oh, Dove….

Dove racist ad

NB: The image was found here.

The internet went crazy this weekend when Dove (you know, that company behind the real beauty campaign) released a gif that features a Black woman transforming into a white woman (who transforms into a presumably Asian? woman). If course, the social media brigade wasn’t having it, and rightfully so. Since the uproar, the ad has since been removed and Dove has issued an apology. You can read the details here.

Confession: I’m never surprised when something like this happens. When you study and consume media as much as I do, it’s a given that people behind advertising and media making are by and large, white (I mean this in a holistic sense). That, coupled with general ignorance about race in this country leads us to moments like this time and time again. Ads like this are not shocking. They’re old news, used to perpetuate and give permission to everyday racist practices.

Before you start probing me, let me be clear: (1) We do not live in a post-racial society. Race and racism still matter. (2) Until we fully understand and acknowledge the historical legacies of white supremacy which this country was founded on, we cannot even begin to entertain the idea of a post-racial society. (Yeah. You read that right. These legacies include the genocide of indigenous peoples, enslavement of people from Africa, colonial subjugation of basically every person who comes from places the west has colonized… I could go on, but let’s just start there.) (3) Companies can apologize all they want for the faux pas. For anyone who has worked in media, you know that these images are vetted heavily. That the ad would still make it to distribution illustrates my first two points. (4) We live in a world were capitalism reigns. Bad publicity is still publicity. I wouldn’t be surprised if the release of the ad was intentional, just for the hullaballoo of it all. (5) There is no moral code in a capitalist world.

Yeah. Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day, folks!

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
South San Francisco, CA

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PSA: Shades of Prejudice – Call for Essays

Khanna

Note: This photo was island-style borrowed from Dr. Nikki Khanna’s professional website.

Hello All!
I want to share some exciting news. For those of you who have been looking for materials on colorism and Asian Americans, you have likely run into Is Lighter Better? Skin-Tone Discrimination Among Asian Americans. While Paul, the incredible contributors, and I remain proud of the book, it still stands as one of very few books on the topic.

This is why I am so excited to share Dr. Nikki Khanna’s call for essays for her upcoming anthology, Shades of Prejudice. Please see below for the short announcement and appropriate links! (Yes, kindly share with your networks.)

CALL FOR ESSAYS FOR UPCOMING BOOK
Hi, I am looking for Asian American women (including multiracial women with Asian ancestry!) to contribute essays for an upcoming book with NYU Press on “colorism.” Colorism is found in many Asian American communities and is phenomenon whereby light skin is privileged over dark (see link below for more info on submissions).

I am specifically looking for women to share their personal experiences with colorism – how has your skin shade (whether light, dark, or somewhere in-between!) influenced your life? Essays will be reviewed on a rolling basis until October 31st.

PLEASE help me spread the word by sharing this on your site!!!! I would be very grateful for your help! And if you are Asian American and a woman, please consider submitting an essay!

For more information, go here. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at nkhanna@uvm.edu

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
Millbrae, CA

Red & Yellow, Black & Brown

RYBB

Hello Everyone!

I greatly apologize for my negligence with respect to this website. A LOT has happened in 2017 and when I finally have the chance to catch my breath, I’ll update you and let you know all about the craziness of my life, and how that will impact the future of this blog. (It’s good news, I promise!) For now, I want to let you know that my newest book project has just been released! I am very fortunate to have worked with Rudy P. Guevarra and Paul Spickard on Red & Yellow, Black & Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies. You can purchase it directly from Rutgers University Press here.  (Pssst. For 30% off, please use discount code: 02AAAA16. Shhh. You didn’t hear that from me.)

Maraming Salamat,
Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.
Tempe, AZ

unfair and lovely

Unfair-and-Lovely

Photo series, “Unfair and Lovely” was created by Pax Jones.

When your work is on colorism and skin color hierarchy, it’s always a treat when you find gems like this – especially when it comes from the people in your world. Recently, several people sent and/or tagged me in this (and other related stories) story on Facebook. What started as a photo series evolved into a hashtag campaign, #unfairandlovely. I highly recommend that you check out your social media outlets and contribute (respectfully) to the conversation.

While most of the current photos under #unfairandlovely feature South Asian women, I do hope to see people from other racial and ethnic backgrounds represent what it is to be #unfairandlovely. In particular, I am curious to see how #unfairandlovely is represented in the LGBTQ community. Though social media has its limits, I also see its potential to inspire conversation (which will hopefully lead to action) about these issues.

Kudos to you, Pax Jones, for creating art that makes a difference!

Maramang Salamat,

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Tempe, AZ

Light and Shadows

uganda

Many thanks to my dear friend Margaret for sharing this article with me. (The image is from the article.) Sadly, skin bleaching/skin lightening/skin whitening is something that is common all over the world (yes, even Asia). Photographer Anne Ackermann has a series that looks at women and skin bleaching in Uganda. The article points out that there is an idealized type of dark skin – one that is caramel colored. It is this idealized shade that these women aspire to have when they get bleaching treatments. This logic is a new twist on an old idea: that lighter is better. The words are just different now. Instead of expressing desired whiteness, many people (mostly women) express a desired lightness. In my research, I illustrate that many point to this distinction to avoid accusations of racism and self-hatred.  Though the words are different, at the heart of it all, it means the same thing. Wanting to be a lighter shade of you is the new (yet still old) colorism.

Maraming salamat,

Joanne L. Rondilla, Ph.D.

Mesa, AZ