Wednesday, May 12, 2010

But He Doesn't Look That Much Darker to Me...

There is talk around the Internet (and USA Today) the recently bleached Sammy Sosa is "back to basic Black". Apparently he has been seen partying at a Miami nightclub and he no longer looks like a supersized Marc Anthony. Um, looking at this TMZ, he looks nothing like he used to. There hasn't been much of a change to me. This is a seasonal change that the average Black person experiences from the fall/winter when you spend time in doors to the summer when you are catching a lot of sun. I already have to use a different make-up foundation here in sunny FLA and it is just the month of May.
Of course, his recent lighter appearance sheds light on the skin color complex a number of Diaspora Black suffer from. Even on the Continent there are plenty of people who have damaged their skin using skin-whiteners because they believe----they have been led to believe---that lighter skin is better. This is more than an issue of seeing Beyonce and Alicia Keys in the media everyday and therefore you perceive lighter skin as the standard of beauty. No. This is a systematic issue of class and societal value. No matter how successful Sammy Sosa had become he was still a Black man, from a place where being "Black" is ill received. Worthless. Though the psychological effects are similar, I would argue on that on the population level it may not be as severe. American Blacks are more preoccupied with hair-texture than skin complexion. Having good hair is as good as if not better than having light skin. And we sacrifice for it. That same sacrifice can be seen in many Blacks in many parts of the Diaspora. So much so that many risk their lives to change that very feature of themselves.

photo via TMZ
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