The above title represents, with some variations in wording, such as, "White skin covers up one hundred uglinesses" an aphorism taught to Chinese girls as a warning to avoid the sunlight and its dreadful consequence of dark skin. Historically, dark skin has been designated as a negative attribute bestowed on the impoverished lower-class by the wealthy upper-class, and conversely, ashen skin has been designated as a positive attribute conferred by the upper-class onto itself; and by dint of their worldwide dominance the closer one's skin color is to the ashen quality the more social, economic and psychological the privileges.
Color and class are often interchangeable until they come into conflict and then color always trumps class. Therein lies the true significance of color and its geo-political importance. A current illustration of these conflicting assumptions can be seen in this year Presidential campaign. Why would anyone vote for Mitt Romney who is from Appalachia? This is the whitest, poorest, uneducated section of the country-and has been since time immemorial. If they were voting their class, thus, their interest, the obvious choice would be President Obama, but this hotbed of ignorance wouldn't think to vote for Obama. So, clearly in this example race trumps class. Tea-Party adherents can be lumped into this category with some notable crazy exceptions of Black members who think they are being accepted if they just hate themselves the loudest, thus, corroborating the above supposition.
The subconscious impact of this stratification is so pervasive, so ingrained, and sadly for the foreseeable future so immutable that the darker visage is consigned to the ash heap of unattractiveness, inferiority, and resides with the lower-classes never to be redeemed. The reasons for this are manifold, but the obvious one is to start a bidding war for entry into, if not, close proximity to the world's majority-ruling class-the white race.
The world stage is full of performers convinced that hue-stratification is the answer to a prosperous future. Notwithstanding the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries that take ridiculous race designations, such as, Quadroon, Octoroon, Mulatto to an inexplicable level for social acceptability the Chinese seem to be the current trend-setters in the pursuit of the ultimate designation. White-skin adoration, in China and most of Asia with few exceptions, has been taken to a level one has to see to believe. Beach masks (known as "Face-Kinis), full-screen sunvisors, parasols the size of which would draw the envy of Mary Poppins, and skin-lightening creams have become the social mantra hummed by all. And TV commercials? Instead of a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage, white skin is the refrain peddled by Chinese Madison Avenue, reinforced with white mannequins, as the goal every little girl should attain. If a Chinese woman wants a respectable, educated, successful Chinese husband she Had better get that skin as pale as possible. To that extent, the gymnastics involved in avoiding the sun's rays would rate a perfect 10 on any Olympic judges score card.
Ironically, if this was just a health issue and the intent was to avoid skin melanoma the above hypothesis would be in error, but the Chinese readily admit the pursuit of white skin is purely a matter of perceived beauty and social-status.
There is also an accompanying social ineptness of innocent and not so innocent causes that the Chinese bring to this issue. The oneness or homogeneity of this society insulates itself from understanding the folly of its acts resulting in possible mob rule intimidation. So, when a half-Black / half-Chinese girl, who is raised in China, and speaks only Chinese goes on a national television talent show and the responses are manifestations of disgust and hate (from too many) followed by statements that she should never have been born reveals a corruptness in a society's reasoning and direction. To be sure, had she been half-White and half-Chinese nary a complaint would be heard.
Gregory K. Taylor is currently in China