The abolition of slavery saved to create conditions that deny white racists the perceived right to be openly racist towards black people; it stopped the self-indulgent right of white people’s trade in black human beings. What, however, the abolition of slavery has not done to date is to create conditions in which black people value not only their skin colour but all of its tones; abolition has failed to wipe out the perception of the inferiority of the darker tone.
The World created on the back of slavery remains largely racists; it is a reflection of white people’s interpretations and definitions of the world; the said world has failed to accommodate a black person as an equal of a white person. However, blaming all of black people’s problems on white people will be irresponsible because many of black people’s problems today are down to our self-perpetuated idiocy. For the fear of the burden of having to prove my claim of black people idiocy, I will not say there are too many black idiots but will instead just say there is a number of black idiots who are in perpetual denial of their own identities and in the process waste who they are.
We have worryingly high numbers of black people spending much of their lives trying to explain and act themselves out of the dark tone. Africans have struggled to belong to themselves; there are many black people spending sizeable amounts of their money to purchase their way out of the dark black tone. The use of corrosive skin lightening creams is unacceptably high in much of Africa.
As black people, we need to appreciate that our value does not lie in our skin tone but in the content of our characters. It is not the lighter tones that will earn us respect from other races but what we do with our minds and hands to improve our lives; the brain and not the skin tone will improve the black person’s living conditions. Black people need to transform themselves from being consumers of other races’ creations to creators of things and start building wealth; only when we are in control of the means of production shall we be able to fully control the socioeconomic and political space.
Humans only lose their value when they surrender it. As long as we continue to allow other races to impose their definitions of beauty on us our perception of beauty will be based on those races’ attitudes towards us. Acquired prejudice towards dark skin tone means that in many black communities the lighter the skin the more beautiful the black person is perceived. The extensive non-medical use of skin lighters is testimony to that fallacy.
The use of corrosive substances by black men and women to bleach their skin is disturbing; that the controversial skin lightening industry generates hundreds of millions of dollars each year is both shameful and a disgrace to the black community.
Skin lightening capitalists are amongst the worst ‘industrialists’; in fact calling this industry a ‘beauty industry’ is an insult to both beauty and industry. Instead of making black people look beautiful, corroded skin gives them ridiculous physical contradictions (light faces and necks contrasted by darker knuckles, knees, etc) on top of untreatable skin diseases and long-term emotional damage.
Black people remain enslaved by their acquired sense of darker skin inferiority. Any person who cannot value himself or herself will find it difficult to earn the respect of others. Black people must start defining beauty in their own terms; we need to seriously start working on taking real control of our social, economic and political space.