In this episode, we talk with Katongole Henry Nathan about why some Ugandans and Africans bleach their skin. What role does skin color play in communities in Uganda and Africa? And how can the practice of skin bleaching be reduced in Uganda and Africa?
Why do we bleach our skin?
The bleaching of skin in Africa is not a relatively new beauty practice. The habit has its roots in the trans-Atlantic slave trade and continued throughout the European colonization of African countries. The systems of class that allowed European slaveholders and traders to turn African blacks into indentured servants ensured permanent inequality in political status, wealth, and beauty, and fostered discrimination based on Skin Color.
The legacies of racist views that white Europeans are superior have remained a structural belief system among women and men who choose to use skin lightening products. Their belief is that darker skin color is associated with unsatisfactory characteristics such as inferior beauty, education, and social class. In other words, darker skin is stereotypically associated with a life of economic hardship and struggle. Consumers of these bleaching products who desire lighter skin believe they will achieve higher levels of social capital, be considered "pure," and be more desirable for marriage. Sources
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