Freddie Kissoon forages the media (including the internet) day after day to see how he could bash Hindus (make that ‘Indians’) in Guyana. God knows his motive but one senses the incentive to beckon his fans during. His Dec. 13 column, “Coca-Cola withdraws advertisement that Guyanese would find acceptable” is a case in point. Kissoon has brought up the question of Hindu casteism and the Bollywood skin-whitening phenomenon ad nauseum to castigate Indians on the dark side. The columnist has written at numerous times on the topic to which I have replied; (see my last letter on the discussion, “People in many parts of the world like to look lighter” (KN, 15-10-2013).
It is true that Bollywood has a preference for light-skinned actors. (I have seen actors in action while being filmed) whose faces were caked with the whitening stuff). Nevertheless, a seasoned journalist like Kissoon committed a gross faux pas by not mentioning the same syndrome being present in the African film industry – Nollywood (in Nigeria), for example. Darker actors have a torrid time finding a lead role in that country. That is because more Nigerians gravitate towards the white skin more than any other nationality in the world; (more than 77% of Nigerian women use skin whitener; many men also get into the act!) Most of the beauty queens chosen in the African countries all over the continent have a lighter skin. Indeed, Africa is a continent where Black is not regarded as being beautiful; skin bleaching in that continent is much greater than that of Asia. The malaise also strikes blacks right here in the Caribbean. Jamaicans are known for their preference for the ‘lighter’ skin. VybzKartel(now in jail) used a whitener that dramatically lightened parts of his body, for example. His ‘Look Pon Me’ contains the lines: “Di girl dem love off mi brown cute face, di girl dem love off mi bleach-out face.” On 13-01-13, the Stabroek News carried an article, “Fly Jamaica inaugural flight delayed”, and showed a photo of the attendant crew. There were eight women shown in the photo; except for one, all of them were light skinned, most with dyed hair! The bottom line is people in many parts of the world like to look lighter, and advertisers hone in on that axiom. The question then begs, why does Kissoon not highlight such social problems in the Black community?