Egads. From multiple photos and articles, it appears that baseball star Sammy Sosa has bleached his skin. This article claims it was a 'skin rejuvenation process', while this article speculates about other more disturbing motivations, including the history of black self-hate and colonial mentality in response to white-supremacist ideology, racism, and discrimination. The latter article points out that in Sosa's Dominican homeland, 90 percent of the country is of African ancestry, and yet only 10 percent wish to identify as black.
Hearing about Sosa is disheartening, given how it relates to Asians' and Asian Americans' own concepts about beauty standards and body image. Eyelid and nose ridge surgeries are among the top surgeries performed in East Asia, and here in the states there are well-known Asian Americans like former LA news anchor Mia Lee who change their eyes, nose, breasts, and hair, (on top of wearing green or blue contacts). (More recent photos of her are even more dramatic and striking). It is also not uncommon to hear remarks nowadays about how much more beautiful half-white babies are, compared to say, non-white babies.
I've heard defenses from minorities over blacks straightening their hair, or Asians getting eyelid surgery, along the lines of saying that it just makes them look better, or that there are blacks or Asians with naturally straight hair or double eyelids, or that they still look ethnic. I wonder if these individuals have ever read what Malcolm X had to say about 'conking', a painful chemical procedure black men used to regularly undergo in order to look more like white men.
Back to Sammy Sosa -- do you think his lighter complexion was merely the result of a skin 'rejuvenation'? And what are your thoughts about the defenses for people of color who bleach skin, or straighten hair, or get eye and nose surgeries?
The previous issue of Hyphen is available in its entirety for your perusing pleasure. Almost as good as having it right in your hands!