End Skin Lightening and Fight Colorism

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By signing this pledge you are committing to 

  1. Educate as many people as possible about the detrimental effects of Skin Lightening
  2. Not use degrading terms to refer to people of color such as "Blackie", "Burnt", "Midnight", "Shadow", "Charcoal", "Dirty", "Gorilla" and etc. even in a joking manner! 
  3. Not use skin lightening products or if you are currently using them try your best to stop using them
  4. Help fight colorism by not using "lightskin" as a compliment or darkskin as an insult. Skin tone does not define beauty!
  5. Try your best to uplift women of color all around you and encourage them to love the skin they are in. Especially kids!
  6. Educate people on how they can help fight colorism (Check out @theskinimincampaign social media accounts for ideas) 

Why I started this petition...

During a trip to Senegal in 2015, I noticed for the first time how prevalent skin lightening products are amongst women in West Africa. I saw bumps, patches, hives and more side effects all over the skin of various Senegalese Women. Talking with relatives, they simply explained the practice as a desire for beauty.

Upon my return back to the states I began researching the practice and found that more than 50% of Senegalese and Nigerian women in big cities utilized skin lightening products. The harmful effects of skin lightening products are widely known and there have been various documentaries produced outlining the detrimental effects of the practice. These products containing a wide range of chemicals like the most popular Hydroquinone to one of the most dangerous Mercury help stop the production of melanin which therefore weakens the skin as melanin is a natural skin protectant. The use of skin lightening products not only produces visible side effects such as hives. They also increase the users likelihood of developing skin cancer and a variety of skin diseases.

The demand for skin lightening products worldwide is rooted in Colorism; the belief that darker skin is inferior to lighter skin. Coloristic ideals are seen in the media worldwide and continue to prevail in communities in not only West Africa but also in Asia, Latin America, the Carribean, the United States and etc. 

For my high school senior capstone project, I decided to start a social campaign in 2018 educating yet uplifting west African women. I created a hashtag #TheSkinImIn / #TheSkinImInCampaign and have an Instagram account and Facebook account that uplift and educate women of color. You can find these accounts by searching @Theskinimincampaign

Bio: My name is Aissatu Diop and I am a Senegalese-American college student from Washington, DC. I am currently studying International Affairs and Business through the Huntsman Dual Degree program at the University of Pennsylvania. I also am interested in pursuing a minor in African studies and social impact.