Every time I go to African stores, I constantly see skin-bleaching products. It honestly angers me to the core for so many reasons. Before I move on though …
Let’s Define Colorism.
“Colorism is the prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.“– Google
There’s this connotation that lighter skin is the only beautiful version of black skin and therefore implies that dark-skin is unattractive.
Although colorism has been around since the beginning of slavery, it’s still doing much damage to others’ self-esteem, our communities, and more importantly- one’s health.
According to the World Health Organization, 40% of African women bleach their skin. Skin-whitening products is a multi-billion dollar industry that have taken over the African cosmetics market for the longest time!
Do you realize what this means? Skin-bleaching culture reflects the dismissal of black beauty standards and the insecurities of black features including the melanin in one’s skin.
I find it sad that these whitening products are associated with the repetitive social standard of European Beauty. Throughout history and still today, we’re being taught to hate our skin. It’s not okay at all.
Another reason why skin-bleaching culture is detrimental is because it’s linked to serious side effects.
Health Side Effects of Skin-Bleaching:
Kidney disorders, steroid acne, skin disorders, possibly mercury poisoning, and inflammation in the skin (Healthline).
Skin-bleaching is dangerous to one’s health! Let’s spread awareness about this issue starting within our own communities. Don’t think it’s okay to judge people for the decisions they make, because it’s not. However, it’s no flaw in educating someone with beneficial knowledge. That’s a sign of love. Education goes a long way.
Here’s A Guide to Combating Colorism:
1. Avoid compliments that are actually insults.
For example, don’t tell someone, “you are pretty for a dark-skin.”
That’s implying that dark-skin women aren’t ‘normally’ pretty and therefore, you’re surprised they are attractive. Not cool …
2. Avoid making jokes about one’s shade of skin. For example, a common joke used towards dark-skin people is, “you’re black as night.”
This may seem like just a ‘joke‘ for some people, but to the person it’s being said to, it could honestly cause them to have resentment towards their skin-tone and develop insecurities just because of ‘jokes’ like that.
We must strive to be mindful of our word choices and it affecting others.
3. Everyone has their preferences and they are entitled to them. However, one must not EVER bash another skin-shade just because that isn’t their personal preference. It is not okay and seriously is apart of “throwing your own race under the bus.”
Now that you’ve reached the end, I hope you learned something valuable and will spread the word about combating colorism!
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