by Sakiko Yasumi
Who has been struck in this world? Moreover, why have they been struck? When we attempt to answer these questions, we might think of people struggling in certain situations; people undergoing natural disaster or discrimination, suffering from hunger, extreme poverty, or conflicts, etc. These predictions are undecided and imprecise yet. However, definitely, you can come up with the significant answer without any difficulties if you get a hint: “colorstruck”. It might be reluctantly factual that everyone can respond to the questions with a concrete explanation why they think so. As I mentioned above, in this colorstruck world implied in the book ‘Shades of Difference’, people, especially who live in a diverse country like the United States, have been having trouble with the ‘colorstruck society’.
For the first question; “who has been struck in a ‘colorstruck’ world?” In the United States, people who have dark skin get many difficulties to live in the society compared to people who have lighter skin, even within the African American communities in the United States. Because of the long and bottomless history of discrimination, African Americans have experienced educational, occupational and income gaps between them and lighter skinned supremacy. What I thought through reading the chapter was that its perspective becomes globally understood and darker skinned people unconsciously tend to attempt to look like a white-skinned person by using skin whitener, straightening their hair, thinning their lips, etc. I am aware of that we, Japanese people also have a tendency to apply sunscreen to our skin, and sometimes to have a plastic surgery to get a white-person’s looks. In addition, two of us have something in common; girls/ ladies heavily care about our appearance compared to men.
The second question is “why have they been struck?” It should have been unnecessary for African American women in the United States to evaluate their self-worth by their complexion. Nevertheless, because they are ‘women’, pursuing beauty is one of the best means to heighten their status and self-esteem. Moreover, it was unexpected that African American women have higher self-worth and self-esteem when compared with whites because sadly, they have been competing within their own group to compare and evaluate themselves rather than in the larger society which causes African American women’s too-high self-esteem and self-evaluation.
In conclusion, I did not mean that having a high self-esteem is inappropriate. Despite, this is regrettable that African American women tend to be evaluated by outside of them and comparisons and evaluations are happened with their coethnics for status achievement. An attempt to have a white-skinned person’s appearance resulted from an ordinary social phenomenon. Their self-esteem must be based on and measured by how they love themselves including their original appearance and personality, definitely not by outsiders given the association between skin tone and perceived attractiveness. For this accomplishment, this ‘colorstruck’ society in where American people live ought to be transformed to the one with the environment which all people are livable no matter what their skin colors are.