The Dark Room

Episode #121 - Fourth Annual Maria Salvatori Mother’s Day Special: Exploring motherhood and the troubling practice of skin lightening with Professor Nikki Khanna

May 11, 2020

The idea that a mother's "love" made do more harm than good is certainly a difficult one, especially when that love reflects a prevalent cultural norms. 

Addressing this, Dr. Paul speaks with Professor Nikki Khanna (University of Virginia) about how mothers within the Asian-American community, as much of elsewhere in the non-Western world, influence or pressure their daughters to physically lighten their skin.

It's also one of the main themes in Professor Khanna's recent book, Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism, where she--and the voices of several Asian American female authors--illuminate the big business of skin lightening products and how, through propaganda-like imagery and advertising, it perpetuates the racist myth that the whiter you are, the more "value" you have as a person. 

Learn more about Professor Khanna here. You may also purchase Whiter here.

Special thanks to journalist and social justice advocate, Ayesha Khan, for her guidance in the preparation of this episode.



Producer - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Writer & Host - Dr. Paul Salvatori

Sound Editor - Peter Bull

Music - Dr. Paul Salvatori

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