Monday, November 23, 2009

'Dem a Bleach

When I was younger the title of this post was a really popular dancehall song. It was intended to strike shame in those that bleached their skin to go from darker to lighter skin tones w/the use of bleaching agents, and it did. You did not want to be the girl that bleached or used products like Ambi to "even out" your skin tone. Looking back maybe it was more teenagers making jokes, but in a strange way it forced you to be proud of who you were.

In recent news  it seems what was once taboo is becoming a popular trend with athletes, musicians down to the regular Jane on the street. I'm sure you've all seen the pics of Sammy Sosa and read his comments about rejuvenation and not being racist. I agree with Sosa he's not a racist(one because that makes no sense) he is something far worse. In his efforts to "rejuvenate" his skin he's shown that self hate is Alive and present no matter the situation. Self hate in this form is  dangerous for many reasons, and it promotes the stereotype that Euro beauty is still the standard. If you're white you're right, black step back. So you lighten your skin regardless of the consequences.  Unfortunately Sosa is in the public eye, and  some little Dominican boy or girl is going to think that picking up rejuvenation products   is the key to success because their idols do it.

After I saw Sosa's pic and heard his lame excuse behind it I was disgusted. Then DJ D.Nice put the video below up on twitter:

This entire family in Jamaica bleaches their skin,and their reasons are just as convoluted as Sosa's. Despite bleaching creams being illegal in Jamaica and the Dr's warning them of the dangers of using these black market products, they continue  risking life and freedom to lighten their skin.  The young woman in the video even says if she had one dollar she'd  use it to get bleach not food. Bleaching for her is a necessity while food is a luxury.  There is something really wrong with that.  She continues on to say that when she bleaches no one can say anything to her because she is white..... There it is! I'm white I'm RIGHT, you're Black STEP BACK. Its a mentality that has always plagued our people but I've never seen it manifest itself this way.

In the past we've seen studies about Black children preferring dolls that are white because they are "clean" and "smart" while the Black doll is "dirty" and "stupid" and we were outraged. However we still hope for the best because they are children. We hope that their parents, friends, a book something, someone will intervene and point them in the direction of self-love.  (More on that later) But how do we help or change the minds of adults with the same mind set?  The adults that would rather be the white doll, because then she'd be able to demand respect,get a proper job? Where do you start when a family makes the decision to kill and starve themselves in an  effort to live the white dream?


dejanae said...

Folk need to do a helluva lot better
Saw this lady on the train
why u wanna have a face 19 shades lighter than ur hands?

Smarty Jones said...

This issue runs so deep for me it's not even funny.
I won't even get into my own issues with skin, but I will say that this is not the image that little dark skinned children need to see. Quite frankly it disgusts me.
This is one of the only issues that I will gladly go to blows over. I don't advocate black on black violence, but making somebody feel bad about the shade of their skin in my presence can get a mofo murked.
Ugggggh! I need some funding, I wanna do a documentary on racism within minority communities. These stories need to be told so we can address it and move the fuck on!

rashida said...

This is a true eye opener for me. I never realized there was such a large population of adults using these products. That is crazy.

My skin color is in the middle of the brown scale, but I've been often been in situations where I'm the only brown face in the crowd. Fortunately I was raised by a strong black woman who taught me to love myself despite what others may say. I try to do the same with my girls. One Kennedy's closest friends is fair skinned with light brown eyes. Her mom buys her white dolls because she says that what she relates to. Thanks to this little girl, we had the Black Is Beautiful talk last year.

I could go on forever about this, but I won't. Smarty, I fully support your documentary.

Tyrone said...

I've seen this video previously, and it still befuddles me - why would you want to change your skintone like this? It's one of the best aspects of being black.

The Jaded NYer said...

Sammy isn't going to set a bad example for Dominican children, that example is already deep rooted into the DR culture, which is why Sammy is bleaching his skin in the first place.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard, "You're lucky you came out so light considering your father is so dark." and I'm like WHAT?!?! And believe it or not- even I'm considered on the dark side for some Dominicans- I guess I remind them too much of our Native roots and not enough of the Europeans? It's disgusting.

And that video was so sad, I can't even deal! Thank goodness my babies weren't raised around crazy skin-bleaching Dominicans because had they approached MY babies with that mess? I might be in jail right now! HMPH!