Why I Refuse To Identify With The Word 'Gori'
Updated: Apr 23
So what does the word gori mean? In the Urban Dictionary gori is defined as a word used by Indians to describe white girls.....not particularly offensive. So if this definition isn't particularly offensive why don't I relate to such an innocent word. Sure, when children refer to me as the gori it is usually meant in an endearing manner. However I have experienced the less endearing connotations of gori.
Typically it is Indian men who will use this word to label me as a gori. Most of the times it is thrown around by lewd and drunk men who attempt to grope me. Or even men who will stare at me walking down the streets. I have heard people say to my husband be sure to bring your gori wife.
There is no question that the word gori has an objectifying and demeaning connotation in such instances. This is because of the negative depiction of white women in pornographic films and Hollywood movies. If an Indian Man is staring at you like you are the porn star he grew up with as a teen and he starts talking to his friends about you, the gori, it most certainly is not endearing but rather objectifying. Not only this, it also implies other characteristics of being a gori, such as sexual availability, drinks alcohol, smokes, has no cultural values and lack of respect to elders. So why should I identify with such a derogatory word?
Usually when people refer to me as gori I pay no attention to it. I only questioned the meaning behind it yesterday, when I attended a wedding. This lewd and drunk man came towards me from behind saying hello gori. He then placed one hand on the side of my waist and the other hand he attempted to grab my bust but managed to hurt my ribs instead. Then scurried away to the dance floor. This was a relative of my husband's friend, who was related to the bride. To think that he did this in front of another relative when he could clearly see I was standing with him. To make it even worse, he is a British Punjabi so lives within the western culture. So he knew better.
It is this connotation towards the word gori that makes me refuse to identify with such a word. Those who use it innocently do not fully understand the meaning behind such a word. Even many Indian songs use the word gori as a reference to fair skinned Indian women. The use of the word gori in this instance is objectifying a woman's beauty. So how is this any less derogatory? I guess the word beautiful or fair skinned woman doesn't have the same appeal in a rap song.
Having experienced the not so endearing connotations of gori, it is a word that I prefer not to associate with or even use myself. Especially when there are so many more adjectives that could be used such as Australian or even English, perhaps Caucasian or even beautiful if that is what the speaker truly means. There is simply no need to call me a gori wife when I am merely a wife. Or the gori, when you could refer to me as Caucasian or even just use the words fair skinned. So why would you even use gori unless it was intentionally derogatory?
Who else refuses to identify with such a word?