Sunday, April 28, 2013

white like mike... or sammy.

i can get really passionate about a lot of things, so i have to keep myself in check. i tend to over-extend because i really believe in something, and then end up not being helpful at all. so, over the past few years, i've really just focused on education and pregnancy and kind of supported others in their crusades for things that i feel are pretty important.
i really admire people who work with young girls, and while i have a special spot in my heart for the ladies - i am one, afterall - i actually feel more drawn to causes for young men. it's no surprise for most that my favorite students are often the under-dog boys - kids who come from messed up families, kids who have had the deck stacked against them but who really do have the potential to be really awesome adults. i also think that if we raise up quality boys, we'll have quality men and that in itself will help with all of the "girl issues" (please, that is a huge generalization, and before you judge me for it... i understand that "girl issues" are far more complex to solve than to "fix" boys)
here in the dominican republic, it's fairly common to see girls being raised to be little homemakers. girls often drop out of school at 13 or 14 to "get married" and play house. boys, however, are brain-washed into the baseball dream. they are sent to practice everyday, even to the detriment of their schooling. a game? miss class. a special practice? miss class. a really good game on tv? miss class.
paperwork is forged and stolen to meet age requirements and thousands and thousands of pesos are spent to "meet scouts" and play "in the big leagues." you can only imagine the impact this has on the culture and what it does to those dominicans who have made it to the big leagues. it's a star status usually reserved for hollywood celebrities. take kobe bryant, michael jordan and shaq, roll them all up in one, and multiply their celebrity by one million.
and so while this is a pain in the butt, it's not really the point of this post. the point is that this celebrity is doing wild things here. take sammy sosa. he may be, besides a-rod, one of the most famous dominican ball players. his celebrity-power is insane. and he is black. which here is even more powerful. people still pray for "white" babies with blonde hair, even though the genetic possibilities in the dominican republic are less than ideal for "white" babies.
imagine how shocked we all were when sammy sosa went and did this.
a few years ago, sammy showed up to an awards show noticeably whiter. and unlike michael jackson who claimed skin disease, sosa admitted to surgically lightening his skin, presumably to be "more attractive."

and so this guy shows up all white and while everyone made fun of him outloud, i had tons of conversations with people who expressed the idea that if they had enough money, they would do it to. after all, isn't he handsome-r now, all white and cute?
i had never noticed it before, mostly because i don't care enough to spend tons of money on special soap.... or rather, i didn't until i started seeing wrinkles next to my eyes (real or not, people, that needs to stop). last week, in the supermarket, i headed to the crèmes and lotions aisles and much to my surprise, i found stack upon stack of whitening cream. no lie.
with names like "michelle marie - whitening cream for the day," "blancoderma (white-skin) with oatmeal, hydrating, regenerating cream AND skin lighten-er", "white magic, whitening cream."

it shouldn't be surprising, i know. but, for me it is. and sad. because us humans are just never happy. people with less pigment spend time in the sun to "get color" and people with color are trying to get rid of it. and so much money is spent trying to change who were are.

because someone has decided that white is beautiful. and then this famous guy buys in and whitens himself to the point of hilarity.... and we all think it's okay.


Erin said...

This is probably one of my favorite posts by you. I, too, have a big heart for the underdog... and in my school, that's a lot of students.

This mentality you wrote about is prevalent among my students as well. And the most common diss I hear in my classroom all day long is, "You're black!" They love to say it to the darker students, especially the girls. And what gets me is that these are black students saying this to each other.

In the community where my students live, the same drive you see toward baseball exists, except here, it's all about being a famous rapper, basketball, or football star. When we did our career project, I had to make the interview component a requirement only to keep all my students from picking professional rapper or athlete.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm going to add three stories. You may not like this but woman will always be treated on a lower level then men even it they are worthless pigs. When I was younger thru my folkie connections I had the pleasure of working and being friends with some really extreme Femminist. What worried me most was that I was married to a wonderful person (still am) and I was affraid that they would convert her. NO. They were not gay they were woman who really believed that they were equal to men. They were part of a movement that would bring change. No matter how many people spit on them tried to damage there spirit they stood there ground, because of this, women have gained many rights they were denined in the "60's and 70s" (My Generation) I speak for the woman in America. I really belive Men and woman are equal. I believe for me it works this way, I can do things my wife can't do, but there are things she can do that I can't, athough when we work together our weaknesses come together and we become one.
As far as the skin condition in Sammy Sousa it's real. I frist devoloped this condition after my first trip to the DR. It took me years for my doctor to tell me or me to figure it out. It was from my blood pressure med. I guess it was my falut for not checking the warning. So much for trusting your doctor. She told me not to worry about it. "You can only get whiter" I'm glad I'm not black or Sammy Sousa.
Melanie you leave those witches alone. I have been telling your mother for the last couple days that it felt like somebody put a spell on me, and we're trying to think who would do that? Leave the witches alone!

jenny said...

You should write one about good/bad hair and 'fajas...