Our forefathers have fought and struggled to bring us where we are today.
The Europeans see black skin as inferior and have taken advantage of it by exploiting us in many ways including our mineral resources.
Sulley Muntari, a Ghanaian footballer in Europe walked off the pitch recently to express his dissatisfaction about the racial chants from Cagliari football club fans whilst playing for Pescara football club.
Racial discrimination being predominant in some parts of Europe, and some blacks cannot stand the shame of being given ‘uncalled-for names’, has seen them tend to skin bleaching as the ultimate solution out of racial discrimination.
They therefore bleach their dark skin to white. And this has become a new craze among Africans and in Ghana currently. It is on the rise because of affordability in getting skin lightening products.
According to the official statistics from 2005, the Ghana Health Service estimates that at least 30% of Ghanaian women and 10% of Ghanaian men were actively or have at one point used bleaching products.
Skin whitening and skin bleaching refers to the use of substances, mixtures or physical treatments to lighten skin colour by reducing the content of melanin of the skin.
The World Health Organisation defines bleaching as ‘the intentional alteration of one’s skin colour to one relatively if not substantially, lighter in colour, through the use of chemical skin lightening agents, either manufactured, home made, or the combination of the two’.
Most of these bleaching products contain harmful chemicals such as hydro quinone which is widely considered a potential carcinogen and mercury salts which inhibit the formation of melanin, resulting in a lighter skin.
The Food and Drugs Board(FDB) of Ghana has made some effort to ban these products but have not been able to achieve their goal completely.
Research and studies have shown that skin lightening products may also cause skin rashes, skin discolouration and scarring as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.
We used to say ‘Black is beautiful’ but now it has changed to ‘white is better’. This has seen many people bleach their skins or tone their dark skin whiter just to look beautiful and attractive for their loved ones, forgetting about the side effects of these products which at a late time gives them bad body odour and skin cancers.
The portrayal of white skinned women as beautiful in adverts for skin lightening products, in movies, music videos has forced many women and youthful girls who see them as role models to venture into skin whitening and bleaching.
Apart from women, some men have also joined in this skin bleaching business. A Ghanaian boxer Briamah Kamoko popularly known as ‘Bukom Banku’s’ …. on facebook. Some men also bleach just beacause they want to look like their favorite music and movie stars, who have also used skin lightening products and other methods to become white, an example is American rockstar Michael Jackson.
Skin bleachers have inferiority complex, they have low self-esteem they do not appreciate themselves making them ignorant about the dangers skin whitening products pose to them.
Speaking to some people about what they think, Kwame said ‘ Personally, I have this perception about people who bleach, they do not appreciate themselves’. People should appreciate the way God created them and make useful purposes out of themselves.
He also added that ‘ Some people do it under the influence of friends’. If this is so, should we always listen to friends and put ourselves in danger or leave our values behind?
Daniel also shared his opinion by saying ‘ They do not think good of themselves, they think if they become fair they would become more beautiful and they are appreciated but that ignorance makes them loss their skin and it makes them who they look like right now and I think they regret’.
The nation can do more to curb this menace by raising public awareness regarding the types of skin lightening products that contain mercury and hydroquinone and the risks associated with their exposure.
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