Whiteness as an ideal has become a global, has become the global default and as a short hand for beauty, superiority, purity, advancement, civilization has incredible social force.
Darkness by extension is linked to the inferior, the ugly, the primitive, the criminal, the malignant, the alien, danger, disorder. Throughout our world, skin lightness impacts perception of a person’s beauty, affects marital prospects, job prospects, social status and earning potential.
While racist ideology is valorizing whiteness and demonizing darkness have been in circulation for hundreds of years, new mass media and communication technologies have come together to create a whiteness industrial complex that helps to amplify the old colonial message that white is right and light is beautiful in the process granting whiteness in an unprecedented global currency. In our world whiteness has become one of the dark lords great rings of power, as much a legion of the imagination as it is a technology and one does not need to be Fanon to recognize the profound damage that this sinister system inflicts on the psyche of people of color worldwide. How it alienates us from ourselves, how it dehumanizes us, how it makes us loathe ourselves and privilege the people who oppress us over those who share in our oppressions. How it makes us doubt the humanity of people of color and our own humanities. How living in the system makes one, how living in a system that make one abject causes fractures on a psyche. How living under the tyranny of whiteness burns the skin, deforms the eye, racks the body, and breaks the mind.”
— Junot Díaz