My mother, humiliated, just stared at the floor, but Kid Me was confused and angry. Feeling particularly hyped from my Babysitter’s Club book (as you’ll recall, Kristy is a boss bitch), I stuck my head out and defiantly shouted, “HEY! That’s not nice! I DO speak English, and I can understand every word you’re saying!” They both turned red and scattered, and my mom let me eat cookies on the car ride back home, so yeah, justice was served.
Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident, though it was the first time I ever noticed it happening to me. Turns out that even in this day and age, your race, ethnicity, and religion does affect the kind of treatment you receive from nurses and doctors. According to a study in the American Journal Of Public Health, a stunning two-thirds of doctors exhibited racial bias toward patients. Those doctors tend to have antiblack sentiments and think of their white patients as more likely to be “compliant.” On top of that, they often lecture black patients, speak more slowly to them, and make their office visits longer, which is such a racist notion that it makes me want to rip my own head off and punt it into the middle of a medical convention.
These patients then tend to cancel followup appointments because they don’t trust the doctor. This is an actual phenomenon in the black community. Black people don’t trust doctors — and all things considered, it’s not hard to see why.
I don’t wear a lot of makeup. To be honest, some of this is due to the fact that a tube of quality lipstick costs as much as dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. But most of it is because, as any nonwhite woman will tell you, up until a few years ago, if your skin color was darker than “sunkissed Latina,” there were almost no options for you.
Women of color have always had a notoriously bad relationship with the cosmetics industry because we can’t find shit that matches our skin color. These companies deliberately just make their lines for lighter skin tones only, with a couple of “darker” foundations in the last few decades that aren’t really fooling anyone. Iman (supermodel, goddess, wife of the late David Bowie) came out with a makeup line in the ’90s that had more options, which helped a great deal. But overall, it seems the beauty industry would rather lose money than help women of color feel good about their appearances.
Enter that Barbadian ray of sexual sunshine Rihanna. She’s been in the news lately because she’s come out with her own makeup line called Fenty Beauty, which has truly changed the game. With 40 foundation shades (40), darker-skinned women are guaranteed to find a match for their skin tone — something these other lines should have made a priority YEARS ago.
Why is this such a big deal? Because this world’s Eurocentric standards of beauty have done so much damage to women of color that they’ve had to resort to using more toxic products in order to fit into that mold. Something that could have been easily resolved if these huge makeup companies had just included a few more shades. Or, you know, just generally done more to expand their definition of what beauty is (straight hair and light skin across the board doesn’t exactly scream “diversity”). But god forbid they be forced to treat people like people. That would be crazy.