by Michael Imhotep, TheMichaelImhotepShow.com
Monday, 5-9-16, 9:00AM EST Updated 5-12-16, 11:17 AM EST
On Thurs. April 23rd, 2014 “ABC World News Tonight” with Diane Sawyer did a story that sums up what I have been talking about for years. Actress Lupita Nyongo from the film “12 Years A Slave” was named “The Most Beautiful Person Of The Year” by People Magazine. Deborah Roberts reporting for ABC did a story of about colorism and the effects of the media on our children. Lupita Nyongo had one wish when she was younger, that she would wake up lighter skinned. Many people have argued with me claiming that the media has no effect on our children and there is no problem with our women dying their hair blonde, straightening their hair, etc. This all deals with being influenced by a European Standard of Beauty.
In the video, Dr. Deirdre Royster, Phd., who is a Sociologist from New York University did a study with a group of young girls ages 5-8 of different ethnic groups and female dolls. The girls continued to choose the White, Blonde hair doll as the pretty doll. When asked by Deborah Roberts (the reporter) “What does that say to you about what message they’re getting?”, Dr. Royster replied “Blonder, lighter, more European features are still seen as the most desirable.” What happens to our children when they put a higher value on European features than their own features? What are we telling them and why are some of our parents too ignorant to protect them from this?
As Dr. Frances Cress Welsing and Nelly Fuller taught us, If you don’t understand European White Supremacy and Racism, what it is and how it works, everything else that you think that you understand will totally confuse you.
If we look at the recent pictures posted by Hip Hop artist Lil Kim on her Instagram page we can see an example of a self hatred that is perpetuated by a White controlled media. This can cause low self esteem, self hatred and a tendency for people, especially African American women, to try to achieve a European Standard of Beauty to achieve acceptance and status. This also can result in African American men pursuing women who fit the European Standard of Beauty because it was reinforced in them when they were a child.
The story goes on to say, “TV may be partly to blame. 76% of the faces we see are white and just 16% are black. Which might explain the girls’ response when asked who they would prefer to look like.”
In a November 3rd, 2014 interview with Glamour Magazine, Lupita Nyongo was asked, “You’ve received lots of attention for your looks. Did you grow up feeling beautiful?”. Lupita replied, “European standards of beauty are something that plague the entire world—the idea that darker skin is not beautiful, that light skin is the key to success and love. Africa is no exception. When I was in the second grade, one of my teachers said, “Where are you going to find a husband? How are you going to find someone darker than you?” I was mortified.” I remember seeing a commercial where a woman goes for an interview and doesn’t get the job. Then she puts a cream on her face to lighten her skin, and she gets the job! This is the message: that dark skin is unacceptable. I definitely wasn’t hearing this from my immediate family—my mother never said anything to that effect—but the voices from the television are usually much louder than the voices of your parents.
Whoever controls the images, controls your self-esteem, self-respect and self-development. Whoever controls the History controls the vision”. – Dr. Leonard Jeffries
Transcript of this segment from ABC World News Tonight, 4-23-14
Just today people magazine named Oscar winner Lupita Nyonog, the most beautiful person of the year. Other African American women, Beyonce, Halle Barry have graced the cover. But she has said it was painful for her to be a young girl growing up with very dark skin.
We wanted to know if children today still absorbed that painful message about dark and light skin and ABC’s Deborah Roberts had a personal reason to seek an answer. Reporter: The most beautiful woman of the year, quite a turn for the actress who shared a heart-breaking secret. My one prayer to god was that I would wake up light skinned.
Reporter: Owning up to deep-rooted pain many black women have felt for years. Reporting the story for “Good morning America” I, too, found myself shaken by old wounds. I understand her journey.
Reporter: Choking up on air. My personal revelation led to an outpouring on online messages. So many others sharing that dark shame.
In 2014 with the prominence of women like Michelle Obama and Beyonce, surely color and beauty must not be an issue. So with a group of 5 to 8-year-olds we took a snapshot of the famous 1939 doll test. Black kids presented with two dolls overwhelmingly preferred the white one.
We started by showing each girl throw dolls dressed identically but with different shades of skin color. Which one do you think is the most beautiful? Reporter: We’re encouraged to see this girl choose a girl that looks like her.
Why is this doll more beautiful than these two? It looks mostly like me. Reporter: Her confidence shining through.
But then watch. We’re stunned again and again. The girls choose the white doll.
So this is the most beautiful doll? Reporter: Why? Because she has blond hair.
Her shirt and boots and hair. Because she has blond hair. I like her hair.
Because she has blond hair. Reporter: What does that say to you about what message they’re getting? (Dr. Deirdre Royster, Phd., Sociologist, New York University) Blonder, lighter, more European features are still seen as the most desirable.
TV may be partly to blame. 76% of the faces we see are white and just 16% are black. Which might explain the girls response when asked who they would prefer to look like.
I want to look like that one. Reporter: This black girl chooses the while doll and reveals the problem. Why do you guys think this doll wasn’t as popular?
Because they don’t like brown. Reporter: For me a sobering moment of truth. Especially when we see what the girls do when asked which doll they would like to take home.
A tug of war over that blond white doll. I spoke with researchers who specialize in body image and they say it’s going to take a lot more. Diane, to truly change the way we look at ourselves and look at each other.
You were saying show pictures and talk about skin color. Don’t avoid the issue. It’s not enough to buy them dolls.
You need to talk about the dark skin and how beautiful it is alone. Talk about it. A great report.
Sources and recommended articles:
Michael Imhotep is a talk show host, researcher, lecturer, writer and founder of The African History Network. He is the host of The Michael Imhotep Show on The Empowerment Radio Network and can be heard Monday-Friday, 10pm-12midnight EST on www.TuneIn.com or the TuneIn Radio App and search for “Empowerment Radio Network”. Visit his website www.AfricanHistoryNetwork.com for more information about his lectures, DVDs, our history and podcasts of the show.
You can follow him on Twitter @MichaelImhotep and his Facebook FanPage, “The African History Network”. He is available for interviews and lectures. He is a strong advocate of African Americans reclaiming their history, culture and controlling the economics, education and politics in our community. He is featured in the documentaries “Resurrecting Black Wall Street – The Blue Print 2016” and “Black Friday What Legacy Will You Leave” which deals with African Americans controlling our $1.2 Trillion economy and creating generational wealth. He is also featured in the upcoming documentary “Elementary Genocide 3: Academic Holocaust” which will be released in late 2016. Visit www.AfricanHistoryNetwork.com for more information.