Let’s talk about this right now. It isn’t a new topic and I know it’s been discussed many many times before, but the problem hasn’t gone away. It’s 2016 and we are still making an issue out of something as trivial as skin colour. Judge me, if you must, on my merits and my actions. But the colour of my skin, really? Something I was born with and have no control over?
As a race, we have an almost automatic desire to look for differences amongst ourselves. Remnants of colonial segregation policies only own part of the blame. Even the most homogenous of people on this planet seeks to find variation from one person to the next – by which to then separate themselves, and often even claim a ‘superiority’.
I used to care once whether I was ‘too dark to be considered attractive’ – an artefact of growing up in two cultures where ‘lighter is better’. And I often wondered why some people, as ordinary as their features may have been, were beheld as beautiful as an unblemished moon on account of their milky complexions. Something did not compute. Yet, I did apply preparations of saffron milk and honey, and avoided outdoor play to the detriment of my social and hand-eye- coordination skills. I had only been to the beach once in 25 years!
My skin tone has not been a ‘thing’ since I moved to Australia. That is not to say skin colour isn’t an obsession here, it is just of a different kind. Everyone wants to be tan, risking skin cancer and oompa-loompa impersonations. I wouldn’t say I have embraced it because that calls for active liking. I just don’t care about it any more.
There are many brown-girl blogs where I commonly see reviews or makeup looks where the foundation used is much too light. The effect is almost comical. I recall sales assistants during a trip to India pushing the lightest shade of foundation, no matching necessary. Of course, the opposite happens here.
There are also reviews of skin bleaching creams and pills. Not to mention the trolling on Indian celebrity media sites where skin colour is a constant theme: if you’re lighter-skinned, you’re labelled a bleacher . . . . and if you’re darker (dusky is the preferred term), your merits for celebrity are questioned. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
This post is not about me and it is not intended to be a soliloquy. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What are your experiences with the issue of skin colour?
What frustrates you about it?