JOY. Having received a postal invitation from one of the top fashion house/beauty brands to go and trial their very latest foundation, it wasn’t too long before I found myself in their boutique store checking it out. But as the beauty assistant applied the foundation, a creamy blotch of pale colour stood to attention upon my olive brown hand.
Seeing the funny side of this I queried the complete colour mismatch, enquiring if there was a darker shade, but my humour instantly fell on deaf ears with the assistant’s reply:“the universal colour is white” and without hesitation went to fetch a sample, handing it to me to try at home.
What I found curious wasn’t that it was clear to see my mixed complexion, nor the fact that this had happened in Singapore with all its great melting pot of skin tones and shades including ethnic Chinese, Malay, Indian and expats – but more so that a darker shade of foundation was available to purchase . . . yet not as a take home sample, because of the assistant’s reply.
It also made me consider that in the automatic or default choice many company representatives and their organisations make to stock, select or suggest a single colour, in this example, the colour white, that however slight or innocent the remark, racism continues to be deeply rooted in the psyche of our everyday shopping lives.
When daily customer service, beauty products and services are being designed, marketed, often as ‘free gifts’ or samples, and sold with the purpose to lighten, brighten i.e. whiten faces, armpits, even a woman’s vagina, this says to me that exclusivity is in; inclusivity of all is out.
In other words, separation is created, reinforced and sold. Even a hint of preference of colour reinforces this separation, whether it be for a whiter than white skin shade or a tanner than tan – no matter which way we look at things, embedded are illusions of betterment, improvement, privileged comfort, arrogance of differentiation, and cultural superiority.
Is this kind of marketing what we truly want?
I ask this question only because it can seem puzzling as we ethnically mix ourselves up with the increasing numbers of inter-racial partnerships and families and/or adoptions. Is it likely these increasing numbers highlight that on some deeper level we feel and know we’re all from ‘the same place’? And with this, feel the natural pull and desire to be the same i.e. part of one humanity, and not separate or exclusive to this as determined by border, colour, race, religion or background and so on.
Isn’t our natural inherent way as a human race of beings one of unity and oneness, and not separation?
By design, we are naturally loving and good people, not intentionally harmful. But when we celebrate different multi-racial, ethnic origins, cultures or backgrounds and say we enjoy all this because of their ‘uniqueness’ or ‘difference’, might we also reflect that such celebrating only really devolves us as a race because it fosters the ideal of separation? In other words, doesn’t this celebrating go against the truth of unity or oneness that we feel on a deeper, innate level?
‘Being the same’ in this case is not about one’s ethnicity or race, but more about being love. In other words, the presence of equal love is the ingredient that unifies us as being ‘the same’ and surely it’s about celebrating this.
If there was acceptance and celebration of an all-encompassing and unifying love, wouldn’t it make it not natural for us to champion, favour, sympathise, like, uphold differences of the outer shells of background, colour, nationality, ethnicity, race, caste, class, religion, tradition, culture or custom?
In other words, it’s the absence of love that’s brought the latter afflictions that have then brought discomfort, exclusion, war and atrocity we suffer as mankind. Love unites and harmonises. Difference divides, separates and excludes.
If we stood unified as a race of human beings identified not by our differences of which country, geographic region, area, or ethnic race we are from, but instead by the universal truth of the Love that we are equally, how then would things be?
‘Being the same’ is about equality with another. Choices to support or promote any particular outer shell because of the shell doesn’t ever do anything to truly support because promotion without any presence of love only further fragments or causes division, exclusivity and inequality.
Just imagine that if we each learnt to discard identification or being owned by and invested in our outer shells as being who we are as a determinant of our worth in the world, and instead carried acceptance of the innate Love we are – would this then mean we’d be able to let go of offense, reaction, or resentment to racist comments or ideals… which only further adds to the instigating separation that we have been hurt by?
To know and experience racism or division on any level is to equally know and no longer deny the urgent necessity to return back to the core and inclusivity of the Love we are from: living and knowing that this Love is colour-less, race-less, that it has no border or region and belongs to no country or one organised religion.
Surely LOVE is the real identity to celebrate – this is the ‘universal (make-up) foundation’ that can be applied to everyone, regardless of skin shade or colour.
With this love, the unity of our one multi-mixed race of human beings together in harmony and brotherhood shows the beauty and wonder of our diverse world: it shows a true religion not of the organised shells of man but of God and the oneness, divinity and Love being where we are truly from. This religion is Love.
By Zofia Sharman, Asia
Colour and Class Distinction – Where Are You From?