SENEGAL SKIN LIGHTENING // Zed Nelson published in Marie Claire Russia
One of the worst consequences of racism is the point when black people start thinking less of themselves because of the color of their skin. It is only natural, since everywhere they look there are white or at least whiter people of them as exponents of a better life, better jobs, etc. White people (and especially white woman) are set as the ideal standard of beauty in society. This has led to a situations of race based prejudice in every fabric of life. It is really disturbing and sad, but these are the consequences of the lifestyle and propaganda against black people that continue to be active even today.
Some Senegalese women, and women in other places like Jamaica and the USA where the light skin vs dark skin dichotomy is quite alive argue that people with paler skin stand out from the crowd, get better jobs etc. They would also argue that men prefer lighter skin women.
In the photo: a dermatologist in Dakar keeps photos of people with severe consequences of using this sort of tools for skin whitening. She says that people are aware of the risk, but continue to use these products, and then come to her with the consequences.
It is important to note that image of “whiteness” as the ideal standard of beauty is one that has not only been bought by those in the Black diaspora but also the Asian diaspora where the practice of whitewashing is much worse and pervasive. What this points out is the need to uplift our community and not put them down. As the video shows, our perception of blackness which we have internalized as a community regardless of where it comes from is what helps propagate the self torture that comes with such habits. A look at the documentary “Dark Girls” explains why some of our brothers and sisters take on such practices.
It is important that in this conversation people are not IGNORANT as to stereotyping all Senegalese women as skin bleachers as the skin bleaching phenomenon is common in American (lil Kim any one?) , Jamaica, and the whole black diaspora-name the country and it exist. No country is exempt.
Please see the documentary below and share with friends and family. And if you have ever put someone down because they were a shade darker than you, reach out and uplift them. FREE OTHERS FROM YOUR IGNORANCE.
Also if you have the time please check out this link http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos/video.php?v=wshhbwgeAR5mddmM0c3m with a very extensive documentary following a couple of young people from different races talking about their challenges with skin color and features as they struggle with their self image, realities and prejudices.