This is my 7th installment of this series of articles. Some were revelation of topics discussed and worried about in the black community, and other were topical or questions that people wanted to ask, but thought that racially they could not. This installment will be an expose on a rather personal topic in the Black community, that I truly do not believe that a lot of non- black people know off, except for few Chinese.
Bleaching is the process of using chemical agents to attempt to lighten your skin tone, or make yourself light skinned. I grew up watching teenage black girls constantly putting these products on their faces and skin, in a futile attempt to lighten their skin tone, so that they can be considered beautiful. Many of the products came in bars of soap, or facial washes and these girls would carry zip locked bags filled with wash cloths for their face, so that they can maintain the 6-8 time per day regiment required by these products.
The question is why? To compete in an age old battle between black women, brown women, yellow women and high yellow women. Okay, that was just me being silly, but in the Black community the lighter a woman's skin tone, or closer she was to white meant she was more attractive, better able to get a job, better able to attract the attention of a white suitor, or better able to be a part of master's house. This was universally the plain truth in any slave owning, or African colonial society, and I most recently discovered also in colonized Asian countries as well. You can also find this white or light fetish when it comes to hair as well, with a large portion of the average black woman's income going towards keeping her hair straight, light and flowing.
Though, the requirement to be as light as possible to please our white master's has long passed in most cases, the learned preference as lingered on. Black men and women tend to gravitate toward lighter skin toned mates, the more successful African Americans tend to be of a lighter skin tone, and our cross over cultural and entertainment success stories tend to be on the lighter side of the skin spectrum. Black men have been in a cultural limbo for quite sometime, because we saw white women as the ultimate sexual beings for centuries. It was for a time, the simple sexual attraction of the forbidden fruit, the Taboo, and the risk of death for procuring one. We also saw master place his wife on a pedestal, and then come down to the yard and treat our women as chattel and devalued them. Under those environs, young black boys and girls receive a message of black bad, light better, and white is always right.
As time and society progressed, and it was no longer slavery and a master to come to the yard, sexual imagery was also dominated by white women and white men. Movies and magazines showed white women as being stylish and sexy, and white men as being strong and virile. The first picture of a naked women, I ever saw, was on the back of some playing cards that my uncles were using to play cards late one night with the guys, and I was allowed to stay up and serve the drinks. All 53 cards, including a joker, were all of naked white women. I personally did not see a naked black women in print or film until my late teens, and it was a locally black made porno film, that a friend stole from his uncle's VHS collection, and the uncle was in the film. She was an extremely light skin toned lady, as well. So young black men are attracted to light skinned young black women, and they know it. So they buy the products and they begin to bleach.
In Asian cultures, the bleaching practiced has reached epic proportions. In Japan and Hong Kong, women will pay small fortunes to lighten their skin, and straighten their hair at local salons, to attract that right wealthy mate. For them, having milky white skin, and pencil straight hair is the ultimate in beauty and the perfect trophy a man needs to show success. Like NBA players, they want a white women to show that they have made it ( joking). In India, the basis of their entire caste system is based on skin tone, and facial features, with the closer to being white being the highest possible caste, and the darkest being the lowest. Lower caste members of the society use the bleaching chemicals and process obsessively in an attempt to hide their birth caste, or to achieve a better caste or job.