Bored Panda works better on our iPhone app
Continue in app Continue in browser
BoredPanda Add Post

The Bored Panda iOS app is live! Fight boredom with iPhones and iPads here.

I Created This Compelling Series To Challenge Black Skin Bleaching
113points
User submission
208
8.4K
Photography4 years ago

I Created This Compelling Series To Challenge Black Skin Bleaching

This is the story of how this series came to be.

Last summer I was driving home from work and felt the need to stop at a local grocery to get some malt beverage. As I was walking inside a young man under a hoodie was exiting, we passed each other without saying anything as his head was held down because he was on his phone. Moments later I heard someone call me by my nickname, “Kemar?” He told me he saw the car outside and realized it was me so he came back to check. We greeted each other with a signature hand gesture, which followed with a painfully awkward pause. His face was barely recognizable. He was bleaching. In life they say to each their own, but there are some things that don’t fit that narrative.

I asked him, “What’s that man, what’s with the bleaching?” He replied, “You know how things are, I have to be trendy and the girls love the light skinned look,”

I said, “Oh, light skin?” At this point he raised a spliff to his lips somewhat reluctantly, took a puff then nodded in approval. With a deadpan expression on his face he extended his hand and said we’d catch up a next time. He turned and exited the grocery store clad in his protective overall to prevent the sun from impeding his bleaching process.

The thing is, self hate works on itself so well that some of us willingly oppress ourselves. You do not need to erase your blackness. If you are bleaching for acceptance and reading this, look at the photos once more; you’ll get the picture.

More info: lexonphotography.com

The Root. It’s not just your skin you’re bleaching, it’s your soul

Lost Identity

Futility

Conflicted

Your soul is tormented because the vessel it lives in is conflicted. Do not bleach your temple to appease the viewers

8Kviews

Share on Facebook
Popular on Bored Panda
Hey pandas, what do you think?
Aaaa Bbbb
Community Member
4 years ago

And at the same time, people give themselves skin cancer trying to tan. Both sad. No one should want attention from people shallow enough to exclude someone for being the "wrong" shade.

Community Member
4 years ago

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Load More Replies...
A Ghost
Community Member
4 years ago

No skin color should ever be seen as inferior and it sucks that this has to be said.

FABULOUS1
Community Member
4 years ago

This is sad because no matter much how you try and change yourself to please others it will never be enough.

Community Member
4 years ago

Exactly, it will never be enough.

Load More Replies...
Beth
Community Member
4 years ago

I saw a woman in the supermarket the other day with the most beautiful skin I've ever seen. She was very dark, like someone had sculpted her out of night, with the most beautiful sheen. Absolutely gorgeous. She told me no one had EVER complimented her on her skin before! Ok, now in NZ we don't have a lot of people of African descent (we do obviously have a lot of other skin tones from all over Asia and the Pacific Islands), but you'd have to be frickin blind not to see how lovely she was. Wouldn't it be funny if we could all change skin colour at will? I wonder what we'd end up with, because I'd currently be the colour of that woman.

Community Member
4 years ago

I love your story especially the last part. That is such a beautiful thing to say!

Load More Replies...
Anna Mcaffee
Community Member
4 years ago

There's no ugly skin colour

Aahzmandus Pervect
Community Member
4 years ago

It would be nice to know where is this story coming from.

Aahzmandus Pervect
Community Member
4 years ago

Jamaica, right? I had no idea it was a problem there.

Load More Replies...
anon12
Community Member
4 years ago

Sad part is as we are progressing in many ways, we are pulled back with great force to these silly things - Skin color, body shaming, bullying, no equality, and many more !!! Next time when someone degrade you with what you are, just IGNORE, 'coz YOU are what matters to yourself ! Love yourself and be kind...

jenna
Community Member
4 years ago

Just as stupid are people who will lie down on sunbeds for fake tans. People with frizzy hair want it straight, with straight hair want curly hair. Some people will just never be content with how they look and who they are. I think the problem of bleaching skin should not be a problem for those who embrace their skin colour. I love all diversity of human looks. In the end? all our bones are white, and our blood is red. I am "white" but I love the colour of the ebony skin. Think of Paul McCartney's song: Ebony and Ivory. Let's celebrate the differences together!

Charlotte Brine
Community Member
4 years ago

I dont think sonetging as drastic as bleaching your actual skin can be quite compared to "people with straight hair wanting it curly" talk about downplaying the seriousness...

Load More Replies...
Purkait Akash
Community Member
4 years ago

This issue can be seen more in south and south-east asian countries. Specifically India Where being of dark skin is perceived as lack of hygiene, inferior social status and sometimes non-trustwothiness. I've faced many people who refuse to believe i shower twice a day since my 'complexion' doesn't agree with it (we indians can be sometimes really dumb folded).

Fee
Community Member
4 years ago

I never knew skin bleaching was a "thing" - I guess I've grown up in a relatively culturally diverse country, where skin colour really doesn't matter to anyone. Only themselves as people matter. I'm so sad that people think they need to do this to themselves.

Apollo
Community Member
4 years ago

I hope a lot of people who think it's necessary to bleach your skin see this and get a wake up call.

Sykz
Community Member
4 years ago

Keep pushing the envelope.

RaroaRaroa
Community Member
4 years ago

It is so sad that, even within one race, people can discriminate on skin colour (or I suppose it would be more shade of colour) to the point that it drives people to bleaching (or tanning for that matter, although this seems to be less of a thing now).

Furious_Lover
Community Member
4 years ago

We are all beautiful in our own way

Community Member
4 years ago

Indeed and I hope this series will open the eyes of many to that, they don't have to change their skin.

Load More Replies...
Gayle Bynum Cardosa
Community Member
4 years ago

I recently met a woman at the airport who was coming home to the U.S. from her native country of the Philippines. She was telling me that she was noticing how many commercials on t.v. there were for skin bleaching creams and then how many aisles of it there were in the beauty supply stores. I was surprised. I had no idea. She said so many people do it there. I guess it's happening in a lot of places. You learn a lot talking to people from other places.

Community Member
4 years ago

Yes, ever since I started this series I've had many people message me about how rampant it is in their part of the world. I had a South African woman expressed to me how many of her peers bleach just to feel accepted. If our dark skin is not enough then what is? Why can't we be enough for our selves as human beings especially where skin color is concerned.

Load More Replies...
JD Cassavaugh
Community Member
4 years ago

The agony portrayed in these images is chilling. The suffering humans inflict on each other and ourselves, because the majority of people still don't realize that we are all ONE race. One complex, interwoven race that is not to be assigned "proper" colors. The diversity among humans, both intricate and grand, is what should be celebrated.

Community Member
4 years ago

Thank you I really appreciate that. And you are right, one complex interwoven race indeed.

Load More Replies...
Yiyi
Community Member
4 years ago

Experiencing the same here

Nicole Holt
Community Member
4 years ago

What a powerful story told in just a few pictures.

Community Member
4 years ago

I'm glad you think of it as such

Load More Replies...
Alia Ris
Community Member
4 years ago

I had to google to find about skin bleaching. I really thought this is only an issue in Asian. :|

Community Member
4 years ago

No, it's also a pretty big problem in the black community.

Load More Replies...
LisaMarie Oliver
Community Member
4 years ago

❤❤❤❤❤ love who you are. No one will ever be you. There will never be another you.

payal tg
Community Member
4 years ago

😲

Sherida van den Bent
Community Member
4 years ago

It's horrible that people like him feel like they should change something so basic about themselves to 'fit in' or make other people like them. What makes it even worse for me is that black skin is so, so, so beautiful.. why would you change something so beautiful about yourself just so shallow people will look at you in a different way...

Yazid Gobir
Community Member
4 years ago

You might succeed in changing the shade of your skin, but you can't ever change your soul.

Allayna
Community Member
4 years ago

Skin color expectations are different everywhere, for example where I live in the US, I get looked down upon being a caucasian. I get made fun of too . I wouldn't ever imagine someone giving up their skin tone though, I have always felt that being too white is a problem. Same goes for body types and other body ideals. I have come to look at it as everyone is beautiful.

I Am the Walrus
Community Member
4 years ago

I hate how people think Michael Jackson bleached his skin. The poor man had vitiligo, which is a loss of skin pigmentation. This was even proved in his autopsy. But haters still wanna hate. Poor MJ :( I love him.

Bella Smith
Community Member
4 years ago

i am actually crying right now

Community Member
4 years ago

🙏

Load More Replies...
Full Name
Community Member
4 years ago

I read and article by a retoucher who does work from all over the world who said that in light skinned cultures they usually want darker skin and vice versa. The grass is always greener and it has zero to do with racism or outside pressures. Everyone just wants what they don't have.

John Smith
Community Member
4 years ago

hey if you're black and want to look white, more power to you ... if you're white and want to look black, you racist bastard lol

I Am the Walrus
Community Member
4 years ago

I agree that this can happen, and experienced it firsthand. This past year, I was a female-version of Michael Jackson for Halloween. I was deciding whether or not to go with my natural white skin color, or do brown. So I tested out both and asked opinions on an MJ fan page. Got torn to shreds. Never mind I love the man and wanna pay tribute to him in an accurate manner, and I'm also not racist at all.

Load More Replies...
AKA
Community Member
4 years ago

Chill. If you're gonna use the temple metaphor, how about continuing it: Your friend's body is a temple dedicated to his soul. Don't presume to judge him for how he decorates his altar. Yeah, it sucks that so many people don't appreciate the beauty of dark skin. And the pictures are good, nice job. My problem is with your message. People who lighten their skin (or darken it, for that matter) are not "conflicted" or "lost", and it's rather patronizing to tell them so. Identity is NOT skin-deep.

Community Member
4 years ago

Hey that's fine, we all can't agree on everything or see eye to eye, I'm cool with that. Where I'm from it's a real problem and people are judged based on how light their skin is and mocked for the darker shade, and so they resort to bleaching to feel accepted, there's a documentary series based on it too. We have to learn to be comfortable in our own skin. A young man from a neighboring community of mine tried to commit suicide because of the labels he attracted, they called him "midnight madness". This is a real issue whether you agree or not.

Load More Replies...
John Smith
Community Member
4 years ago

malt beverage, hoodie, spliff, signature hand gesture ...... glad that you're really thinking outside of the box on this race thing

Allayna
Community Member
4 years ago

What the heck man, he was just telling a story

Load More Replies...
Phil The Computer
Community Member
4 years ago

The only people I've ever seen try to bleach their skin is uncle ruckus from boondocks

John Smith
Community Member
4 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

These photos are silly, amateurish and lame. Was this a junior high photo assignment? Are you familiar with Reddit and their sub r/im14andthisisdeep ?

Molly Tallmadge
Community Member
4 years ago

I would tell you to eat trash... but that would be cannibalism

Load More Replies...
Aaaa Bbbb
Community Member
4 years ago

And at the same time, people give themselves skin cancer trying to tan. Both sad. No one should want attention from people shallow enough to exclude someone for being the "wrong" shade.

Community Member
4 years ago

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Load More Replies...
A Ghost
Community Member
4 years ago

No skin color should ever be seen as inferior and it sucks that this has to be said.

FABULOUS1
Community Member
4 years ago

This is sad because no matter much how you try and change yourself to please others it will never be enough.

Community Member
4 years ago

Exactly, it will never be enough.

Load More Replies...
Beth
Community Member
4 years ago

I saw a woman in the supermarket the other day with the most beautiful skin I've ever seen. She was very dark, like someone had sculpted her out of night, with the most beautiful sheen. Absolutely gorgeous. She told me no one had EVER complimented her on her skin before! Ok, now in NZ we don't have a lot of people of African descent (we do obviously have a lot of other skin tones from all over Asia and the Pacific Islands), but you'd have to be frickin blind not to see how lovely she was. Wouldn't it be funny if we could all change skin colour at will? I wonder what we'd end up with, because I'd currently be the colour of that woman.

Community Member
4 years ago

I love your story especially the last part. That is such a beautiful thing to say!

Load More Replies...
Anna Mcaffee
Community Member
4 years ago

There's no ugly skin colour

Aahzmandus Pervect
Community Member
4 years ago

It would be nice to know where is this story coming from.

Aahzmandus Pervect
Community Member
4 years ago

Jamaica, right? I had no idea it was a problem there.

Load More Replies...
anon12
Community Member
4 years ago

Sad part is as we are progressing in many ways, we are pulled back with great force to these silly things - Skin color, body shaming, bullying, no equality, and many more !!! Next time when someone degrade you with what you are, just IGNORE, 'coz YOU are what matters to yourself ! Love yourself and be kind...

jenna
Community Member
4 years ago

Just as stupid are people who will lie down on sunbeds for fake tans. People with frizzy hair want it straight, with straight hair want curly hair. Some people will just never be content with how they look and who they are. I think the problem of bleaching skin should not be a problem for those who embrace their skin colour. I love all diversity of human looks. In the end? all our bones are white, and our blood is red. I am "white" but I love the colour of the ebony skin. Think of Paul McCartney's song: Ebony and Ivory. Let's celebrate the differences together!

Charlotte Brine
Community Member
4 years ago

I dont think sonetging as drastic as bleaching your actual skin can be quite compared to "people with straight hair wanting it curly" talk about downplaying the seriousness...

Load More Replies...
Purkait Akash
Community Member
4 years ago

This issue can be seen more in south and south-east asian countries. Specifically India Where being of dark skin is perceived as lack of hygiene, inferior social status and sometimes non-trustwothiness. I've faced many people who refuse to believe i shower twice a day since my 'complexion' doesn't agree with it (we indians can be sometimes really dumb folded).

Fee
Community Member
4 years ago

I never knew skin bleaching was a "thing" - I guess I've grown up in a relatively culturally diverse country, where skin colour really doesn't matter to anyone. Only themselves as people matter. I'm so sad that people think they need to do this to themselves.

Apollo
Community Member
4 years ago

I hope a lot of people who think it's necessary to bleach your skin see this and get a wake up call.

Sykz
Community Member
4 years ago

Keep pushing the envelope.

RaroaRaroa
Community Member
4 years ago

It is so sad that, even within one race, people can discriminate on skin colour (or I suppose it would be more shade of colour) to the point that it drives people to bleaching (or tanning for that matter, although this seems to be less of a thing now).

Furious_Lover
Community Member
4 years ago

We are all beautiful in our own way

Community Member
4 years ago

Indeed and I hope this series will open the eyes of many to that, they don't have to change their skin.

Load More Replies...
Gayle Bynum Cardosa
Community Member
4 years ago

I recently met a woman at the airport who was coming home to the U.S. from her native country of the Philippines. She was telling me that she was noticing how many commercials on t.v. there were for skin bleaching creams and then how many aisles of it there were in the beauty supply stores. I was surprised. I had no idea. She said so many people do it there. I guess it's happening in a lot of places. You learn a lot talking to people from other places.

Community Member
4 years ago

Yes, ever since I started this series I've had many people message me about how rampant it is in their part of the world. I had a South African woman expressed to me how many of her peers bleach just to feel accepted. If our dark skin is not enough then what is? Why can't we be enough for our selves as human beings especially where skin color is concerned.

Load More Replies...
JD Cassavaugh
Community Member
4 years ago

The agony portrayed in these images is chilling. The suffering humans inflict on each other and ourselves, because the majority of people still don't realize that we are all ONE race. One complex, interwoven race that is not to be assigned "proper" colors. The diversity among humans, both intricate and grand, is what should be celebrated.

Community Member
4 years ago

Thank you I really appreciate that. And you are right, one complex interwoven race indeed.

Load More Replies...
Yiyi
Community Member
4 years ago

Experiencing the same here

Nicole Holt
Community Member
4 years ago

What a powerful story told in just a few pictures.

Community Member
4 years ago

I'm glad you think of it as such

Load More Replies...
Alia Ris
Community Member
4 years ago

I had to google to find about skin bleaching. I really thought this is only an issue in Asian. :|

Community Member
4 years ago

No, it's also a pretty big problem in the black community.

Load More Replies...
LisaMarie Oliver
Community Member
4 years ago

❤❤❤❤❤ love who you are. No one will ever be you. There will never be another you.

payal tg
Community Member
4 years ago

😲

Sherida van den Bent
Community Member
4 years ago

It's horrible that people like him feel like they should change something so basic about themselves to 'fit in' or make other people like them. What makes it even worse for me is that black skin is so, so, so beautiful.. why would you change something so beautiful about yourself just so shallow people will look at you in a different way...

Yazid Gobir
Community Member
4 years ago

You might succeed in changing the shade of your skin, but you can't ever change your soul.

Allayna
Community Member
4 years ago

Skin color expectations are different everywhere, for example where I live in the US, I get looked down upon being a caucasian. I get made fun of too . I wouldn't ever imagine someone giving up their skin tone though, I have always felt that being too white is a problem. Same goes for body types and other body ideals. I have come to look at it as everyone is beautiful.

I Am the Walrus
Community Member
4 years ago

I hate how people think Michael Jackson bleached his skin. The poor man had vitiligo, which is a loss of skin pigmentation. This was even proved in his autopsy. But haters still wanna hate. Poor MJ :( I love him.

Bella Smith
Community Member
4 years ago

i am actually crying right now

Community Member
4 years ago

🙏

Load More Replies...
Full Name
Community Member
4 years ago

I read and article by a retoucher who does work from all over the world who said that in light skinned cultures they usually want darker skin and vice versa. The grass is always greener and it has zero to do with racism or outside pressures. Everyone just wants what they don't have.

John Smith
Community Member
4 years ago

hey if you're black and want to look white, more power to you ... if you're white and want to look black, you racist bastard lol

I Am the Walrus
Community Member
4 years ago

I agree that this can happen, and experienced it firsthand. This past year, I was a female-version of Michael Jackson for Halloween. I was deciding whether or not to go with my natural white skin color, or do brown. So I tested out both and asked opinions on an MJ fan page. Got torn to shreds. Never mind I love the man and wanna pay tribute to him in an accurate manner, and I'm also not racist at all.

Load More Replies...
AKA
Community Member
4 years ago

Chill. If you're gonna use the temple metaphor, how about continuing it: Your friend's body is a temple dedicated to his soul. Don't presume to judge him for how he decorates his altar. Yeah, it sucks that so many people don't appreciate the beauty of dark skin. And the pictures are good, nice job. My problem is with your message. People who lighten their skin (or darken it, for that matter) are not "conflicted" or "lost", and it's rather patronizing to tell them so. Identity is NOT skin-deep.

Community Member
4 years ago

Hey that's fine, we all can't agree on everything or see eye to eye, I'm cool with that. Where I'm from it's a real problem and people are judged based on how light their skin is and mocked for the darker shade, and so they resort to bleaching to feel accepted, there's a documentary series based on it too. We have to learn to be comfortable in our own skin. A young man from a neighboring community of mine tried to commit suicide because of the labels he attracted, they called him "midnight madness". This is a real issue whether you agree or not.

Load More Replies...
John Smith
Community Member
4 years ago

malt beverage, hoodie, spliff, signature hand gesture ...... glad that you're really thinking outside of the box on this race thing

Allayna
Community Member
4 years ago

What the heck man, he was just telling a story

Load More Replies...
Phil The Computer
Community Member
4 years ago

The only people I've ever seen try to bleach their skin is uncle ruckus from boondocks

John Smith
Community Member
4 years ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

These photos are silly, amateurish and lame. Was this a junior high photo assignment? Are you familiar with Reddit and their sub r/im14andthisisdeep ?

Molly Tallmadge
Community Member
4 years ago

I would tell you to eat trash... but that would be cannibalism

Load More Replies...
Popular on Bored Panda
Popular on Bored Panda
User Submissions
Also on Bored Panda
Also on Bored Panda