While we were in the Philippines earlier this month, we were told to keep our 20 month old daughter out of the pool until after the wedding in which she'd serve as a flower girl.
I asked, "Why?"
"Soo dat she weel not git too dark!"
"What the hell is wrong with being dark?"
Then my ignorant mother chimed in, "Oh, don't worry, she'll be able to recover in the fall and winter."
How dare they impose such backward, third-world thinking on our young daughter!?! What kind of impact does this have on a whole nation, when its population of brown people are bombarded with such self-loathing messages from cradle to grave?
Every time I go to the Philippines, I am blown away by Filipinos' shame at their brownness, as evidenced by the vast expanse of whitening products at Mercury Drug and Watsons. And it's no longer enough just to be white, now Ponds has a new product that promises a "pinkish white glow". These companies are making a killing off of our people's self-loathing.
This is going to seem harsh, but it needs to be said: the Philippines will continue to be a filthy, backwards third world country with little to take pride in unless our people stop being ashamed of what we are: BROWN. Aspiring for whiteness consumes economic and emotional resources that would be much better focused on improving health, sanitation, infrastructure, fighting the abuse/trafficking of women, improving science and math education, OFWs and the social impact on their children, etc.
Until we stop being a bunch of Uncle Toms, we will lack the cultural self-esteem necessary to elevate our people to greatness. Speaking of which, check out this other photo: a chicken and ribs joint in Iloilo City, Philippines... For a bunch of people who don't want to be "itim" (black) , we seem to like soul food staples quite a bit.
It's worth noting that some of those whitening products contain mercury and/or lead. I'm not sure of the effects of mercury poisoning, but I do know that lead poisoning can lead to serious mental impairment. I guess that would explain why many Filipinos lack the mental capacity to vote for anyone other than their favorite actors and pop singers. And we thought American politics was entertaining!