Leave Their Skin Color Alone: Defending the Skin Tone of Celebrities
The Race Police
We live in a world of instant online comments and, more often than not, critiques. While I truly feel that ugly online comments do not represent the majority of people's viewpoints in American society, I do think they can be hurtful to the people who receive them. When these comments are especially unfair and undue, I feel the need to defend the recipients of the criticisms.
Another factor in online criticisms has to due with misplaced social justice arguments. We certainly live in an environment where high-profile police shootings of minorities have shown us that sometimes people of color are not considered innocent until proven guilty, but are shot mercilessly by trigger-happy officers. I support police officers 100%, but police officers are human, and there are some bad eggs in every bunch. People have taken this charged atmosphere of racial injustice (shootings) and have moved it to the twittersphere, where they have begun to criticize others if they get tan or seem to embody characteristics of another ethnicity. The latter position is taken to stand up against blackface, which was a horribly offensive medium of so-called "entertainment" from the late 19th and early 20th century, where comics acted foolish and uneducated as they painted their faces black and performed self-derogatory and slapstick humor. Blackface is a national embarrassment and a serious method of undermining Blacks' opportunities and perception in the United States, as well as mocking and bullying them. The misplaced social justice targets now are stars who have gotten a tan or are wearing too much bronzer and are suddenly seen as dressing up akin to blackface. Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly lost her job for saying she thought it was flattering that a white woman dressed up as a famous and talented Black singer. Racial tensions are so high in America right now that even an opinion can cost someone their livelihood.
So, my question is, why is it okay for Twitter users or Instagram users to criticize someone's bronzed skin tone? Tanning has always been popular and some people can tan to a very dark hue. I do not think this should be a problem now, or ever. People on social media could benefit from just letting people live their lives and not expressing every negative thing they think or feel. Read on to see three people whose race I think should be left alone.
Kim Kardashian and Blackface
Kim Kardashian has been accused multiple times all over the internet of dressing in blackface. Here are some things to think about with this.
Kim Kardashian has a Black Husband and Children
Perhaps Kim just likes to lay in the sun and apply bronzer. Maybe she just likes the way her skin looks when it is darker. Maybe she likes to "match" her family and admires the glowing bronze of Black women's skin. Perhaps Kanye wants her to use darker makeup and spend more time in the sun because it is attractive to him. Perhaps she is not darkening her visage to insult, demean, and mock Black culture, but rather to embody and represent it since she married into a Black family. Also, it must be said, that Kim Kardashian probably has people doing her makeup instead of doing it herself most days, so the palette that is used is completely up to the artist. Makeup artists should not be limited to use palettes that the public thinks is acceptable. All types of artists should be free to choose any medium, shade, or color they choose to work with, unless it is deliberately intended to humiliate or inflict hate upon a particular group. I think it is pretty clear from the above picture of Kim with her daughter North that no hateful actions were taking place. This was a mother-daughter photoshoot with a specific, chosen palette, which was also profusely criticized.
Kim Kardashian is Armenian
Kim's father is Armenian. Armenia is a country in eastern Europe. People there are Mediterranean, meaning very dark-skinned and tan, with dark hair and ethnic (almost Middle-Eastern) facial features. I am willing to bet that if Kim Kardashian gets out in the sun, she does not even have to try to get tan, because she is essentially a different race than Anglo-Saxon American settlers. She should not be criticized for being dark-skinned or choosing darker makeup.
Hailey Baldwin Bieber and Being "Too Tan"
Hailey Bieber was recently attacked on social media for being too tan after vacation. She was sensitive to the criticism and remarked that she wishes that people would not be so cruel and she wishes that people knew her heart. In my opinion, Hailey has nothing to apologize for or even explain away. She got a gorgeous tan after being on vacation and a little known fact about Hailey will silence some of the "Race Shamers" who seem to think that "white" people should not try to get tan.
Hailey's Portuguese Blood
Hailey's mother is from Brazil, meaning that Hailey has portuguese blood. In Portugal, people are Mediterranean and can become very tan with just a little sun. Also, in Brazil, there are many mixtures of gene pools, and it is common to find people of Native South American, African, Asian, and Caribbean descent. Hailey Baldwin Bieber should really take a genealogy test so we can see all the beautiful ethnicities that are included in her gene pool. My guess is that Hailey gets a golden glow from just being outside for a little while.
A Beautiful, Biracial Royal
Meghan Markle identifies as biracial, and may I just say, she is a gorgeous addition to the British Royal Family. I love the way she has broken molds and protocols in a respectful way, and I do not believe for a minute that there is an ongoing feud with her sister-in-law Duchess Kate. It must have been very upsetting that people have been so on her case throughout her pregnancy. I would not have been able to deal with the scrutiny with such grace. Then of course, there were certain gaffes like the see-through skirt and other rumors of upsetting her new family. Still, I believe they will work through it with grace and strength as the Royal Family always has.
I am not sure if the scrutiny was due to her being American or due to her biracial identity, but the public certainly was very hard on the new Duchess. One of the most perturbing things about it was that mere minutes after baby Archie was born, CNN posted an article asking rhetorically how black the royal baby would be.
My first response was a solid, "No!" Archie is a newborn child with two loving parents--why label him and assume that his identity is wholly caught up in how much he identifies as a black or white man, or both? Why not let Archie decide when older how he identifies his own racial mixture? Also, why not let Harry and Meghan raise him however they wish? Why not celebrate that there is (finally) a multicultural member of the Royal family, instead of insinuating difficulty or differences among his own blood relatives? The article was so incredibly silly that there was an immediate push-back, and rightly so. The internet trolls never left Meghan alone even as a sensitive, pregnant woman, and now they are speculating about little Archie and are posing rather silly questions about him. Meghan, as usual, will take the high road and model self-control and class as she refuses to respond or goes on as if unfazed. And I can only hope she is completely, wholly unfazed by dangerous rhetoric of busybodies.
Enough Is Enough
Let's be real. Blackface and cultural appropriation are real problems, and if actually committed, the perpetrators should be dealt with accordingly. However, Kim Kardashian and Hailey Baldwin Bieber need to be left alone because both have complex genealogy, makeup artists who call the shots about colors that are used, and photo editors who choose to filter images to make them brighter or darker. Both women are humanitarians and seem to have big hearts, as well as being dedicated spouses and in Kim's case, a loving mother to her children. In Meghan Markle and Archie Harrison Windsor's case—he is a baby! Leave the child alone. Let his parents (and him, when older) decide and talk about race. Let them relish the special days after his birth.
All in all, I can say what many rational-minded Americans are thinking; leave them, and their skin color, alone!
Questions & Answers
What about Kim Kardashian’s little sister Kylie Jenner who even wore grills and braids for a while?
Kylie’s style from the past certainly borders upon cultural appropriation, which I do not approve of. She went beyond getting a natural tan; she began to embody stereotypes of a different race.
Will Archie even look black when his mother is biracial and fair and his father is pale and British?
This is exactly the direction we shouldn’t go in. Let’s let his parents (and himself) talk and grow and celebrate his multicultural identity however they see fit. It’s none of our business what he looks like or how he identifies.
© 2019 Audrey Lancho