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 twenty-three books of her own work, both fiction and non-fiction and more than eighty ebook novellas on amazon.com. You can access her bibliography on www.amazon.com search words: Angelia Vernon Menchan




Contact information:
Website: http://acvermen.blogspot.com
Email: acvermen@yahoo.com
Phone numbers: 904 714 2272 904 303 2679

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LIGHTER, BRIGHTER, BETTER??

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
www.angeliamenchan.com

14 comments:

Jennifer C. said...

Well, recently, my 10yo told me the kids (blacks and whites alike) have been telling him that he's not normal. Why? Because he is too dark and no one is that dark.

To say I was angry would be an understatement. All I could do was tell him that is jealousy talking. Their mad that their skin isn't as beautiful and smooth as his, so they have to make him feel as bad as they do inside.

Sick of hatred being spread from one generation to the next. It's stupid crap like this that causes our children to commit suicide. I won't lose my kids to junk like this.

Getting off my soapbox now.

Angelia... said...

Jen,
I feel you, I always reinforced to my younger son that his darker skin was beautiful. Fortunately, he is very proud of who he. It is a damned shame that we are still dealing with this.

Love!

Shai said...

It is sad to still see it. When I was little I had a relative call me dark and my grandma( who is light skinned) said not to say that. She said that is our problem we comparing light to dark.

The sad thing is this exist in other races/cultures. I remember seeing on Oprah how folks in the Middle and Far East bleach too. Where did this come from?

Angelia... said...

Shai,
it comes from ancestry. Years ago I had a young Samoan girl working for, she often remarked how dark she was compared to her mother and sisters. She was light beige. It it so prevalant in minority communities worldwide. Asians have lightened their skin for ages...*sigh*

Shai said...

I get that it comes from ancestry. I just wonder who initially thought being lighter is better. SMH.

Angelia... said...

Slaveowners and slaves.

Shai said...

I talking WAY before slaveowners and slaves.

Angelia... said...

There have been slaves and slaveowners since biblical times and lighter hued people were considered superior even then...

angelia

Shai said...

Maybe I am not clear. I know the slaves were in biblical times. It originated somewhere I wonder this light being better. Look at how the British have acted superior and tried to take over almost every continent. I wonder that.

Dera Williams said...

I just read the Griot article about whitening skin in Jamaica. I, too, also read the article about Africans doing doing it. How long, oh Lord, how long and what is it going to take? For us to learn to love ourselves and stop this madness? The images on TV and the videos are destroying our kids. All we can do as Jennifer is doing is to reinforce in our kids that they are beautiful until they believe it.

Shai said...

I am one of the darkest in my immediate family. I never felt being darker than them or even my friends. And in my early 20's being dark was more celebrated. I am so glad that I did not give into the light is better.

My grandma said how she was called yellow gal growing up and it hurt me to heard how she sounded saying it. Or to hear my maternal grandfather's sister talk about being called blackie because of her almost blue-black skin.

Sadly, some folks hold on for dear life what they were taught as kids. I had a co-worker in her late 50's spout on about not liking the fact that she was dark and how her mother told her to not have dark knees or elbows and so on. She still had an issue being dark and doesn't celebrate it.

Linda Chavis said...

This is an issue that wont go away

Yasmin said...

' 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 there you have it; when those who teach them stop hating themselves (and passing that hate alone) then the healing can truly begin.

Folake Taylor, MD. said...

So sad Mama Deep. Just responding 'cause I was recovering from anesthesia from oral surgery when this came in yesterday but I'm glad I remembered to go back and read it.

And yes, many Nigerians still practice this crap. As a matter of fact, when the old presidents's wife died after a tummy tuck, it was said/rumored to be compliactions related to her bleached skin being so thin and altered.

I don't know when we'll learn to love the skin we're in.

Fortunately, I was raised to see all my dark family members as beautiful and to feel good about myself and I will raise Jordan the same. I see liking a certain skin tone as preference like height but it should not be ausperiority thing. For example, my hubby does not like the light skin tone so I'm glad I'm dark. But it's a preference and not about any skin tone being better.

And the hair issue...I just want managable hair but others are not better than me because their hair is different from mine. (Sigh)

SMH...still...