me + you


I was flicking through a magazine and came across an article about Revlon's new range of makeup, 'Ethnic Shade'. It is "devised with all ethnic skin tones in mind" and yet it doesn't have any 'white' skin tones in the range. Revlon seems to imply that there are 'ethnic' skins and 'normal' skins.

But what if you're both ethnic and normal... and I don't just mean people with my particular background, but all of us...?
All of us have an ethnicity - whether it is the majority or minority, we all come from an ethnic background. People seem to equate 'ethnic' with non-white which seems wierd - like only non-white people have a cultural backgound.


And it's clearly untrue that 'ethnic' is not 'normal' (or without the double negative - that ethnic is also normal)... I'm sure that Revlon didn't mean to imply the reading that I have understood.

Yesterday, D - a person who identifies himself as 'ethnic' - said "anyone with a vaguely ethnic background has a house with a feather bower and some peacock feathers". So I guess, it's not just dominant culture multi-nationals who use 'ethnic' to mean either non-white or non-european and the opposite of 'normal'...

D defined 'ethnic' as having certain attributes, attributes that may have been found in his home but not in mine and not, I'm sure, in every other 'ethnic' home. It doesn't help when we contribute to the idea that all 'ethnic' peoples are the same, all have x and y in common (because we are all 'not normal').

I know this sounds like it's just a theoretical point - not one that would really effect my life. But it does, in subtle pernicious ways. It creates an idea of normal to which I am excluded. And sometimes, because we also enjoy being different, we who are 'not normal' play up to it...

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