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By Things As I See Them

Are the youths of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) being used as scapegoat? Anytime there is a case of social and or moral decay in our society the youths cannot escape chastisement for part, if not all of it. Let us look at the issue of skin lightening, popularly known as bleaching, through the usage of chemicals by external application.

Until recent times, bleaching was tabooed and only an exiguous number of persons wanted to identify with it. Whether one could attribute the openness of skin bleaching to the bold admittance of popular Jamaican dancehall artiste, Vybz Kartel, now incarcerated, or monkey see monkey do culture, it is difficult to say. However, Vybz Kartel, being an icon to numerous young people across the Caribbean, has publicly admitted and promoted skin bleaching. There is, also an increase in skin lightening products here in SVG, adding to the lucrative and upsurging market of beauty products. Despite this populous increase, there is much speculation of the dangers of using skin-bleaching products.

Several of the products contain an active ingredient known as hydroquinone.

In spite of the threat to users, hydroquinone is found in an abundance of drugs which are used for treating skin discolouration. Common side effects include severe skin redness, burning, dryness, cracking, stinging, bleeding and blue or black discolouration of the skin. Other active ingredients found in skin lightening products include mercury, and kojic acid.

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But if bleaching is known for causing health complications and is even linked to persons doing it as having low or no self-esteem, why is such a significant number of our people doing it? Other than the physiological threats, is there a more psychological reason for bleaching such as lack of self-actualisation, thus provoking identity crises? There could be various reasons why people here in SVG bleach, however, in countries in Africa, skin bleaching is seen as a tool that lifts self-esteem and creates better chances of making one more marketable when seeking employment. The notion that brown skin people are treated better and largely differently from black skin people could have some bearings on skin bleaching in African countries.
On the contrary, in a country where a considerable number of the youths are being accused of reeling out of control on various social issues, one might ask, who has the moral authority to speak to them on the dangers of skin bleaching and other social issues?

The Speaker of the House, Jomo Thomas, addressed the issue in an iWitness News — “Skin Bleaching ‘A Looming Health Crisis”. But is the government or anyone in it, fit enough to talk to our young people about skin bleaching? Our government has sanctioned the utmost unpatriotic bleaching one could ever imagine and that is the removal and replacement of our black sand with white sand at the resort at Buccament Bay. The notion that white is better or offers better collateral than black comes to the fore here. What if, every developer who wishes to invest in a beach resort decides to copy what occurred at Buccament Bay? Isn’t Buccament Bay beach transformation or bleaching clear evidence to any confused youth that white is more appreciated than black, even more so, in a country that is predominantly black? So when our young people turn to skin bleaching amidst the speculations of its dangers, could we truly blame them? Truth is we are the biggest bleachers this side of the globe. We have bleached our country or we have consented to it, in exchange for acceptance. Who has the moral authority to tell our youths differently when the best of us embraced Buccament Bay Resort and are eagerly awaiting its reopening? It would appear that we are not only perfidious but hypocritical too.

Consequently, before we can warn our people about the implications of skin bleaching we need to first correct our own island bleaching and put legislation in place to protect our sovereignty. It should not be economic growth by any means since our people will adapt the same principle and apply it to their daily lives. Such applications could have catastrophic implications on all aspects of our society. If the head leads, then the head must correct. Let us all say NO to bleaching our country and then we as a people would be able to address the issue of skin bleaching among our people.

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

4 replies on “Skin bleaching and bleaching SVG”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    The irony is that millions of pale-skinned Europeans rush to the Caribbean every year to darken their skins by sitting under the hot sun all day long.

    When they step off the plane many of them look like sickly grey ghosts; when the step back on a week or two later they have a pretty, pretty brown glow which makes them the envy of their friends back home.

    What ever happened to “black is beautiful?”

    Though I am light brown in colour, I always have preached and practiced the aphorism, “the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice.” And believe an old man with lots of experience: black women are plenty sweeter than white women, most of whom don’t even know how to whine.

    And what about the crazy practice of hair straightening when we know that in the tropics curly hair — both top and bottom — keeps you cooler and smelling nicer than straight hair.

    There is nothing that stinks worse than muff diving on a white woman with straight hair down there!

  2. This attempt to link the creation of a more familiar and this more marketable tourism product with a looming healthcare concern is ham fisted at best. People like this think they’re so smart. Lol. The ability to IMAGINE links between COMPLETELY FACTUALLY UNRELATED things does not make you smart nor intelligent. It just makes people who do it look like idiots.

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