Guest Commentary By Sister Denoceta GUY:
I heard about skin bleaching through an east Indian acquaintance of mine from the Fiji Islands.. She was new to North America and was starting up her own beauty salon business. She kept on talking about milk baths and the threading of the eyebrows, and how North Americans didn’t have any of these things or even knew about them.
Well she was right. Plus it was the late 80’s where we were just starting to understand about the nature of the AIDS Virus. However I did hear something about Cleopatra the queen who often took milk baths for her skin to look beautiful.
A few months had gone by and my acquaintance friend had finally finished her salon, and had wanted me to come over and have a look at it. I did and it was a very beautiful salon, with a bathtub in an adjacent room to the side. So I decided to ask her what did she needed a bathtub for and that’s when she told me that it was for giving her clients milk baths. Interesting I thought, milk baths.
I have seen my mother now and then use milk and oatmeal to wash her face with at nights. But she didn’t need a bathtub for that just a small soup bowl and the bathroom sink. As I was still standing in the smaller room with the bathtub inside of it. I noticed that there were at least eleven or twelve large bottles of bleach not to far from her bathtub. While noticing me looking at her many bottles of bleach, that a person would normally used to wash their clothes as well as disinfect and clean certain areas around their home/office. She came towards me and just simply said, that she “used bleach with her milk baths.” Dam isn’t that dangerous I asked her, she said no “that’s why it’s mixed with milk to help protect the skin.”
That’s crazy I thought to myself, but hey it’s her business.
She then went on to tell me how it was apart of her east Indians culture, that’s what they do to look beautiful. She also told me why she and her people had to run away from their home in the Fiji’ Islands. I of course knew nothing about the Fiji Islands, I was too westernized in my North American so called culture while drinking my Jim Jones Kool Aid of miseducation. I was unaware of what the indigenous Fijian people had looked like.
She continued to tell me stories about her homeland in the Fiji Islands and why her people from India had chosen that part of the world to migrated too. She told me how her people couldn’t stand the Aboriginal Fijian, because of their dark skin, big heads and their culture. She and her people just thought they were ugly. So they would kill them by burning down their homes then crushing their heads with a big rock while chasing and ganging up on them in large groups, while they were trying to run away for their lives.
This was barbaric and madness, I could not believe that this was still going on in 1988 to 1989. I wanted to know why they were doing this, to the original people of Fiji. Her answer was simple. The Fijian Islands were beautiful with the most wonderful luscious vegetational landscapes. They had left India a generation or two just to get some of that luscious land, even if it meant killing off the indigenous people of the Islands.
But sometime in the late 80’s the indigenous Fijians started to fight back against their East Indian colonizers. They chased them off of their land and even killed some of them by chopping them up and even burnt down their homes. Causing the East Indians to flee to North America and other parts of the earth. I guess it’s safe to say that they got back their own evil Karma. If my so called acquaintance didn’t tell me this piece of information I wouldn’t have known about it.
But I was able to see how much we are hated around the world, which I had no knowledge of before then. It was clear that she was trying to get some sort of sympathy from me which I had none to give her, because at the end of the day those were my people that her people had tried to annihilate. But because of my skin color being a lighter shade of blackness, she had felt comfortable sharing this information with me. I was also proud of my fellow Fijians for finally fighting back. We are a people that is so filled with love towards others that fighting back is the last thing on our minds.