Washing away the blackness

Myra Rivers, News Writer

Lil’ Kim’s obsession with cosmetic surgery has dominated headlines for the past decade.

At this point, she looks like Kim Kardashian than the strong female rapper who debuted in the 90s.

Yet, the latest update, an Instagram post by Lil’ Kim herself, has had social media fueled with discussions on whitewashing and its impacts on the black community.

White-washing is the attempt to oppress minorities with European standards of beauty and more.

With Lil’ Kim as prime example, it’s easily noticeable how much damage whitewashing has caused.

Black women have arguably dealt with the worst of the worse. Not only are we black, but we’re women as well, in a society that oppresses both.

In the words of Malcolm X: “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.

The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.

The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”

Our skin tone, hair, and demeanor are forever mocked, fetishized, and scrutinized in the eyes of society.

The constant judgement endured has had us all questioning our worth at one point or another.

There’s been this need to get relaxers, which are chemicals used to ‘relax’ or more accurately straighten our hair to the perfection of non-black hair.

People used to ask me if my current hair texture is my natural texture. Before I could respond, they’d comment on how pretty it is with the infamous comment “Girl, you got that good hair” as if that’s a compliment.

If only they knew… I’ve had relaxers since the seventh grade.

Granted, it’s due to my lazy nature that the status of my hair hasn’t changed. I do appreciate and praise my fellow black girls who maintain their curls and all.

However, some of us only maintain the European standards of beauty with its number one requirement: Be white.

From running away from the sun, hiding in the shade, or drastically bleaching our skin, black women have tried to achieve European beauty.

In a Newsweek interview, Lil Kim talked about her self-esteem issues.

“I have low self-esteem and I always have,” Kim said. “Guys always cheated on me with women who were European-looking. You know, the long-hair type. Really beautiful women that left me thinking, ‘How I can I compete with that?’”

Lil Kim verbalized a mentality that many of us black girls hold.

“Being a regular black girl wasn’t good enough,” Kim said.

Nothing black women do seems to be  good enough.

Yet, when we do a 180 degree spin and point our view on women like the Kardashians, they receive praise for everything that is essentially tied to black culture.

With new lips of her own, Kylie Jenner has capitalized off of luscious lips with her new lip kit that sells for $29 each. Her older sister, Kim Kardashian, is widely known for her curvy figure paid to be on numerous magazine covers.

Celebrity figures as such, with no ties to black community, have essentially fetishized black culture and have received praise, money, and status as a result.

While we’re busy trying to cleanse ourselves of our natural beauty, society is profiting off of manufacturing it.