One Brother’s View About Complexion
In this day and age of beweavement (yes, no typo) and skin bleaching, the way we perceive beauty as Africans (or African descendants) has changed. While skin bleaching may seem like just a cosmetic practice (like lipo-suction, which I don’t recommend but that’s another article altogether…). Believe it or not skin bleaching is actually a symptom of a much deeper problem.
In the above speech Malcolm X said, “Who taught you to hate yourself? Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the colour of your skin?”
I think we were were first taught to hate our skin during the centuries of the slave trade and the colonial period that followed, and today we are still being taught to hate ourselves through a Western consumer culture that is sold through today’s global media. I noticed that dolls (yes the Barbies and what-have-yous) are more available in the lighter complexion version as opposed to the bark versions. So apparently we have been brainwashed from an early age. See the Doll Test here.
Many of those who don’t go in for skin-lightening also tacitly accept the idea that lighter is better (particularly if it comes with European, rather than African, features), so we’re all part of a system that promotes self-hate. When people defend skin-lightening/bleaching by saying what people do to their skin is their own business, indirectly they too value lighter skin over dark skin, whatever their own skin tone.
South African kwaito star Mshoza proudly stating that she started undergoing skin-lightening and plastic surgery because she was “tired of being ugly”? If that’s not self-hate I don’t know what is.
Race-based Identity Crisis
There is the notion that being black is associated with evil and being light is good or better. The darker we are, the more ‘African’ we are, right? Which would not be a problem if some of us didn’t think there was a problem with with being African.
When you come to terms with the fact that beauty is not defined by your complexion (I have seen some light-skinned err…) only then will you be comfortable in your own skin. Light-skinned or dark-skinned YOU are beautiful, and don not let anyone tell you different.
P.S. Sorry about the long af format. It had to be done