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Archive for the ‘Mental Bliss’ Category

My MLK Day Wish For India

In Mental Bliss on January 19, 2014 at 3:12 pm



Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Day in my home country. In honor of this, I would like to reflect on something I find horrific about my mother country of India—the fixation on skin color.

In 1954, racially segregated schools in the U.S. were finally declared unconstitutional. One of the major contributing factors to this ruling was the Clark Doll Experiment. The Clark Doll Experiment was a controlled study conducted by psychologist Dr. Kenneth Clark.  In his tests, Dr. Clark put a white doll and black doll in front of a black child ranging in age from 6-9. He asked each child questions regarding which doll was “bad” and which was “good”. Overwhelmingly more children identified the white doll as “good” and the black doll as “bad” as well as the doll that looked more like themselves. On an objective level, quite telling, on an emotional level, extremely heart-breaking . This experiment was repeated in the U.S. in 2005 on a smaller scale with similar results.

When I watch ads on Indian television that blatantly identify lighter skin as more attractive and desirable than darker skin, the Clark Test immediately comes to mind. If Indian children were subjected to the Clark Test, what would the result be? Would they also think that the lighter doll was “good” and the darker doll was “bad”? Based on the media messages I have seen, I do think they would also identify the darker doll as “bad”.  How ridiculously sad is this? How backwards is the relation of personal self-worth and attractiveness to skin color? Why is this ideal so widely accepted by people who seem progressive in many other ways? Why is this damaging message embraced and encouraged by well-known and respected celebrities?
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What Kind of Race Is It?

In Fitness Bliss, Mental Bliss on October 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I woke up at 4:30 in the morning on Sunday  to do the Adidas King of the Road race. I was not particularly enthused because I was not prepared—to be honest, I have not been prepared for ANY road race I have done for the last few years! However, I really wanted to follow through and earn a decadent lunch with friends, so I grudgingly got ready. I had also just turned 34 a few days ago, and for some reason it always seems appropriate to do a road race around my birthday. My main fears were coming in dead-last or my muscles—which have been tight from my new strength-training regime–making the run a miserable ordeal. In a move out-of-the-ordinary, I decided not to bring any hydration and rely on the provisions of the course—I realize I am probably making some people cringe with this statement! I was just in a lackadaisical state of mind!

As I sat quietly in the runners’ tent at dawn, I decided that I had to reframe my thoughts to make the next few hours bearable. I fired up my inner-dialog—and asked why. Why was I running this race? Yes Yes—yummy decadent lunch BUT what else could I get out of this experience?  Was it going to be another run where I lamented my lack of training and the fact that changes in my life have not let me focus on running as much as I have in the past? Would I bemoan my slower pace and curse myself when my legs did not do what I wanted them to do? I continued along this train of thought as I strolled to the starting corral. As the announcers attempted to fire up the reserved crowd—it dawned on me—this is my first Singaporean road-race.  I was going to go into this race with the mind of a journalist, philosopher and sightseer. I was going to do what my body told me to do, and see what happened.
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