The color of one’s nipples varies according to the color of one’s skin. Lighter-skinned people tend to have lighter nipples, while darker-skinned people tend to have darker nipples. To add to the many racist products and procedures designed to make the bodies of darker-skinned people more like the bodies of lighter-skinned people — eyelid surgery, eyelid gluing, Asian rhinoplasty, hair straightening, and skin lightening — Theresa W. sent in a product designed to make the nipples more “pink.”  These products, featured at The Faster Times, seem to be mostly aimed at the Asian market, many of whom are already quite light-skinned.  Below is a selection of the many products one can find.

Finale Pink Nipple Cream:

Bioglo Cherry Pink Lip Nipple Cream:

The rest are after the jump because the packaging shows images of breasts.


Deeb K. and YetAnotherGirl pointed out another example of a woman apparently having her skin lightened on the cover of a magazine. The December 2010 issue of Elle features Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a major star in the Indian film industry who has also been a spokesperson for L’Oreal and appeared on the “Most Beautiful Women in the World” lists of various magazines. Here’s the cover, with a very pale Bachchan:

Let’s compare to a photo of Buchchan, found at Photoshop Disasters:

Another photo (via):

Elle was criticized just a few months back for apparently lightening Gabourey Sidibe’s skin tone on the cover as well. At that time, the editor said Sidibe wasn’t touched up any more or less than other women put on the cover. That may be true. But it leaves unanswered the question of why the women’s skin tone is considered insufficiently glamorous or beautiful as it is, and why making these stars’ skin lighter would be seen as a clear improvement.

Dmitriy T.M. sent in a link to a 13-minute video in which Van Jones discusses the problems with patting ourselves on the back too much every time we put a plastic bottle in the recycle bin instead of the trash, and the need to recognize the link between environmental concerns and other social issues:

Also see our posts on the race between energy efficiency and consumption, exposure to environmental toxins and social class, race and exposure to toxic-release facilities, reframing the environmental movement, tracking garbage in the ocean, mountains of waste waiting to be recycled, framing anti-immigration as pro-environment, and conspicuous environmentalism.

Full transcript after the jump, thanks to thewhatifgirl.


On the heels of our post on food desertsFamily Inequality‘s Philip Cohen posted about “care vacuums.”  In this case the research is referring to the shrinking number of nursing homes in the U.S., leaving people farther and farther away from the nearest nursing home.

Zhanlian Feng and colleagues found that between 1999 and 2008 we lost about 5% of all nursing home beds and these losses were disproportionately in neighborhoods populated by Blacks and Latinos. The maps below overlays the racial composition of neighborhoods (darker = higher percent minority) with open nursing homes (in black) and nursing home closures (in red). Both seem to be disproportionately in minority neighborhoods, but Feng et al. showed that the closures are even more so.


Boston, Massachusetts:

Los Angeles/Long Beach, California:

Dallas, Texas:

Just as food deserts make it more difficult for people without access to personal, reliable transportation to get fresh, affordable food, care vacuums make it more difficult for those same people — disproportionately Black and Latino, and disproportionately poor — to visit loved ones in nursing homes.  Ironically, this is despite the fact that use of nursing homes by minorities is rising and, among whites, falling.

Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Nicole sent in this Australian commercial for P&O Cruises. Nicole was struck by the obvious racial divide, in which the privileged customers are all White, while non-Whites serve them, either literally (and with a smile!) or as a form of cultural entertainment:

It’s another example of a common tourism marketing theme, in which supposedly “traditional” and/or “native” cultures are provided as cultural experiences to “modern” tourists. This commercial just stands out because of the particularly stark division of the world into those who are entertained and attended to, and those who do the attending.

Cross-posted at Love Isn’t Enough.

Brandy B. let us know about an interesting article by Isis the Scientist at Science Blogs on the apparent whitening of a children’s cartoon character for the Christmas toy market. PBS’s cartoon, “Super Why!”, includes a female character, Princess Presto, who has the power to spell. Here’s what she looks like:

Yet the plush doll version of Princess Presto (who is supposed to have one White and one African American parent) looks significantly different:

I found another Princess Presto doll online as well:

I did find one set where she looks more like the original:

Isis the Scientists says that in comments to an article on the topic at the Orlando Sentinel, someone claiming to represent the company says the plush doll looks more like the original in person than the pictures online and says the following:

…The hair on the doll is more purple than black and this was an aesthetic choice…The placement of the facial features was intentionally tweaked to make the embroidered beanies look cute, so there is a slight difference from the onscreen character. The alterations were similarly made across all characters in the line, not just Princess Presto. There are almost always slight differences when translating the onscreen characters to off-air product especially with regard to colors because we have to use PMS or CMYK color choices for products.

Isis says BS — that having seen an actual version of the plush toy, it looks like it does in the photo, with very light skin, and that aside from that, other manufacturers seem to be able to make African American dolls just fine. And saying you changed things for “aesthetic” purposes doesn’t explain why you thought her existing characteristics were insufficiently aesthetically pleasing. Of course, we also don’t know for sure the person writing the comment was from PBS.

I tend to side with Isis here: the idea that technical limitations prevent making a more accurate representation of a dark-skinned doll is…sketchy, to say the least, and makes me think PBS needs to partner with a better toy design firm. And the choices about what the Princess Presto doll should look like in doll form put PBS in the position of appearing to think that a mixed-race character needs to be whitened to sell. PBS’s dolls exist in a marketplace where we’ve seen controversies about African American dolls being literally valued less than White dolls, and whatever their supposed reasons, it’s hard to get around the fact that all of the choices made in the name of aesthetics added up to a doll that looks awfully White.

A while back Kale let us know that the New York Public Library had made their images collection available online.The collection has images on a huge array of topics, from fashion to the military to slavery to insects to a whole category for stilts, and including political cartoons, illustrations from publications, photographs, and so on.

Kale found the collection particularly interesting as a way to look at historical racism and rhetoric about race relations in publications aimed at White readers. This 1875 cartoon, titled “A Privilege?”, presents segregation as actually protecting African Americans from the scourge of alcohol:



Wife, “I wish you were not allowed in here.”

It’s a fascinating example of the use of institutionalized racial inequalities that hurt African Americans to, instead, garner sympathy for White women and children and present African Americans as, really, better off.

Another, published in Life in 1899, implies African American men are burdens on their families, making their wives take on the role of providing for everyone:


Parson Featherly: De Lawd hab took yo’ husban’ an’ lef’ yo’ wid six chilluns; but ‘membah, Sistah, dat dar’s some good in all de Lawd does.

“I does, Parson. I realizes dat dar’s one less for me to perwide foh.”

This 1860 cartoon from Harper’s Weekly shows an African American woman (presumably a slave) in the South using the “Bobolitionists” — that is, abolitionists, who wanted to outlaw slavery — as a threat, a type of monster that will come steal him if he’s not good:


“Now den Julius! If yer ain’t a good litte nigger, mudder’l call de big old Bobolitionist and let um run away wid yer.”

I’m sure it must have been very comforting to some readers to think of slaves viewing abolitionists as threats rather than potential allies.

Other cartoons mock African Americans’ physical attributes, marking them as laughable or even grotesque:


“Would de gemman in front oblige by removing de hat?”

“Would de same gemman oblige by puttin’ de hat on agin?”



“Now we’ll see ef dat sawed off Peterson man kin escape de issue dis time.”


There are also examples that criticized U.S. race relations, such as this 1848 cartoon from Punch [Note: a reader thinks this might be about France, which banned slavery in 1848, but the NYPL has it listed as relevant to U.S. slavery, so there may be so lost context here]:


[Note: A commenter has expressed concern that I ended this post with “Enjoy!” I apologize for my insensitivity. I meant it in terms of “Enjoy browsing this fascinating archive,” of which racist imagery is only a small part, not, I hope it would be clear, “Enjoy looking at racist cartoons!” I wasn’t thinking about how it might appear immediately after those set of images, and I should have been more careful.]

Lee D.T. sent in an Australian ad for Fernwood Fitness. It’s a great example of the sexualization of women of color, specifically (compared to white women). Notice that the white women in the ad simply exercise, but the ambiguously-raced woman with darker hair and skin gyrates, pumps, and poses.

See also a history of the hypersexualization and exploitation of black women by white people, the hot Latina, the fetishization of black women’s butts as symbolic of their (supposed) hypersexuality, the only thing important about black people is their butts, and the frequent exposure of black women’s bodies.

Lisa Wade is a professor at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. Find her on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.