The issue of colour of the skin is indeed a very sentimental topic, as skin colour for the best part of history and even in our present living has played a very significant role in the way people were perceived, viewed and treated.

The issue of skin colour for Africa dates back precolonial times to the era of Slavery. A good proportion of slaves exported to Europe and America were predominately people with dark skin.

In our present day reality, white colour is perceived as being beautiful, pure, good etc. while the black colour is perceived to be ugly, dirty and bad.

Has this always being the case? Has the black colour always had such negative connotations or is this simply a man-made conception borne out of convenience and the need for superiority?

While this might be very difficult to answer, for lack of factual historical evidence, some ancient literary works suggest that the issue of skin colour was not as relevant as it is today.

Colonialisim and imperialism seem to be obvious culprits as to how we got to this point of colorism . It is not too difficult to imagine how white colonists and imperialists with their more advanced civilisation at the time would represent a phenomenon of awe and wonder to the less developed Africans they encountered at the time. Buttresed by the fact that these whites did nothing to dispel this awe, but created more ways and means to entrench superiority over the dark skinned Africans. By favouring lighter skinned Africans over their darker skinned relatives, the whites further entrenched the values of whiteness creating a great divide and birthing the problem of colorism among the natives.

With lighter Africans enjoying more benefits compared to the darker skinned ones, it created an unprecedented appeal for whiteness and an almost palpable disdain for dark skin.

Hence, somewhere in the psyche of the African, there is this desire to aspire to a degree of closeness to the white people, as the ideal persona  in terms of sophistication, finesse, wealth and class.

Even though a lot of work has been done to change this stereotype of black people, a lot more still needs to be done.

In an earlier post, I had discussed to origin of skin colour and how skin colour evolved over time.

The major significant difference between white and dark skin is as a result of the activity of melanin cells, being more active in darker skin than in lighter skin and in no way impacts superiority on any skin tone.

This post explains how the activity of melanin affects our skin colour

We live in a strange world where many light-skinned people want to be darker—or at least tanned to look healthy and like they’ve just enjoyed a vacation on the Riviera and a lot of darkly pigmented people want to look lighter because lightness is associated with higher status.

So we have a paradoxical situation where many light people want to be darker and many dark people want to be lighter. Humans are motivated by diverse sets of ideas. They usually aspire to an appearance that confers higher status.

Once we recognize that it’s a pretty stupid thing to do, we can adjust our cultural sights and say, “Hey, let’s just live with the skin color that we have. Let’s protect it, let’s cherish it, let’s make sure that we are healthy with it.”