elect- I salute you & I plan to go back to my drawing board tonight & sketch bigger,brighter dreams for myself and the women who will come after me...mixed girls, just like us.”
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