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diaryofanegress

Observations of an Invisible Woman

White Like Me

Skin bleaching has been around for centuries.

Would you use a cream or soap that may have the following long term side effects:

1. Skin cancer

2. Liver damage

3. Kidney damage

4. Poisoning

In the modern appearance-conscious society in which we live, there is a myth that lighter, paler complexions portray beauty, riches and success. Perhaps this also goes back to slavery where the Field Negro would toil for many hours in the scorching sun, growing darker with each day, while the House Negro, the master’s child or concubine, would be protected within the confines of his beautiful home.
This misguided belief and the need to exploit our deep self-hatred, has resulted in a huge market of skin lightening products.

What is melanin?

Melanin, is simple terms, means “black.” It is produced by melanocytes, found in skin and hair follicles, and is responsible for our pigmentation. Thusly, the more melanin we have, the darker we become. It also serves to protect us from the sun’s harmful rays. Now…

The two main chemicals found in skin bleach are:

1. Mercury, which is poisonous.

2. Hydroquinone, which is used to process pictures.

Both are cancer-forming and highly toxic. Yet they are used throughout the U.S., Caribbean, India, The Philippines, Asia and Africa. It would appear by the billion dollar industry that produces bleaching creams, that all brown-skinned people desire light skin. I have some theories. But let’s hear yours…

Any thoughts on why?

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76 thoughts on “White Like Me

  1. Yep!

    We used to see this all the time in Kenya.
    It’s gone now – there were a lot of voices in the 70s that question and said, and I think saved!

    Friends say in West Africa, things are still like this.

    You run a hard site, but underneath, your concern for people of colour is real and embracing. I’m glad I had a chance to look through your website.

    I wrote this for my sister – but really its for all the strong women in my life who have suffered, and who have taught me to be still and love myself.

    http://kolembo.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/morning-come-2/

  2. Thank you for replying. I love black people. They’re all I have so yes, I don’t bullshit around the harsh truth.

    Blacks are sick. All of us. Whiteness is a disease and we are all infected. Understanding the disease will one day lead to a cure.

    Ill read your link. Thanks.

  3. Beautiful poetry…

  4. Wow, that photo of Sammy Sosa still startles me no matter how many times I see it.

    Self- hatred is usually engrained within cultures. And it gets put in our heads at very young ages. That’s why you can hear little Black kids making fun of dark-complexioned kids.

    I say it all the time that TV is a major culprit in reenforcing self-hatred. Some people put their kids in front of a TV from the time the kid can sit up and that’s when the brainwashing begins.

  5. ynotme on said:

    Negress,

    I think a lot of us are going through identity crisis. Whites are exposing themselves to dangerous level of UV rays to look darker while people of color are using cancer causing skin lightening chemical to look lighter. I only wish I knew the correct answer to this phenomena. We are so fu***ng confused!

  6. From what I’ve observed, Asian Indians are the most color struck people on the planet.

    Ynotme made a good observation, it seems to be part of the human experience to not love what God gave you. So glad I’ve never had that problem, but then many Black women age very well. I just might feel differently in 10 years or so, lol!!!!

  7. Perhaps this also goes back to slavery where the Field Negro would toil for many hours in the scorching sun, growing darker with each day, while the House Negro, the master’s child or concubine, would be protected within the confines of his beautiful home.

    The “tanned field worker/fair upper class” opposition may be true in the East-Asian context (in addition to other explanations), but I don’t think this explanation is pertinent regarding African-Americans.
    IMHO, the bleaching phenomenon in black communities (in Americas, Africa and West Indies) is a consequence of the acceptance/internalization of the beauty standards of the dominant (=white) culture.

  8. ynotme on said:

    @ commentarybyvalentina

    Sammy Sosa is calling his new lighter look “skin rejuvenation” LOL!!

  9. yep, what you say there fits in with what I recently posted in response to your “G.I.F.T.S.” comment. Whiteness is sickness is oppression.

  10. “The “tanned field worker/fair upper class” opposition may be true in the East-Asian context (in addition to other explanations), but I don’t think this explanation is pertinent regarding African-Americans”

    I strongly disagree. There’s a tremendously strong English influence in India, so much so that it’s not unusual to see Indians with violet and green eyes. I’m not an expert on Indian culture, but having studied Asian cultures in college, it’s not hard to surmise that the reason skin lightning creams are so heavily stocked in Indian stores and markets is in large part due to influence by the English.

    And if you closely know any of Indian heritage as I do, you quickly learn that Indian language/dialects that are more English sounding are more highly regarded in their caste system.

    I’ve said this for years, the influence of the white race throughout the world has ALWAYS been detrimental to the cultures they came in contact with.

  11. @ Dr. Reine

    I strongly disagree. There’s a tremendously strong English influence in India, so much so that it’s not unusual to see Indians with violet and green eyes. I’m not an expert on Indian culture, but having studied Asian cultures in college, it’s not hard to surmise that the reason skin lightning creams are so heavily stocked in Indian stores and markets is in large part due to influence by the English.

    Ancient India’s caste system (1500 BC) is about 1000 years older than Ancient Europe. It was this caste system which brought colorism to Ancient India. Some can speculate that England learned it from India as opposed to teaching it to India.

    See http://africanbloodsiblings.wordpress.com/2011/12/17/excerpts-concerning-the-aryan-invasions-of-india/ for more information.

    In short “Caste means racism.”

    @ Dahoman X

    IMHO, the bleaching phenomenon in black communities (in Americas, Africa and West Indies) is a consequence of the acceptance/internalization of the beauty standards of the dominant (=white) culture.

    Beauty is the right word; though it’s more than beauty. It’s the same reason why men cut their locks to go to a job interview. It’s not so much ‘ugly’ but seemingly unacceptable by the powers that be.

    It’s a sad, curious commentary; but it may be that dark, dark skin continues to remind Whites of the rebels. But what’s known is that light skin effects employment, among other things, in this White society.

    I’d reason that it’s because mulattoes had attained favoritism in Caribbean cultures. On American plantations too . . ..

    @ truthbetold

    Perhaps this also goes back to slavery where the Field Negro would toil for many hours in the scorching sun, growing darker with each day, while the House Negro, the master’s child or concubine, would be protected within the confines of his beautiful home.

    With due respect to Malcolm, it’s hard to understand why he said House Negroes had it easy. Concubines were not protected; they were raped. “Master’s” children was not protected; They were hated. And the House Negroes weren’t protected; they had the hardest job of them all: kissing White ass.

    I do not rely on the debunked Willie Lynch letter or Malcolm X’s House/Field dichotomy. Most all of us were against slavery, excepting some Mulattoes where Whites promoted them over purer Africans, and other factions/individuals.

    Regardless, Frederick Douglass, a Planter’s child, was embraced by the African community. And Martin Delany, a Free African, was embraced by the African community.

    The Willie Lynch letter is known to be fabricated; but Malcolm X’s dichotomy isn’t clearly sourced. I think that it’s more of an allegory on current society, like the Willie Lynch letter, than a reality of our enslavement. ‘Cause for one, if one really listens to it, it hardly makes sense.

    Anyway, thanks for this article. There were ads around 1919 promoting skin bleaching, here’s what they said:

    `Bleach your dark skin,’ `take the black out of your face,’ `If you want to be in society lighten your black skin,’ `Have a light complexion and be in society,’ `Light skin beauty over night,’ `Amazing bleach works under skin,’ `The only harmless way to bleach the skin white,’ `The most wonderful skin whitener,’

  12. “TAKEOVER”, this reply merits its own post.

  13. @ omalone

    Why?

  14. @ onitaset

    Have I ever told you I have a gift from The Almighty? I can sense things so clearly and deeply that it takes my breath away.

    In fact, some call it ” being an empath “. I call it having The Spirit.
    Tell me something…do I threaten you?

  15. It’s not of me to imagine you harming a fellow African. You’re a talented, intelligent and beautiful African with a gift of writing whom I adore reading and wish to see leading.

    Why ask if you threaten me?

  16. Here’s an ad for a skin lightening cream from the 1950’s. As you can see this self-hatred has been around for a long time.

  17. @ Prince:
    Sick and sad.

  18. This is a commercial in India. The Indians are a mix of Aryans and Africans. The Africans had to undergo a hateful reign called the caste system (we all learned about) since 1500 BC. The purest Africans are known as untouchables and the abuses they undergo are humiliating to say the least.

    This skin bleaching commercial is what they can expect on their television. They even have skin lightening for the vaginal area.

    I long for the day when we can assist our African Siblings in Asia.

  19. leigh204 on said:

    DOAN:

    In the Philippines, not only do are soaps and creams used, but pills and injections, too. You practically get instant results. It bothers me that so many of my dark skinned brothers and sisters back home do this. I will readily admit I have used creams in the past, BUT to lighten my freckles only. In Filipino culture, freckles are seen as unsightly. (Sidenote: the creams barely lightened my freckles. I still have them.) As for lightening my skin, no, I’m fine with it the way it is.

  20. Hi Leigh:

    Hatred of dark skin us so rampant amongst all cultures, i’m not surprised to hear about injections.

  21. phoebeprunelle on said:

    Leigh this is also true in Ethiopia. Any spot on the face be it freckles or sun spots is equivalent to acne. Women in the Eastern hemisphere(i.e Africa, Middle East, etc.) of the world tend to wear tons of make-up..although for some reason, Western born women think they have a monopoly on cosmetics and skin care

  22. leigh204 on said:

    I don’t know about East Asian women, but I do know the Filipinos who lighten their skin, and they desire that pink, light look. I don’t like it one bit. Some have this deathly pallor to their skin. Here’s are some examples:

    A typical Filipina

    A Filipina actress before & after

  23. phoebeprunelle on said:

    There was this commerical on Arab Satellite i saw once about a female newscaster. The commerical’s storyline was the young Arab woman could not move up in the journalism world because she was dark. She bought the skin lightening product and began using it and the end of the commerical showed her really pale skinned and getting the newscasting position she sought.

    Needless to say this is marketing tools in that part of the world including the Horn of Africa.

  24. @ Phoebes:

    Do you think folks would still use this product if they knew the horrible truth?

  25. phoebeprunelle on said:

    They do know the harm that these products cause yet they still use them, at least in the Horn and surrounding places. On billboards in Ethiopia, the women that they use as models are the Tigre women because they are naturally lighter skinned and this is seen as a more civilized woman. Even the Ethiopian Airlines flight attendants tend to be all lighter skinned (mainly a product of using the lightening creams). You get a few brown ones, but not usually. They also dye their hair a blondish color to match the pale skin.

    Have you ever shopped at Ethiopian or Eritrean stores in the States? I have not been in one that did not have a shelf of skin lightening agents. A brand in particular comes to mind: Fair and Lovely.

  26. Hmmmm…I honestly don’t know what to say. I’m saddened. The white supremacist must be laughing all the way to the bank.

  27. leigh204 on said:

    DOAN:

    I think some people are so desperate they’re even willing to risk their health to achieve that light skin.

  28. Then the madness of white supremacy is deeper than we realize.

  29. SomeGuy on said:

    If you use skin bleaching to bleach dark knees, elbows and underarms, I think that’s fine. If you use it to do a “race change” then those people need psychotherapy.

  30. I’ve said so many times that blacks are sick.

  31. phoebeprunelle on said:

    Or even for hyperpigmentation b/c brown people are more likely to suffer from this. Like acne scars are okay to want to get rid of and you don’t use skin bleaching for this minor problem only an agent for evening out tone. But what i saw in Ethiopia was not about getting rid of scars that can naturally occur but about women being made to feel less competent if they were not light like the Tigre women.

    In Ethiopia, the Tigre people have pretty much high jacked media images, financial institutions, etc. Much like what whites do in the Western world, only in this context it blacks dominating other blacks in a black nation.

  32. SomeGuy on said:

    What happened to us? Before the 1970s we used to be so beautiful. Now look at us.

  33. SomeGuy on said:

    I don’t get how Black people can let that happen in a Black country.

  34. phoebeprunelle on said:

    It is just real complicated. At least where i lived in some parts of Africa there are districts and various small states. If the country’s president or prime minister is elected from lets say the districts that are overwhelming of Tigre heritage, then that leader will sway the country in the direction of that ethnic group.

    It just so happens, for the past ten years it has been the Tigre and unfortunately their biases with skin color, hair texture and language have been what many Ethiopians try to live up to.

  35. Thanks for the education. So the leader influences the people in their own self hate.

  36. phoebeprunelle on said:

    @ DOAN

    Yes in so many words. Ethiopia has maintained a good relationship if you will with Italians and Germans which is where they ultimately get the ideas of the lighter the better b/c so many Ethiopians and other Africans were educated in Germany, France, etc.. then they go back to their home countries only to implement what they got abroad.

    And you are welcome.

  37. This is why I promote segregation. Blacks should be educated by blacks only.

  38. phoebeprunelle on said:

    Hehehehe

  39. I’ve seen that commercial before. It is really sickening to watch! It shows what the colonization from the British have done to their minds in India. They’re totally brainwashed. I feel for my African brothers and sistas over there. We have the same caste system over here. It’s no different. It’s the residue of slavery. They taught us to hate ourselves.

  40. leigh204 on said:

    @ SomeGuy:

    There are skin lightening products for nipples, yes, nipples as well as the feminine area below.

  41. Why on earth would you bleach your vagina? It’s not like you’re gonna walk around spread eagle!

  42. leigh204 on said:

    @ DOAN:

    I agree it’s ridiculous. Not only is it done in Asia, but did you know even white American pornstars are bleaching their unmentionables front and back!

  43. Tyrone on said:

    Truth

    No sane human being wants to be white…Real Talk! Whites can’t leave the house without applying sunscreen, Why would anybody want to deal with that on a daily basis? Black skin is darker, richer in color, smoother, alluring, and so forth. Yes, some white females can have olive complexions that give them a natural glow, but, it will never trump the ageless beauty that melanin gives to african women, east-indian, southeast-asian, and native-american women. Although, other brown-skinned women don’t age the same as blackwomen…i see a lot of mestizo women in Miami with lines and wrinkles like that of whitewomen. Black skin is the skin human beings want to have…Bottomline! “Paint The Planet Black & Brown…The People Rejoice.”

    Tyrone

  44. Mickey on said:

    In India, this is a common thing as well. And what is funny is Bollywood. There are actresses that are referred to as “dusky”, which is a nice way of saying “dark but pretty”, that are actually lighter than most Indians, such as beautiful Indian actress Bipasha Basu. Check this interview out.

    By the way, the part where she is speaking in Hindi she says that people say, “Wow, you don’t look as dark as you do in films.” She says, “I like to look dark.” Someone in the comments sections translated it for us.

  45. Mickey on said:

    The woman in the illustration almost looks like a Creole version of Elizabeth Taylor!

  46. Tyrone:

    I will explore the various kinds of skin and hair envy amongst the white and black culture.

  47. Mickey:

    I find this repulsive. In fact, most of the skin colour darkness obsession is quite repulsive.

  48. @ Leigh

    The before and after pics are stunning. The paler skin looks sickly.

  49. leigh204 on said:

    Bipasha Basu is gorgeous! There is nothing wrong with her color!

  50. Tyrone on said:

    Dr. Reine

    We think we’re the most colorstruck, it’s even worse in India, Cambodia, Vietnam, etc. All brown-skinned people deal with the same bs, white caucasians and white asians mad because they’re skin is not darker. Remember, white-skinned folk are the ones with the insecurities, Not Us!

    Tyrone

  51. Tyrone on said:

    Dr. Reine

    It’s 2012, this issue should be over and done with by now. I think so-called “Black Indians” are still in denial about the true origins of their family tree…Africa! The confusion about their genetic makeup, makes it easy for them to discard blackness more or less. Our hair is straight, we have euro features, how can we be african-descended people? Have they ever heard of “White Male Rape?”

    Tyrone

  52. Mickey on said:

    Here is a 4-part video I found on Youtube regarding the Indian community’s obsession with fairness. This is based in England. Some of it is downright dreadful.

  53. Mickey on said:

    Part 2.

  54. SomeGuy on said:

    Anal bleaching is big in the pron industry.

  55. ok.. thanks again.

  56. Tyrone on said:

    Onitaset

    I think black folk are finally beginning to claim all of themselves, Black Asia included. The same goes for our kinfolk in the South Pacific…Fiji, Tahiti, Guam, Hawaii, and so forth. Black Asia has to become a common term in african-american and african culture in general, in the same way that Afrolatino has become a rallying cry for our spanish sistas and brothas in bondage to Espana. This is where media becomes important…black producers and directors need to make a concerted effort to cast “black asians” in dramas, sitcoms, reality-shows, movies, etc.

    Tyrone

  57. Mickey on said:

    Parts 3 & 4. Sorry about the separation of the videos. I was trying to copy and paste but did not think to do so in one post. :/

  58. Tyrone on said:

    leigh204

    All african-descended people deal with the same bs. All 3 tribes of Africa…Americas, Asia, Pacific Isles. Must defeat the cancer of whiteness in totality. When all 3 fully embrace their african connectivity, that’s when the bs will cease to exist going forward.

    Tyrone

  59. “This is why I promote segregation. Blacks should be educated by blacks only.”

    As a former inner city high school chemistry teacher, I agree with you 100% from K-12. This would also make a nice post discussion as well.

  60. Yes…thank you. I have some future posts coming up that will be most difficult but needs to be said.

    Amongst them will be Black education. Black health. Black Abortion. Black Obesity part 2.

    And a series called “Black Vs. Black.”
    We need to understand why we attack each other.

  61. Poor Sammy was in denial. I felt sorry for him. He looked as if the blood didn’t flow through his veins any longer…

    I love my skin. There’s no exact color to describe my skin, I think it’s mocha or fallow. Still, it’s black and I wouldn’t change it for the world. The big companies can keep their poison and I’ll keep my skin.

    All darker people don’t desire light or white skin. That’s a fallacy that is repeated often and aggressive enough by the industry to brainwash the people into thinking they need the light or white skin. That’s my theory.

    I like to refer to the Bible where God created man[kind] in His likeness. He reached down into that rich, fertile soil and created a body, blew the breath of life into it, and included that activity when He said that it was very good. What can be deduced as the first man having dark skin was more than acceptable to a holy God.

    Ultimately, this is a spiritual issue. Satan wants [and is doing his best] to corrupt the image God has of his people so they can hate what God made and curse both Him and His creation. Let’s wake up, people. Love your dark skin.

    Diaryofanegress, I didn’t know mercury was in the “cream” (that’s what the sisters in Flatbush call it LOL). We’re just killing ourselves with what we eat, drink, wear, and do. Lord, help us!

  62. That was lyrical and beautiful, Brother. Well said.

  63. Thank you. Your posts are very thought-provoking and bring out the best in your readership!

  64. Thanks Mickey for the education.

  65. leigh204 on said:

    Yes, I wholeheartedly agree the Filipina women with lightened skin look sickly. The reason is simple. That’s not their original color; the one they were born with.

  66. Yeah she does!lol

  67. Mickey on said:

    I’m going to repeat a line from the late George Carlin. “When you are born, you get a ticekt to the freak show. When you are born in America, you get a front row seat.”

  68. And if you’re black, you’re the star of the show…

  69. mary burrell on said:

    Dear God in heaven what has Sammy Sosa done to his skin? Is it vitaligo like MJ? or is he just a confused brother mixed up about bright and damn near white? You know they are doing this madness in Jamaica. I saw some rapper from Jamaica that did this to his skin. I swear he looked like the walking dead. This is just tragic on so many levels.

  70. mary burrell on said:

    Have they thought that this could cause skin cancer maybe? I don’t see how this is healthy. mentally and emotionally this is sick. God help those that hate what the creator blessed them with.

  71. mary burrell on said:

    @ Sanctified Brother, I remember that as a poem from Elementary school. I believed It was titled The Creation by James Weldon Johnson. or It could have been by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. It was done in the speech and drama contest at school. BEAUTIFUL.

  72. Miss Mary:

    Cancer isn’t a concern with madness.

  73. Tyrone on said:

    Truth

    White or light skin is not the norm. Human beings without melanin are called “Albinos.” Meaning, they have no pigment. They can’t have any exposure to sunlight. African people are dark-skinned because humanity was birthed in Africa. Without melanin, human beings would not have been able to migrate out of The Motherland. In other words, whiteness is a curse.

    Tyrone

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