I’m white. I’m a caucasian women with very fair skin (which just refuses to tan, no matter what and how hard I try) and blonde hair. Not completely naturally but that’s not the point in here. I know I’m in a privileged position by birth in many ways.
I have friends from all over the world, representing many cultures and religions. Muslims, catholics, atheists, not-sures-as-religion-is-not-important-s, Christians, hindis, Buddhists. Whites and blacks, and all the shades of colors in between. Those who want to be whiter and those who admire the tan.
The color of one’s skin matters. The religious views, cultural background and family relations matter. But one is not better or worse than the other. These things matter and should matter as a part of the person’s identity and heritage. They tell part of our story, give it a frame. They don’t need to define us though. They might be part of the story of where we come from, but not where we are going to.
That’s why the Thailand-based campaign for skin whitening products, suggesting that white wins, was absolutely outrageous. Unfortunately it’s true in Thailand. The fairer one’s skin, the higher the respect and career and mating chances. The campaign used a picture of a white and a black women but equally this discrimination is felt by many Thais who face criticism and open mockery for not being pale enough.
Sadly the claim of the campaign has some truth in it. Too often it’s true that white wins. But the solution is not skin-whitening. The solution is making the claim ridiculous. I don’t want to be privileged based on my skin color. I want to live in a world where every person is deemed and recognized as equal by birth. Where the beauty of different looks is admired. Where white is one equal part of the color palette. I want a world where whitening lotions and tanning products are irrelevant. I want to live in a color blind world where the skin color isn’t used to define a person.