[OPINIONS]:::Bleaching and Black History Month

No. 52 Wednesday, February 10, 2010
[POSTED BY::: Rev. Dr. Dylan Toussaint] Around this time three years ago the Ministry of Health launched an education campaign to alert 'bleachers' to the dangerous consequences of their practice. By extension the Ministry was seeking to get the bleaching accessories off the market.

   What has become of that campaign? Are a fewer number of persons bleaching? Are there less bleaching accessories being sold across the length and breadth of the island?
   Admittedly it would be foolhardy for us as nation to believe that the Ministry's campaign will, in and of itself, eliminate the practice of skin bleaching in Jamaica. Indeed, one of our local television stations recently aired the views of some teenaged students who were proud 'bleachers'. Indeed when they were asked if they would discontinue the practice, especially after attending the forum, many of them expressed great uncertainty! 

             BLACKNESS AND

   Education alone will not achieve the desired results. Neither will the efforts to get the bleaching accessories completely off the market. As every intelligent Jamaican knows, many of these accessories will simply fall off the 'open' market and end up in the "underground" market, reason being the demand for such products will still be there!
   This begs the question, why are some Jamaicans still trying to bleach away their blackness, especially in light of all that has been said and done over the years to confirm that blackness is not synonymous with backwardness?
   This nation, particularly over her years of Independence, has produced black sportspersons, black entrepreneurs, black workers, black entertainers, black artists, black scholars, black scientists, black politicians and black ministers of religion who have excelled on both the national and international scales.
Why is it therefore, that in spite of such positive images of black Jamaicans, there are those who are hell-bent on changing their skin colour from a dark to a lighter hue?

   A simplistic answer to these questions is that they do not love and/or respect themselves,
   The problem though with such a response is that it seldom gets to the heart of the problem. If it is that they do not love and/or respect themselves, why is this so and why would it compel them to use toxic substances to peel away skin in the hope of gaining a 'Iighter' appearance? After all, there are many persons in Jamaica and the world who are not self-respecting and self-loving, yet we don't find them doing drastic things as 'skin bleaching'.
   Shiv Khera in his International Bestselling book entitled 'You Can Win' states: "There are primarily three factors that determine our attitudes and behaviours. They are: Environment, Experience and Education."

   Environment consists of the following:
       Cultural background
       Religious background

   Experiences refer to our interaction with people and events in our lives and the resultant impact they have on our thoughts and practices.
   Education (according to Khera) is not just academic qualifications but education in the broader sense. That is, both formal and informal education.
   Perhaps if we were to make the effort and take the time needed to carefully examine these triple E's of attitude and behaviour, we would discover some of the real reasons for persons "bleaching" in Jamaica and other parts of the world.
   As we commemorate another Black History Month, may we not only look at our history as blackpeople but may we also learn from it, especially for the sake of those among us who are still trying to bleach away their blackness.

No comments:

Post a Comment