A Conscious Blog

28 Aug 2018

Lighten up? It's not that deep! |#LAM

Last week, Mohammed Iqbal Bharodawala (owner of Jenny Cosmetics) was sentenced to prison for selling skin-bleaching products which contained the infamous, banned and toxic ingredient: hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone was banned in the UK in 2001, due to its associated risks of central nervous damage, liver damage and fears of its non-safety in humans. Despite its ban many customers desiring lighter skin sought out products containing it due to its rapid skin lightening properties. The desire to have lighter or whiter skin does echo the past woes of slavery.

Esther Stamford Xosei, activist and author, coined the term post-traumatic slave syndrome (PTSS) to describe the effects the aftermath of slavery has had on African descendants, which can still be seen in the 21st century. Ultimately, one of the ways slavery still manages to live on is through the effects of PTSS, of which skin lightening is one. Unfortunately the concept of skin-lightening is beyond skin-deep. It's rooted in the barbarity and absurdity of slavery. 

For as long as social spheres and institutions such as television and film; print media, and the advertising industry, continue to place Eurocentric beauty ideals on a pedalstool, we will continue to have this issue. It's great that custodial sentences and hefty fines are being handed out to people selling these products.

Copyright: Newham Times 
Evelyn Akoto, Councillor and Community Safety and Public Health officer stated: "Southwark Council works tirelessly to protect (Southwark shoppers) from irresponsible traders seeking to profit at the expense of their customer's health." 

The hope being that this will act as a deterrent to prevent other store owners from following suit. The real work needs to be done in the mind of the upcoming generation, lest we forget Black skins in all its various shades, undertones and hues is beautiful because #BlackIsBeautiful πŸ–€ ♥ 


5 Feb 2018

I'm not into Black girls but I must say you look cute... |#LAM

I'm not into Black girls but I must say you look cute πŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸ‘‹

Recently, I got approached by an Indian guy online and this was the chat up line he used, quote on quote. I would love to say that this was a lone incident, but unfortunately it's not an isolated experience for me or many of my Black sisters. At different times in my life I've had people from various races use other variations of the compliment insult on me (read below).

"You look cute for a Black girl!"
"I can't believe your Ghanaian. I've never met a pretty Ghanaian before."
"You're pretty for a Black girl!"

So this post is a PSA to all those who think these kind of chat up lines are flattering or complimentary. Imagine I had the audacity to say something like: "I don't like (insert ethnic group here) guys but you're cute for an (insert ethnic group) guy!" I would never dream of saying such a thing.

Far from flattering, such statements are actually incredibly rude and offensive. Whilst I can understand that some people have racial preferences for partners or love interests, equating someone's beauty to their race or ethnicity, keeps the notion that beauty is synonymous with females from a particular race or ethnic group. One usually with fairer skin, exotic features or a palatable Blackness.

Whilst people stay hating Black features whilst on the Black body, but then non-Black people buy lip fillers, have buttock enlargement procedures and tanning, one can't help but wonder why Black features are cool, hot and celebrated but being Black isn't. (Side note: I don't think doing those things individually is problematic, but the combined effort of doing 2 or more is certainly questionable, particularly when you start to look racially ambiguous).

So before you make the mistake of giving a Black girl another backhanded compliment, remember we are not cute for a (insert nonsensical quote here), we are pretty and beautiful just as we are. If that's too hard to comprehend, please keep it moving so we can spread our melanin magic elsewhere.

As always until next time, stay blessed and beautiful dolls. LAM xoxo
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