Every single Jamaican who is thinking about returning should be perplexed.
What does the current rage -- skin bleaching -- tell us about our identity?
There are parts of Africa, South America and the Pacific in which men and women apply scars, tattoos and piercings to their faces in an attempt to increase their beauty. These are not accidental or individual incidents, but entire societies where the norms are simply very different from that of the rest of the world.
Apparently, in Jamaica, we have some that firmly believe that bleached skin is also a sign of beauty.
It's not too hard to pick out someone who has applied these chemicals to their skin. The colour of the epidermis takes on a reddish, purplish tinge and often it has a different tone from skin on the neck, hands and chest. The process must be continued to keep the true colour from coming back.
Meanwhile, there are millions of tourists coming to Jamaica each year in order to obtain a darker skin tone -- one they proudly show as proof that they had a great time in Jamaica - "see."
Both groups suffer from the threat of skin cancer, as it turns out, all in order to achieve a certain ideal of beauty.
As someone who recently returned to live in Jamaica, I find the contrast baffling.
Here is an interesting video on the bleaching industry in the U.K., including some of the negative side effects.