This morning on my drive to work, I was listening to the TJMS and one of the topics was how Jamaican musicians were bleaching their skin because they thought it would make them more popular. That lighter skin made life easier. The radio personalities commented on how horrible the bleaching had turned out, one said it looked as if the bleacher had a nuclear accident.
Years ago I read an article about the same process happening in certain parts of Africa and then I wondered do the people not see how horrible it looks and why would someone do that to themselves. Some literally had bleached their skin raw. But of course my question was rhetorical, because I have always known that some Black people will do almost anything to appear lighter or have straight hair.
Back in the day people was putting straight lye, potash, people on their hair to straighten it, at the risk of burning their scalps. And as a child growing up, I recall the jars of Nadinola that was guaranteed to brighten the skin.
I remember when my eldest son was about seven, he found a jar of skin whitener, yes it said whitener, at a relative’s home and he ran out with it, asking, “Why you trying to whiten your skin.” You could have heard a pin drop. The relative smiled slightly, finally saying, “It’s just to make my skin prettier.” That hurt me to my core because whether she knew it or not, she was saying, the lighter or whiter the skin, the prettier.
It made me remember growing up in the sixties when the word black didn’t mean racial pride, to call someone black was to invite a fight or a least a cussing out. And once the black power movement came about nothing really changed, I can recall as a teen one of my friends mentioning how Eldridge Cleaver always talked black power, but he had found the lightest skinned wife he could. *sigh*
And it seems that nothing has changed today, in 2011 and it is universal, not just African Americans, but darker hued people of all races and nationalities. I can only wonder where it will all end or if it will. I hear many young, supposedly enlightened young people still determining beauty based on skin color or hair texture.
One day at church between services I heard a couple of young men say, “For a dark-skinned girl, she sure is pretty.” The other replied, “Yeah she fine, but she too dark.”
I was shocked and shook because here I was woman in her 50s listening to teens say the same crap that their slave ancestors had said generations ago. I was shook mostly because I knew they felt like that because they had been taught that and as long as it was passed from generation to generation it would always be an issue. And that young people around the globe would literally maim themselves to be considered better because they were lighter. Lord, have mercy!
Angelia Vernon Menchan
Angelia Vernon Menchan is an author, publisher and public speaker who owns two publishing companies, MAMM Productions and Honorable Menchan Media. Mrs. Menchan is also a Budget Officer and former Job Corps Counselor. To date she has published eighteen books of her own work, both fiction and non-fiction and more than forty ebook novellas on amazon.com. You can access her bibliography on www.amazon.com search words: Angelia Vernon Menchan
Menchan has also published the work of seven other authors to date and has several publishing projects upcoming in 2013 to include a children's book, Little Wing by biologist, Erin Gawera, Honorable Menchan Poets 2013 by Dictator, Genesis and Creammy Mocha and a breast cancer memoir by Lena Jordan.
She is becoming a sought after speaker for young women audiences because she speaks honestly, straight and open to the issues that plague them such as teen pregnancy, the importance of education and making life impacting choices.
Kim Floyd of Real Mommies Read, a part of the Spartanburg Public Library says:
Angelia's ability to help our teen moms see themselves as she did was a special gift. She instilled within them a desire to make better choices, take control of their bodies and their lives. They realized their pasts didn't have to determine their futures. Angelia let them know their worth.
Mrs. Menchan is available for speaking engagements; book signings and discussions. She resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband and graphic designer, Maurice Menchan
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679