Skin whitening is definitely a personal decision. Let me just start off by saying that this is a really complex topic and if anything, I only hope to inspire some awareness and dialogue around it especially with regard to how we define beauty and model it for our kids.
I'm sure you have noticed certain celebs getting lighter over the years and if you haven't, just google this topic and you'll see all kinds of stuff and no one really knows whats true or not, however the fact remains that skin bleaching is a popular and commercial thing that many people do.
Are people just not happy or comfortable in their own skin; the skin they were born with? Did someone or something make them beleive it was not good enough? I don't know the answer to that question, but I do know that skin bleaching is a huge business that is generating a great deal of money and attention especially in other countries and its been going on for many many years.
When it comes to our kids...
There are even parents who are bleaching their young children's skin and encouraging them to believe that lighter is better and they will be more successful and attractive if they are lighter. Its not just a black thing either...its world wide and impacts several races and ethnicities. What does it all mean? How are darker skinned people really viewed then and who decided what beauty is? Why is fair skin the ultimate goal? Again, I don't know. An important thing to consider though is how you talk to your kids about skin color and loving themselves no matter what shade they are whether light or dark. Kids do and will always have questions about skin tone. It will come up one way or another. Many adults tip toe around this topic with their kids in fear of saying or sending the wrong message, but actually the more we have real conversations about it the better off our kids may be and more open about the beauty of diversity. They will be more naturally inclined to simply accept people and themselves for who they are. After all, hate is learned.
FYI: The most common skin whitener is not FDA approved.
Resources on how to talk to kids/others about skin color:
See some skin whitening ads for yourself and YOU be the judge. What do they suggest? I know just some of the comments on these videos suggest a lot. Interesting... (If you can't see the videos, scroll down and click the links)