African Journal of Social Work

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The bleaching syndrome: manifestation of a post-colonial pathology among African women

Ronald E. Hall


The post-colonial root of African problems is directly related to skin color. Under the cloak of personal preference, light skin among African women has replaced dark skin as the native ideal. The aftermath is manifestation of the Bleaching Syndrome. Social Work professionals have overlooked the Bleaching Syndrome as relative to practice. Furthermore, in social mores Africans tend to idealize light-skinned members of the population as it is believed their skin color is associated with an overall better quality of life. As such Social Work professionals are confronted by issues which did not require intellectual consideration in the past. They are thus challenged for the future to develop creative strategies i.e.: Bleaching Syndrome less confined to Western colonial bias. In this way those who treat African and African descended people can decipher the maze of colonial tradition. Their efforts will enable a suitable environment for more comprehensive treatments applicable to African women and others of African descent.

KEY TERMS: Bleaching Syndrome; skin color; colonization; women; light skin

AJOL African Journals Online