Yasmin Alihbai-Brown: Why does self-hatred afflict so many non-white people?

The urge to lighten one's skin colour is a disturbing sign of 'ethnic' psychosis

Share
Related Topics

I stare at the mirror – at my age always a testing moment, as callous time etches and doodles relentlessly. But still, it is my face, uniquely mine, sometimes still able to attract the odd flirty bloke. I don't recoil from my own image. But apparently I should.

Definers of beauty have judged women of the East and South to be aesthetically and even biologically inferior to white females. Coloured skin, even today, is a curse unless it is a fake tan. Then there are those flat noses, or big fleshy ones; thick lips (considered gorgeous on Scarlett Johansson but not on Whoopi Goldberg); short necks and legs; apple and plum shapes. What a lot of uglies we are, so far removed from the perfect womanhood of Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren.

Women the world over have been so brainwashed they now worship such golden goddesses, and some are so demented and/or stupid that they have themselves reconstructed, to become a little more like western lovelies.

And so rises a new army of plastic surgeons to make any race look more Caucasian, more gorgeous. Some even believe they are thereby creating a new "de-racialised" world. They have charts and measurements, percentages and figures to show our faces are more brutish and less pleasing than those of Caucasians. You can watch some of these creepy rich gits tomorrow on Bleach, Nip, Tuck: The White Beauty Myth on Channel 4. Watch and wail.

Here is Tahira, a naturally pretty Bangladeshi woman who hates her toffee-coloured skin because her own people have declared it horribly dark, especially when compared with the light colour of her husband. So she uses skin-lightening creams, most of which are known to cause untold damage, She pathetically says: "Michael Jackson, I love his colour. I mean, I just want to know what type of things he used to become that colour".

Glamour model Jet, who is of Caribbean origin, also hugely admires Jackson and wants to look like a Barbie doll. She has her nose and face fixed so she doesn't look like those pram-pushing black women who "don't want to move on with their lives". A young Asian bloke called Mun was viciously attacked by a white gang and so now goes through serial surgery to make his features as western as possible. He wants to show his racist attackers that he too can look like them and become a model. So there. He claims he is not denying his ethnic identity, but only wants to join the "mainstream". Darling boy, much deluded, expecting a second child. Hope the newborn has the good sense to be "mainstream". I know Muslim men who are going off to Pakistan to have operations to make them look less "Muslim" and to have their body hair eradicated.

In China, Japan and Korea thousands of women have eye-widening surgery and some are now opting for excruciating and dangerous leg extensions. Indian actresses once were all shapes and colours. Now top Bollywood female stars are pale and have green or light brown eyes (or contact lenses).

Why is this happening now when India, Brazil and China are set to be the big economic engines of the world? So much of the media is embracing the new world, and today's most popular TV programmes, especially reality shows, feature a cornucopia of racial types. Yet "ethnic" psychosis persists and is manifestly getting worse.

On Asian marriage sites or matchmaking newspaper adverts, third-generation British Asian men want "wheaten" brides. In black communities western features are craved, hair is straightened, skin lightened for reasons profoundly disturbing. Jet gets herself a pointy, long nose. Now, she says, she looks rich enough to shop in Waitrose.

Back in the 1960s the Black is Beautiful movement in the US spread across the world and made us proud to be who we were, even in Kampala, Uganda where I was growing up. I stopped ironing my hair to look like Jean Shrimpton's, and my African college room-mates went Afro. No more burnt hair in the sink and a new dawn, we thought. For a few decades, yes. Now comes globalisation spreading Starbucks and standardised western notions, and with it a surge in "ethnic" self-loathing and self-mutilation.

What is different now is the absence of any political and social fightback. Race is dispensable, can be wiped out if you can pay for the privilege. Then what? Do Jet and Mun really think they will be good enough for the BNP? When, oh, when will we stop being our own worst enemies?

y.alibhai-brown@independent.co.uk

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Engineer - Linux, Windows, Cloud - Central London

£40000 - £48000 per annum + 10% bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engin...

Recruitment Genius: Quality Inspector

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Female Buddy & Team Leader / Buddy

£11 per hour: Recruitment Genius: To join a team working with a female in her ...

Recruitment Genius: Configuration and Logistics Team Member

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 30 years ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would ramp up Britain's spending on science

Paul Nurse
A family remain in the open for the third night following the 7.8 quake in Nepal  

Nepal earthquake: Mobs of looters roam the camps and the smell of burning flesh fills the air, but still we survive

Bidushi Dhungel
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence