View From Arada | Jun 18,2022
Dec 14 , 2019
By Eden Sahle
I am a fan of nature. African gorgeousness amazes me as much as the rest of the world’s diversified beauty does. Sadly, it seems that Africans are in a devastating mission to conceal African nature. From skin bleaching, coloured eye contacts to human hair, it has become so much harder to identify individuals let alone to appreciate their African beauty.
Sometime back, my Ethiopian colleague told me one of her friend's four-year-old daughters begged her mother to change the colour of her skin, because her classmates refer to her dark skin as something horrible that she should remove. This is a heart-breaking reality that parents are passing on to their children who are in turn abusing other children.
The crisis has to do with mindset. The perception that African features lack something, because they do not look like another race is the crucial problem. The more someone tries to go against nature the more unworthy that person would feel, regardless of how much has been achieved.
On Monday I ran into someone who greeted me warmly, but I could not recall where we knew each other from. I greeted her back. The women started asking me about my high school friends and my work. It was easy to identify that she knew me well. I answered her questions and apologised to her, as I could not remember her. She smiled and told me her name, which I immediately recalled. I mentioned to her that she does not look the same at all. She proudly told me that it is because she bleached her skin. I could not hide my horror, witnessing the damage she had done to herself. Her reason was that her family and people in general do not accept her previous dark skin, and she wanted to create a more acceptable skin tone. She says her family and many now tell her she is admirable.
This is a growing crisis in the urban parts of the country where most people tend to believe they are more enlightened. Many assume they need to go against their nature to be accepted. We should live our lives embracing our beautiful nature.
It is not uncommon to hear people in Ethiopia badmouth others by referring to their dark skin tone or short hair. It is prejudice by Ethiopians against Ethiopians. It is the untold crisis that many are disagreeing with nature. It is strange that nature is misunderstood.
How unfortunate that we live in a world that despises differences. We should admire the different kinds of human nature that come in diversified skin tones and hair texture. There is no need to change one’s identity to become what one is not. Every individual that changes nature to look like another is a loss to society.
We must learn to accept ourselves and celebrate our uniqueness, instead of continually trying to outdo our nature by measuring up to the generally distorted perceptions of beauty.
I am deeply saddened to see women bleaching their skin, investing so much to purchase human hair, damaging their retinas with fake coloured eye contacts, as well as men and women who use dangerous chemicals to relax their hair. Not only is this not attractive but also shows how the individuals do not admire their true nature. It is unfortunate how so many people spend a great deal of time just to look like another race.
In my travels, I have met many women who bleached their skin and carry so much hair, which is not theirs, because they are told and convinced that fair is the only beautiful skin tone and hair must be straight and long. Features more akin to the African are deemed unattractive, undesirable and less feminine. The notion that African features are less attractive is a wrong message that is encouraged by African society itself.
They are prejudiced against other Africans who remain true to their nature. A lot of people, including Africans, tend to portray African nature in a less than flattering manner. Diversity should be admirable. We have so many things to fight off. Nature should not be one of them.
Attitudes such as this fail to regard the uniqueness of all people despite their racial background. They foster feelings of identity crisis, leading to a deceitful sense of beauty and superiority.
We should not label people into anything based on their nature. It is admirable when people are proud of their nature and respect it.
People with wrong attitudes toward nature should be proven wrong by the very people they look down on. The best thing would be to detox from the Dark Age mentality and learn that all people are beautiful irrespective of the place or race they come from.
Undoubtedly, family is the first crucial institution for the development of acceptance for oneself and life goals that get refined as we get older. It is here that any child first becomes involved in social life, absorbs its values and learns standards of behaviour. It is this primary institution that bears the significant responsibility in shaping good society.
What we do as individuals is a link in a society that makes the latter’s perception vital in shaping every person. If we want to be advanced and tolerant societies; we should first accept our nature, seeing what others could not.
PUBLISHED ON Dec 14,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1024]
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