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7 Examples of The Devaluation of Dark Skin Around The World

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Petra Alaine Robinson, in her dissertation “Skin Bleaching in Jamaica: A Colonial Legacy”, argues that, although the desire for lighter skin color is a global issue, it is of particular relevance and significance in Jamaica because “the majority of the population is of African descent, yet there is an elevation of Eurocentric values and a denigration of Afrocentric values in many facets of life, specifically in the promotion of light skin as an indicator of beauty and social status”.

“If we really want to control the spread of the skin-bleaching virus, we first have to admit that there’s an epidemic of color prejudice in our society,” said Carolyn Cooper, a professor of literary and cultural studies at the University of the West Indies, writing in The Jamaica Gleaner newspaper.

What make matters worse, most Jamaican bleachers use over-the-counter creams, many of them knockoffs imported from West Africa. Long-term use of one of the ingredients, hydroquinone, has long been linked to a disfiguring condition called ochronosis that causes a splotchy darkening of the skin. Doctors say abuse of bleaching lotions has also left a web of stretch marks across some Jamaicans’ faces.

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28 thoughts on “7 Examples of The Devaluation of Dark Skin Around The World

  1. Caroline Alicia says:

    You right about Japan, yet you completely ignore major subcultures that imitate rappers but tanning the skin and wearing braided hair, the reggae scene, and ganguro-which is tanning the skin dark and bleaching the hair blonde or lighter brown and wearing pastel/white makeup. Walk around any city in Japan for 5minutes and you will encounter people like that. So although keeping the skin white to older Japanese is important, many of the younger generation doesn't mind tanning a bit… And as for dark skin, ANY foreigner faces discrimination in Japan.

  2. Matt Thorn says:

    Umm… It's kind of embarrassing that you used a Korean advertisement in the page about Japan. Or are they all the same over there? (Actually, "over here"–I live in Japan.)

  3. Matt Thorn says:

    Excellent point. Also, the "whiter is better" thing waxes and wanes in response to fads in Japan. When I first came to Japan in the mid 1980s, only women middle-aged and older used parasols, but in recent years it has become common for women university students to use them. But, as you note, there are those who go the other way. It's not co clear-cut. Do you live in Japan, Caroline? (On my commuter, your name shows up in katakana, surname first.) I've lived in Kyoto for the past 16 years or so.

  4. I love dark skin women with natural hair. Some how we have bought into the notion that there is something wrong with us in our natural state. To me all of the black women in the media and entertainment industry with all the fake hair and bleached skin are the true saleouts. They give our young girls a false self image.

  5. Sahbi Ism says:

    Would the African (black) American obsession with IR dating or birthing biracial children in record numbers fit into that mold of devaluation?

  6. Just an FYI, the graphic in this post is from Korea, not Japan.

  7. See but i know a white guy who while he may be from guyana claims he was dark skinned but got addicted to bleaching his skin to the point of making his skin appear white but my question is how come he has blue eyes but said he was as dark to the point of looking almost purple or blue

  8. Oh, would you look at that: country, country, country, country, country, A WHOLE CONTINENT, country, country

  9. Justin Lawson Nash says:

    how is the United States not on here?

  10. Niki Steward says:

    I think it would more have to do with a self love or appreciation. Even now, and I'm only 21, black men like to treat me and other black american women as if we were property. Some of our "obsession" with interracial dating and interracial marriage is because we realize that we're better than being property and if some white, asian, indian, mexican, mixed man is better off and treats us better than that black man/woman/whatever person, then the only logical thing to do is what makes you happy.

    The interracial couples that I've witnessed contemporary with myself and the interracial couples that have preceded my lifetime instill recognition and hope that I'm more than just my skin color, and PEOPLE of all colors can and will love me despite that.

  11. Niki Steward, all black men don't treat women as property and vice versa. I understand what you are saying but I have being around whites, Asian, Indian men (mostly white people though) and they talk about women in a certain light that I'm usually not comfortable with. White women are to this day considered a minority. Historically speaking we treated women as our equals. What happened that affected the balance? To me sometimes we don't listen and most people are attracted to the flashy people. My humble opinion.

  12. Diabolika Jones says:

    THANK you. I took in the Korean text and facepalmed at "Japan."

  13. EXACTLY what I said!

  14. Blackheywood Heywood says:

    Sad how ignorance and self hatred is global. If folks knew White people history, its doubtful they'd want to be a member of that group.

  15. AKA "REJECTING NATURAL 'IMAGE' " equals "Self-Hate"!!! the Non-melanin-ites are very sophisticated in this Day and Age!!! 🙁

  16. Nicholas Smith says:

    Everything else in this article is interesting and spot on as far as I have been told or have read. However, if you are going to talk about Japan, get your facts straight. Yes there is a tradition of favoring lighter skin, as with everywhere in the world, however in Japan there is a growing fashion trend and even subculture of people who darken their skin. At least for Christ's sake get your images straight and not show a Korean ad! You could even do one better by talking about this issue in Korea, where cosmetic surgery and colorism/ racism/ classism are much bigger problems. You could have had hold had you decided to talk about the Phillipines. Great article, but put please put just a little more effort into your research.

  17. James Gaspard says:

    Nothing is more frustrating than when someone takes a position you agree with and then advocates for it in a sloppy error ridden fashion :-/

  18. Anonymous says:

    Dominicans are one backward nation of people and a horrid culture. It would be best if they were kept out of America.

  19. Thailand is so missing on this list.

  20. James Peoples says:

    I'm on the fence about Japan. I use to live there, but most of the people treated me like one of their own. Sure there were stares, but those stares were different than the ones back home, the stares in Japan were of curiosity, not of resentment. I'd use that opportunity to strike up a conversation with people fyi. There are places where they don't allow any gaijin, and the koku-ryu-kai would march the streets of Ginza while crowds would shout "white pig go home." I've been treated in Japan better than my own country. Plus they embrace black culture like Jazz and hip/hop. But in no way am I discounting anyone's racist experiences, I'm just saying I loved Japan and the people, and I have never experienced any problems there
    short of trying to find a hotel.

  21. Melissa Bee Harper says:

    I watched a show about a group of Japanese women who darkened their skin.( Did you point me to that video or was that someone else?) That part didn't bother me much. I think what bothered me about these particular ladies was the hair braiding and clothes they were wearing. It was just that they were saying that they did it because they respected Black culture so much. I just don't see Black culture as being all about baseball caps, skimpy dresses, microbraids, and hip hop music.They were confusing hip hop subculture as being one and the same with Black culture as so many people do. I say all this to ask a question….how common is what I described here in Japan? Do you see a lot of people doing this?( not only darkening their skin but completely taking on what they assume to be "Black culture") I only know what I saw on that video.

  22. Ser preto e consciente no Brasil é conviver diariamente com o racismo institucionalizado e arraigado na mentalidade do povo.. E perceber que a batalha diária contra o preconceito muitas vezes é como enxugar gelo, infelizmente.

  23. Tiffany Williams says:

    J K Lynn Nash – You out took the words right out of my mouth.

  24. Tiffany Williams says:

    J K Lynn Nash – You out took the words right out of my mouth.

  25. I see the mistake has been corrected.

  26. Black is beautiful ♥ Don't try to change it.

  27. But I thought black people were lazy and wouldn't work? Yet whites always go after them to be slaves to do all the work. What the whites really mean is that they don't think black people DESERVE to be paid for their work so brutal slavery will do.

  28. People of color outnumber whites all over the world. Some people of color even deny their own color. Why is it then, that so many whites flock to beaches, tanning salons etc. to tan themselves almost black? Is it that they know the color will fade back to white and their "unearned privilege" will remain in tact?

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