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Seems everyone on the Sub-Continent is all in a tither!

A new Vaseline add has things stirred UP.

The add encourages Indian men to lighten or whiten their faces.  Vaseline — a subsidiary of the Dutch-Anglo conglomerate Unilever — is promoting the notion that only white skin is beautiful. 

Can you say racist?

There’s even a Facebook APP!

Unilever released a Facebook application that permits men to upload photos of themselves and then “transform” their profile photos by lightening them, much like they promise their new lightening cream will do.  The company recruited Bollywood star Shahid Kapur to be the face of the campaign.

White ain't right!

Apparently, this is nothing new.

Madame CJ Walker became America’s first female millionaire by producing and selling hair straightener.

And the virginal Kim Kardashian photo shopped her picture for an ad as well.

Black and white Kim

And Unilever is getting rich too…it’s $500 million a year industry.

Ca-ching!

Some detractors say the ads are manipulative and well, er, racist. 

One skin-whitening defender writing in the Wall Street Journal argued that Indians should be allowed to buy the creams without people in the West worrying they are being “brainwashed.”

I’m sure she’s pastey.

India’s system of social stratification based on lighter skin color is rooted in the country’s ancient caste system.  You, know, the “untouchables’ and the like.

But in India, a study in 2009 by an online dating company said that 12,000 of their participants rated skin tone or color was THE most important factor in chosing a partner.

“Not an axe murderer” came in second.

It’s not just a factor in India.  In the United States, a New York Times investigative reporter found many African-American and Latino women support the  highly profitable U.S. market for over-the-counter whitening creams. And it’s not just women: Former Chicago Cubs player Sammy Sosa admitted he used the creams.  But then, didn’t the NY Times get busted for making UP stories?

The NY Times report said that many women suffered severe side effects from using whiteners.  One study found that 90 percent of Arizona women suffering from mercury poisoning were Hispanic women using skin lightening creams.

Can you say Michael Jackson.

And, has anyone seen my bronzer?

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