One of the challenges of living in these times is the difficulty being able to discern whether a behaviour is a fad or something more concrete. Cultural relativism seems to have subsumed the view by what seems to be a growing minority that a society should have as its underpinning a healthy layer of ethics to guide our daily interactions. A classic example is the discussion about Rihanna’s surrender to the world of the US influenced music genre R&B even if it means she would have betrayed all the mores inculcated by a Bajan society. The moral degradation of Barbados society becomes more evident when the people and by extension the government seems impotent to act by relieving her of the Youth Ambassadorship in obvious circumstances.
Regrettably social scientists have become silent and the void has created the opportunity for opinions of a quantitative flavour to trump all. It has become fashionable for subjective positions to win arguments even if it means society as a whole maybe threatened. Despite the fact there is enough evidence to show if Barbados continues on its current path our society will further descend into a moraless pit, cultural relativism continues to go unchallenged by leaders in civil society.
As a dominant Black society Barbados should be concerned about how our way of life is being infected by other cultures. Our willingness to compromise on unique attributes which historically have defined who we are must be troubling. It may even seem redundant to explain a key characteristic which defines a Black person is the colour of the skin.
The Jamaican Gleaner reported last week the popular practice of Black Jamaicans to bleach their skins to achieve a lighter skin colour. The report also highlighted another behaviour which is interesting:
Pressure eventually reached to Coffee, not only by way of her colleague “massage therapists” but simply because the men who came in, after viewing the bevy of young women, would not request her “services”. In the space of three months, with the application of creams and lotions, Coffee added much milk to her cup and even though her name hasn’t changed, the beautiful ebony-skinned woman disappeared and eventually morphed into another browning.
The individual (massage therapist) featured in the Jamaican Gleaner article was forced to bleach her skin to ensure that she remained competitive in her job. Some believe bleaching the skin is a fad, some suggest it exposes a Black people in crisis who are searching for their identity. Although the practice of bleaching has become popular in Jamaica, according to the Gleaner article the practice has been observed in North America as well.
Why the hell should Black people be bleaching their skin?