Dark-Skinned People Talk Bleaching Creams, Light-Skin Controversy [Video]

There is a new video from BuzzFeed, titled “What Dark-Skinned People Will Never Tell You,” that is gaining plenty of attention online. In the video, folks of all different hues detail some of their painful life experiences regarding the color of their skin.

Uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, July 6, the above BuzzFeed video has garnered more than 400,000 views. A variety of people explain why they don’t usually speak about their dark skin, with the first woman to speak admitting that although her dark skin shapes so much of who she is, she doesn’t speak about it often because she doesn’t want others to feel awkward because of the controversial topic.

“It’s something that I don’t usually talk about because I’m afraid that I’m making people uncomfortable.”

Dark skin, however, shapes the way men and women move through the world, report the video’s narrators. The color of a person’s skin has real-life stakes and can affect the way a person is viewed by others in the world — sometimes in a negative light because of how folks with darker skin have oftentimes been portrayed on TV and in films.

“Dark skin equates to being poor, dirty and ratchet.”

The bad guys in Tyler Perry movies are usually men with darker skin, notes one of the men in the video. He spoke of being the butt of jokes from folks who called him “the blackness.” He also had folks joke that with him leaving a car, it makes the “Check Engine” light come on, likening his skin tone the darkness of oil. He spoke of lightening himself culturally by listening to skater-boy type of music and adopting attitudes not always seen displayed from a man of his hue.

dark skin

Colonization and slavery are blamed as the root of the world’s beauty standards. In the past, slavery oftentimes cast the lighter-skinned slaves — the children of the masters who many times took sexual advantage of their slaves — in the house, while the darker-skinned slaves worked the fields.

The standards of beauty travel all over the world, lest folks think colorism is only an issue in the U.S.

Dominican society has a phrase that means being of a lighter hue equates to “bettering” the race, while a darker-skinned person can’t help the color of their skin, nor that some might ignorantly view them as less attractive.

On a trip to Korea, a woman walked up to another woman and asked her why her daughter was so dark. The Korean woman who spoke in the video talked about being that little girl. The question made her feel like a foreigner in a land where white skin is prized above all.

Turning off the lights brought jokes about where a person disappeared to, related one woman. “Pretty for a dark girl” is a phrase she heard often.

dark skin

Another woman spoke of being an angel in a parade, the only black angel walking there in the line of lighter-skinned folks.

One woman used a cream called Fair & Lovely, a bleaching cream, as early as the third grade. It broke her out in bad rashes and no one said anything — she had to stop using it on her own. It left light and dark patches. The memory of it brought her to tears.

Indeed, bleaching creams like Whitenicious still garner a healthy amount of buzz on social media.

The video participants noted the roles that entertainment played in societal viewpoints. Japanese media doesn’t usually have darker skinned actresses. Telenovelas usually cast darker skinned men as the bad guys. However, eschewing wrong thought processes and recognizing your own beauty was the main message of the viral video.

“You are perfect just the way you are. That is something that no one has ever told me.”

[Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP Images]