Bobby Jindal (right) and Jindal’s whiter version
Twitter

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was the talk of Twitter Tuesday night because of a painted portrait. The painting was tweeted by Louisiana blogger Lamar White Jr., who stated that it was the governor’s new official portrait. Immediately, the painting gained attention on social media because of the obvious difference in skin color:

https://twitter.com/CenLamar/status/562714774287695873

And the jokes began:

https://twitter.com/youngsinick/status/562748868111380480https://twitter.com/KenziGreen/status/562749303119417344https://twitter.com/MattBinder/status/562749853110108163https://twitter.com/Eric_Haywood/status/562750183122149379https://twitter.com/LisaMcCray/status/562750779682222080

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Soon after people started joking about the portrait, Jindal’s chief of staff, Kyle Plotkin, tweeted that the photo wasn’t the official painting, but one donated by a constituent. Plotkin posted the “official” official portrait:

https://twitter.com/kjplotkin/status/562763969543544832

OK, so now he looks like a tanned white man. Not the brown man he is in real life. 

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https://twitter.com/LetMicahDown/status/562766653185085440https://twitter.com/captain_panties/status/562766691965620228https://twitter.com/MariaLiaCalvo/status/562768119882842113/https://twitter.com/PykeA/status/562772922939764738

So maybe the constituent who painted the portrait ran out of brown paint. Or maybe he or she painted Jindal a tad bit lighter because it’s his or her own perception of him. Imagine if the constituent painted portraits of other brown people? Well, of course, because of the power of social media, #JindalPortrait was created:

https://twitter.com/heyprofbow/status/562777675623043072https://twitter.com/FarajiDC/status/562774104961728512https://twitter.com/msbellows/status/562770752232255489https://twitter.com/jbouie/status/562757601008832513https://twitter.com/KeenePOV/status/562761441888202752https://twitter.com/timehugs/status/562777575882518528

The not-so-funny reality of Jindal’s portrait (both official and unofficial) is that although Jindal was born and raised in Louisiana, his parents are from Punjab, India. And he is clearly and unmistakably brown. One of the biggest moneymakers when it comes to cosmetics in India happens to be skin-whitening cream. Companies such as Unilever, the same company behind Dove’s Love the Skin You’re In campaigns, continue to perpetuate the stereotype in that country that white is right.

Even though the unofficial Jindal portrait could be considered an artist’s interpretation, it’s not an accurate depiction of Jindal. And that goes for the official portrait, as well. 

So as the jokes keep rolling in, realize that there’s a bigger picture.

And there’s nothing wrong with using brown paint.