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The Issue of Whitewashing in the Black Community.

July 9, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( There is something that continues to plague the black community. It is something that we do to ourselves as a way to, I don’t know, cope with the rejection we receive from the world in which we live. It is ugly; it is damaging, and it is debilitating. I am talking about bleaching our skin.

Some people call it whitewashing -the deliberate lightening of one’s skin in order to be perceived more attractive and accepted. Only, putting harmful chemicals on our skin in an attempt to rid ourselves of the God-given melanin that makes us unique and strong does not equate to beauty. In fact, most of the time when people do this, you can tell that they have whitewashed themselves, and it is far from attractive. It looks unnatural and is a great indicator of self-hate.

The hard thing about this practice, which is extremely popular in Caribbean countries like Jamaica and Haiti, is that people with a bit of celebrity have embraced this horrible notion, making it all the more acceptable. Recently, Lil Kim and Azalea Banks have become two of the most visible culprits.

Lil Kim is a rap legend. In her heyday, she was a beautiful black woman who fans regarded as confident and proud. But she has totally altered her look and why? Because the dominant society told her that her brown skin was not good enough. It also didn’t help that, according to her, most of the men in her life tore down her self-esteem. She once said,

“All my life, men have told me I wasn’t pretty enough – even the men I was dating. And I’d be like, ‘Well, why are you with me, then?’ It’s always been men putting me down just like my dad. To this day when someone says I’m cute, I can’t see it. I don’t see it no matter what anybody says.”

Her lack of support and love from the people she needed it from most caused her to change her looks in a way that now makes her unrecognizable.

Then there is Azalea Banks, another rapper. She is much younger than Lil Kim and maybe that’s why she’s so open about what she did to her skin. Banks does not care if people know or what people have to say. In fact, she doesn’t see how lightening her skin is any different from black women wearing weave because to her, it’s all appropriation. She has pushed products through her social media causing other dark skinned and brown skinned women who struggle with being a black woman in America to “do something” about their melanin “issue.” It is beyond sad.

Let us love our black women more. Let us show them that no matter what we have been taught, light and white is not the only color that’s alright. All black is beautiful, and all black is worthy to be cherished and celebrated. We have got to do better by our young women because Lord forbid that a whole generation grows up believing that they can easily erase something so special about who they are.

Staff Writer; Rasheda Abdullah

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