Do African Americans really buy skin bleach at WalMart?
Well, that's what happens when you actually leave the house. The need for tampons finally drove me from my cave this evening. (Yeah, TMI. Send me your therapy bill.)
I was so astonished by this little section of WalMart goods that I snapped some photos with my camera phone. First, a broad shot to set the scene:
African American hair products, do-rags(??), and, right in the center...
Skin Whitener? Fade Cream? Are they serious? There's really a demand for such products in 2006?
It's a bit funny when juxtaposed with the rows upon rows of self tanners you find right around the corner, but as a thing in itself I find it incredibly depressing. No doubt all the hair straighteners crammed in that out-of-the-way section carry the same political taint; bell hooks would probably set fire to the whole mess if she saw it. I stood there thinking that it really isn't my business to judge other people's beauty regimens, and maybe there's a use for such products completely outside of any racist influences. I don't have any experience caring for black skin; it's perfectly likely that I'm just ignorant.
Besides, I have snarly curly hair myself, and if I decided one day that I'd had enough of its crap and had it straightened bell hooks wouldn't give a damn. Why shouldn't black women have the same freedom to choose the hair they want? And if I can slather myself with Ultimate Glow or whatever because I prefer my skin browner, why shouldn't a black woman feel free to use skin bleach? Why do I breeze by the self tanners and recoil in horror from the skin whitener?