Last week, major league baseball player Sammy Sosa stepped out at an event in Las Vegas looking several shades lighter than usual (SEE HIS PHOTO BELOW). Here was his (b.s.) reasoning:
“I use a cream to keep my skin smooth and soft. I apply it before I go to bed. When I was playing for Chicago all those years, I was in the sun a lot for 1 o’clock games. The flashes (from the cameras) also made my skin look lighter. I’m surprised with the controversy this has caused.” And Sosa would not disclose the name of the cream he uses, saying that it was European and that he was in negotiations to market the product. Spare us, please.
Now, while I think the decision to go pale and pasty is his and his alone, I don’t quite understand the reasoning behind it, and if some people could see me now, they’d say, “And you never will…,” because I, myself, am by no means considered “dark” to many. Having parents of two different Caribbean Island backgrounds made me a simple shade of tan. That’s right, tan. I’m not caramel, brown sugar, or butterscotch because I’m not your dessert condiment.
If being light-skinned is so grand, then why are the ones who have no say in the matter, who were naturally born that way, still subject to ridicule? We’re told we’re acting “high-yella,” even when we’re not, simply because our skin color is enough for rationale. And those “light-bright” and “redbone” nicknames get old quick; in fact, they rival the name-calling that happens on a playground because they’re juvenile and just as insulting. They sure as hell aren’t compliments.
And if being light isn’t considered superior, than why do both the media and celebrities seem to be so fixated on it? What’s wrong with being dark-skinned? Applying the “Chicken-Or-The Egg” school of thought to this matter, I wonder what came first. Was it the entertainment industry who told us that light-and-bright is always all right? Or is each incident (i.e. skin-bleaching, Photoshop white-washing, etc.) an isolated one, and completely unrelated to another?