Skin whitening – round and round we go….


Today I ran into skin whitening advice on a blog. It is not like we women of color do not hear enough ‘you can be beautiful, if only’ messages everywhere we look. Heck, it is not like all women don’t hear enough of ‘you can be beautiful, if only’ messages.

I am not picking on the blogger but the blatant racism underlying this whole ‘skin whitening’ reminds me how some topics can seem to be done to death and yet be fully alive. Racism is a phoenix that rises from the ashes over and over and over.

So I commented on the blog,

“I am not sure you meant to, but do you know that promoting whitening of skin is very racist? I wrote about it in an academic article. Here is the link.

There is also a lot of press coverage on this topic. For example,

Just for you to consider.”

And the response from the administrator was this:

“There are many different and personal reasons why people are interested in skin whitening. Not all of the reasons have to do with racism. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

I have beaten this horse before in an academic paper lambasting Hindustan Unilever for their hypocrisy about selling the idea that ‘being fair equals lovely’ while operating a Fair and Lovely Foundation to provide scholarships to young girls and women. And here it is. Again.

What personal reasons other than an ingrained ‘white is beautiful’ message can be behind people wanting to bleach their skin? So, it is not an indictment against the particular blogger but a yet another call to notice the nonchalant, uncritical acceptance of racist practices even among the ‘nicest’ people. Yes, again.

So I started to google, ‘how to whiten your skin’, 930,000 results in less than a minute. See the screenshot below.

how to whiten skin google search copy

Then I googled, ‘skin whitening racism’,  and 50,900 results in 36 seconds. See below.


20 to 1, racism to critical thought! Yet another example of an uncritical, systemic racism prevalent everywhere. Round and round and round we go.

I am learning that most bloggers tend to use Google keyword search as the way to identify trending topics that will make their blogs most money. Ego-driven/economic rationality theories will find nothing wrong with this practice.  In a model in which consumers are not people but markets and everything and everybody is a resource to be exploited, how can there be any space for critical thinking around complex issues such as racism. So round and round we go.

So if you want to whiten your skin naturally, please do visit

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11 Responses to Skin whitening – round and round we go….

  1. Ahhhh! I totally feel you. Just yesterday, I was having a conversation with some friends about a dark-skinned South Indian actor who has been heavily criticised in YouTube comments for “looking like a guttersweep.” I found this attitude absolutely disgusting: it angers me that people have such an inflexible idea of “beauty” to this day. My personal opinion is that the actor’s dark skin is smooth, radiant, striking and actually makes him extremely attractive. I think beauty comes in all shades. But what frustrates me even more is that many South Asian I have talked to find it surprisingly difficult to believe that I could genuinely “like” dark skin. While most don’t condone outright racism, their general opinion is that dark skin is something to be merely “accepted” and put up with – without the possibility of seeing any inherent beauty in it. I am not advocating that any particular skin tone should be promoted over another, but I certainly don’t believe that any one of them should be written off as lacking in any attraction! There is just as much potential for beauty in dark skin as there is in the fairest of the fair shades. I am so sorry for the rant, but this issue drives me up the wall and through the ceiling!!!! I am glad you brought attention to this problem. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks, Yusra. Of course I am not surprised about the South Asian reaction. Colonization leaves such deep-seated self hatred. I am glad for your rant. I didn’t want to be the only one!


  3. Robin says:

    Oh I agree with you 100%. The media promotes a cruel message sadly that we aren’t good enough as we are.


  4. Adrienne, I need to figure out how to let commenters post pictures, I think.


  5. I’m glad you’re addressing this. Women already face enough subliminal messages about how they should look from the media. I wish people would realize that there are many different kinds of beauty, from the palest ivory skin tone to the warm golden skin tones to the darkest ebony skin colours. They are all so beautiful.


  6. Pingback: Thank you, readers and fellow bloggers! | Next Step to Nirvana

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