White, western superiority is something bitterly prevalent in our modern world. An ideal we all seem to overemphasise, mostly unknowingly in our subconscious but sometimes they are dangerously at the forefront of our consciousness.
I don’t need to waste time explaining how Trump’s campaign is innately racist, xenophobic and quite frankly idiotic, inducing a very real fear across the globe.
As well as that, there’s Brexit adding fuel to the fire and generating a frenzy of hatred in Britain; reports of racist and discrimination have reached scary heights and with recent reports showing that homophobic attacks have risen to an unthinkable 147% in the three months after Brexit.
This all epitomises to this one idea of white supremacy that is dangerously rampant, now more than ever. Why people think the solution is to whitewash our nations is beyond me, but this idea is far more widespread then I first thought. Whilst travelling around Cambodia and Vietnam in the summer it was dangerously obvious that the people of south east Asia have white, western people on a pedestal; from adverts, clothes and the expectation every one of us is a millionaire. But most importantly they’re in constant battle with the hot, unrelenting sunshine to stop its rays making their skin any browner, unlike us sun chasers whose biggest aim on holiday is to get a few shades darker. Specifically, the women in Vietnam and Cambodia obsess over ensuring their skin doesn’t get any darker or browner constantly channelling western ideals of beauty. They go as far as, in the midst of their hottest summer months, covering every inch of their skin, most of them wearing long sleeve shirts with material that will go past the end of their middle finger ensuring even their backs of their hands aren’t sun kissed. When riding on mopeds the women are covered in similar attire, but this time full length to the ankle so only their sock covered feet were peeping out from under the shady robe.
I can’t help but question that this idea of white supremacy is so deeply rooted in all different kinds of societies and cultures that its gone way beyond our grasp, mentally in the sense that I can’t even fathom as to why a tribe woman in the middle of a rural fishing village which only sees a handful of westerns once a week, is so utterly obsessive over their pasty skin tones. She was adorable and constantly stroking anyone’s hands that were in reach and when our tour operator explained why she looked simply overrun with happiness, it was because they think white skin is beautiful, desirable and most importantly an emblem of power.
I fear that these weird ideals are so beyond any sort of control and we won’t be able to ever achieve a wholeheartedly equal global society, where no race is superior and we are all equal, but maybe I’m living in a dream world. I’m yet to get my head around as to why myself or anyone else who has any sort of strong belief is automatically branded an unrealistic dreamer.
The treacherous Vietnam war probably had a subliminal effect on the people of Vietnam. The USA predominantly a white nation at the time, came to Vietnam and asserted their power in the most domineering way, apart from despising them for tearing their country apart, the USA were intrinsically more powerful, more superior and thus more covetable.
Now, I can probably live with the fact that people of Cambodia and Vietnam wanted to cover up even though their motives are a little skewed, at the end of the day it’s not doing much harm and if anything its protecting them from future risk of terrible diseases. But, upon my return to England and after uploading my holiday pictures to make all the fans envious. Facebook had obviously had a little stalk of their own and sold that information onwards to various agencies thus up came popping adverts of various beauty products to whiten skin. Adverts that were directed at Asian consumers, the products ranged from clear gels that you can layer on the skin, leave a few seconds and hey presto you’re whiter in minutes. This greatly disturbed me, maybe I’ve been naïve assuming this doesn’t happen but it took me to see these on going’s first hand for me to actually realise how prevalent this issue is.
Currently our world is spiraling into a disdainful, fractious global society where are current problems all stem from this one subject of equality. Brexit happened because people wanted rid of the immigrants, Trump has support because he wants to build a war, migrant camps exist because white, western countries are turning a blind eye and Asian people are obsessed with whitening their skin because somehow it has become a global phenomenon that white, western supremacy is the goal for all.
Words by Liv Rafferty