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On Air: Would you change your skin colour if you could ?

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 10:32 UK time, Friday, 16 July 2010

skincolour.jpgFacebook users in India are being offered a chance to make themselves appear whiter online as part of a marketing campaign by the skincare company Vaseline. The site is doing well but not everyone approves - Ember Rayne Hulett in Virginia posted :


"Black is Beautiful. You don't need a cream to be cool"

fairandhadsome.jpgand it's not just women, in case you were wondering . The owner of a cosmetics shop in Delhi says :  

"Earlier it was only the ladies who were interested, but now many young boys and men also want to have a fairer complexion"

The reason ? Here's the same shop owner :

"Maybe it is because of the impact of the Indian film industry because traditionally the heroes and heroines have been shown as white-skinned people.Or maybe it is a legacy we inherited from the Britishers when they left India?"

Do you remember Senator Harry Reid's comments about Barack Obama ? He said the President had been elected because he was :

"light-skinned" - and later apologised. This writer - Omar Wasow- a PhD candidate in African American studies at Harvard, thinks Harry Reid had a point..

"Even a cursory knowledge of black history suggests colorism shapes which blacks attain leadership positions ... So, given all the evidence that Reid was right, what's he apologizing for? Perhaps, Reid's real faux pas was talking about our "post-racial" America as if race still mattered".

Here's one (who describes herself as "brown-skinned") blogger's reponse to Reid's comments..

"Since the days of slavery, skin color has been used as a tool of separation and preferential treatment within the black community. The residue of the "house" versus "field Negro" divide has long remained with us, even as we celebrated black pride"

womanskinlightening.jpgIn Jamaica - and across the Caribbean it's an issue ...an 18 year old - Tamara - who uses skin lighteners , says :


"White people get the better things in life, yes, - You have a lot of advantages when you are white."

So, whatever the roots of the issue , why is it mainly one way ? When we discussed this issue before, we got a lot of jokey comments from white people talking about tanning - but in the main they were doing that because they wanted to look "healthy", they didn't actually want to be mistaken as someone from, say, India.

And white kids in the west like to sound black, but don't actually try to change their appearance accordingly.

So, would you want to change your skin colour ?

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