Skin bleaching: Identity crisis or mental slavery?

Alicia Nunn December 15, 2018

In 1492, Christopher Columbus stumbled upon the Americas and Caribbean Islands in search of the East Indies. With open arms, the natives welcome him as their guest, oblivious to their impending doom.  

Bringing with him diseases and a hidden agenda, he was following orders from the Roman Catholic church to revitalize the failing European economy under the guise of “civilizing the natives”. With him was a crew that included three vessels of criminals let out of jail in Europe to go on the voyage. 

A similar strategy was used in the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; disrupting their way of life with the intent of enslaving them, stealing their land, massacring millions.   

In 1619, Africans, inhumanely stacked and packed like cargo in dark, rancid ships, began the ominous Middle Passage to the Americas during the most savage, diabolical slave trade in history.   

Stolen from their homes, separated from their families, raped and bred, 20 million Africans made it to the shores of America; twice as many are killed: the African Holocaust.

Fast forward to 2018, model and entrepreneur, Blac Chyna makes the voyage home to Africa to launch her Diamond Illuminating and Lightening Cream, in partnership with Whitenicious creator, Dencia, Cameroonian-Nigerian singer, songwriter and entrepreneur. 

Blac Chyna found her way back home to Africa, bringing with her the ways of her ancestors’ captors. 

How did we get here?

Blac Chyna and Dencia have everyone in an uproar over their new partnership.  While it’s inspiring to see two African Diasporan women coming together to build an empire, there is a deeper issue with Whitenicious.  

What’s most sad and alarming is these two beautiful, powerful black women would resort to such drastic measures to make money.  Let’s take a look into the mind of a black woman who feels she needs white skin to feel beautiful.  

Skin bleaching:  Identity crisis or mental slavery?

Skin bleaching is a multibillion-dollar global industry according to Sarah L. Webb in her 2013 article, ‘The Epidemic of Skin Bleaching around the World.’ Although Indians make up the largest skin bleaching market, a staggering 52-77 per cent of African women use skin lighteners. 20-50 per cent of Asians use skin bleaches and 20-50 per cent would use more if they could afford it. 

In her article, Webb lists the potential health risks of skin bleaching, “neurological damage, kidney disease, ochronosis, eczema, bacterial and fungal infections, skin atrophy, and Cushing’s Syndrome.” Furthermore, the body can form a dependency on the chemicals in bleaching products that ensure the multibillion-dollar industry sustains itself.  

Europe, the instigator of the fixation with white skin, has instituted laws banning distribution of mercury soap for its own people but continues to export the product with no regard for the health and well-being of other people.  Webb quotes Evelyn Glenn, Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies and of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

“The media messages are conceived and created by a few individuals and are projected throughout the world. In fact, distribution of mercury soap has been illegal in the EU since 1989, but its manufacture has remained legal as long as the product is exported”.  

Keeping dark-skinned women in a perpetual state of insecurity is big business for Europeans.  Webb calls this “race or ethnicity-based capitalism.”  

The internet and specifically social media gives the capitalistic influence of the West, instituted by Columbus in 1492, open access to the rest of the world.  Tragically, to Africa.  As if the African Holocaust was not enough, the degrading assault on the African woman, matriarch, mother of humanity, continues. 

Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pump images of white blondes and Kim Kardashian to unsuspecting women and men all day, every day, like drugs into the veins of an addict. No matter what you search on social media, whatever the people in power decide they want to inject into your brain will infiltrate your feed, sending subliminal messages; programing your mind. 

The masses follow blindly like sheep to slaughter, rushing to buy the latest products to look like a false image of beauty.  And eventually, EVERYONE, falls prey to the brainwashing.  Even the strongest minds begin to question themselves. 

Skin bleaching:  Identity crisis or mental slavery?

Don’t blame Blac Chyna or Dencia.  They are simply pawns in a diabolical game of chess. Their profit is pennies compared to the billions of dollars the cosmetic industry makes, laughing all the way to the bank despite the emotional and mental cost to the unsuspecting masses.

African American girls and women have always scored the highest of all races and ethnicities on self-esteem surveys.  White, Hispanic, and Asian girls and women score the lowest respectively.  Yet black women are brainwashed to feel inferior to these groups of women.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a mental illness associated with skin bleaching and unnecessary plastic surgery.  The DSM-5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, defines BDD as:

1. The individual obsesses over one or more apparent flaws in his or her physical appearance that are not visible or a big deal to others.

2. At some point, the individual has performed recurrent behaviors like frequently looking in the mirror, excessively grooming, or comparing his or her appearance to another’s.

3. This obsession causes clinically significant distress or impairment in his or her social or work life. 

4. The individual’s preoccupation with his or her appearance cannot be explained by concerns with body fat or weight, which may be symptomatic of an eating disorder.

With the typical age of onset between ages 12 and 13, BDD is associated with childhood abuse, depression, and suicide.  

Although white women get cosmetic procedures done far more than any other race or ethnicity, the American Society of Plastic Surgeon reports the number of African American women getting procedures increased by 17 per cent between 2016 and 2017.  The daughter of Hip Hop legend, T.I., was reportedly advised by doctors that she may go blind after receiving an eye implant to change her eye color from brown to“ice gray”.

According to, 75 per cent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating compared to 25 per cent of girls with high self-esteem.  And teen girls that have a negative view of themselves are four times more likely to take part in activities with boys that they’ve ended up regretting later.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2016, the highest U.S. suicide rates were among Whites and lowest was among African Americans.  Although suicide rates increased across age, gender, and ethnicity between 1999 and 2016.  Suicides in the United States in 2016 doubled the number of homicides making it the second leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 34.

An alarming statistic is that African American children aged five to 12 are committing suicide about twice as much as white children the same age, according to a new study that shows a widening gap between the two groups.  Social media replacing neighborhood play and isolation are cited as reasons.

The brainwashing by internet and social media have led to global assimilation to Eurocentric ideals, values and way of life. Money, individualism, competition, chaos. Traditional African value of family, community, love, harmony may explain the higher self-esteem and lower suicide rates among black people.  

In his book, Christopher Columbus and the Afrikan Holocaust:  Slavery and the Rise of European Capitalism, John Henrik Clarke quotes Columbus, “all the inhabitants could be taken away to Castile (Spain), or made slaves on the island. With fifty men, we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”  The mission in Dr.Clarke’s words is, “to dominate the world and all its resources by any means necessary.”.

Columbus was speaking of Haiti, but imagine similar words spoken in boardrooms of the cosmetic companies and other industries that profit from low self-esteem and insecurity.  “With a few advertising dollars, we can bamboozle the masses into believing they need whatever we are selling.”  

Dr. Clarke warned, “All African and other non-European people should be on the alert, because a new form of slavery could be more brutal and more sophisticated than the slavery of the Christopher Columbus Era.”  Mental slavery.  The inability to make decisions or think foryourself. If someone else is dictating how you see yourself by the incessant mental images they project to you, how are you free? 

You are not.

Dr. Clarke further states, “He was demeaned. This is the thing that is uniquely tragic about the African slave system. Of all the slave systems in the world, no other dehumanized the slave more than that started by the Europeans in the fifteenth century. Using the church as a rationale, they began to set up myths that nearly always read the African out of human history, beginning with the classification of the African as a lesser being.”  

And over time black people began to believe they are lesser and seem to bow down to the people who colonized and enslaved them when research proves Africans are the only people who are 100 per cent human. All other races share DNA with a vicious, disease-carrying subhuman species called Neanderthals.  

Skin bleaching:  Identity crisis or mental slavery?

Yet Africans have been convinced that they are the savages.  And to hate the skin and hair which is 100 per cent human skin and hair. Unlike the skin and hair, they have been brainwashed to envy.

Loss of identity and culture can lead to genocide.  When you can be convinced to change your skin, face, body, and hair to look like someone else, you can be convinced to do anything.

How do we stop the colonization and slavery of our minds? Block the mental images put in the media. Fight for your identity. Protect it.  Take off the wigs, weave.  Wear your natural hair.  Touch your natural hair.  Care for it. Love it.  It is beautiful because it is yours.  Nourish your skin with natural oils.  Rub it.  Love it. You are beautiful.  Repeat until you believe it because it is the truth.

Skin bleaching:  Identity crisis or mental slavery?

We didn’t start racism but we can stop believing it.  And stop passing it on to our children.  We must teach our daughters to love themselves. Their worth is not measuredby how they look or what they wear. Their worth comes from who they are.

Africa is at a crossroads. Her children are dispersed across the world, in search of something better. 

The motherland is rising from the ashes of colonization and slavery.  Surrounding countries see opportunity and are lurking to find a way back into the very continent they helped deconstruct and deplete.  Have we learned from our mistakes?  Or will we repeat them?

“When you have to call your former master back to do basic things for you, you are not free you have re-enslaved or recolonized yourself. There are Africans educated in Africa with African money who are scattered all over the world; they want to be everything but Africans,”  Dr. Clarke warned.

“No matter what island you’re from, no matter what state you’re from, no matter what religion you belong to… we must develop a concept of our Pan Africanism that cuts across all religious, political, social, fraternity, sorority lines and allows us to proudly face the world as one people.”

Blac Chyna made her way back to Africa.  Her intentions may have been misguided, but she made a giant first step towards getting back to her roots.  Blac Chyna made it back home.  All Africans are her family.  Embrace her. Love her.  Guide her.  Heal her. Protect her.

No matter where you live, every person of African descent must return home.  To our roots.  Or face extinction.

“I think we should begin by finding a mirror and liking what we see. If we can’t like what we see, then we can’t make each other whole again. It can’t be just ceremony; we can’t just decorate the outside of the head forever without putting something inside of the head.”  Wise words from Dr. Clarke.

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: December 18, 2018


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