Although this article is about Senegal, skin lightening is an issue all over the world including the Middle East, Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.
It is sad that people have such low self-esteem and devalue their own looks so much that they are willing not only to spend time and money to change their skin colour but that they are even willing to endure pain – whether it is risking chemical burns while bleaching their skin or sunburns while tanning it. And unfortunately, the problem is not an individual issue but a symptom of our societal issues around race and beauty.
Perhaps the most disheartening thing of all is that the article ends with a sentence that only serves to reinforce the racially prejudiced thinking that causes people to try and lighten their skin. The article quotes a dermatologist, the expert opinion in the piece, as saying "When women who use these creams stop, they look horrible. They actually start looking more black, all the side effects manifest at the same time, which they just can't accept."
It seems even in 2012 (and even in an article discussing the dangers of skin lightening) black is still interchangeable with horrible.
Check out the story here and let me know what you think in the comments.