Some ideas here...

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Posted by Nick on May 29, 2002 at 23:46:57:

In reply to: Re: Musings on race, informed consent and the nature of henna posted by Maureen on May 29, 2002 at 17:34:41:

: Let me see. Are you saying that when you are dealing with issues
: skin color that you don't understand that you are also dealing with
: issues of race (especially here in the U.S.) I don't believe that.

Are skin color and race two different things? yes, but also vastly
related. We are not here to acuse people of misunderstanding and then
to leave them in the dust. Educate those whom are ignorant.

: If a race card was pulled, it is because it was in your deck. But
: decline the notion that I pulled one.

That was un-called for. Making accusations gets us nowhere.

: Hear are two of the statements I have comment on:
: "Also- I just wanted to comment that I agree totally with your
: assessment re henna on darker skinned people. No matter how dark
: henna gets, on ebony skin henna is just not going to look the same.
: understand that in some countries like Senegal and Mali people use
: henna totally differently - not elaborate tiny designs, but thicker
: bolder, simpler designs that make the burgundy/black skin look like
: watered silk in the sunlight - but definitely not visible from a
: distance"

This is true- find a piece of fabric with highly contrasting designs,
and a piece of fabric with a shalower contrast. Hang them on
something, and move about 20 feet away. You will notice that the
highly contrasting dsigns stand out more.
So i ask you, is skin very different?
This is not to say that complex burgundy designs should not be done
on people of dark skin- it is simply to note that the affect will be
different. Nobody is saying that it will be less beautiful, just
different. When Kenzi said it is "not the same" she did not mean that
in a negative light. She meant it in a purely literal sense,
i.e. 'different.' It's sad that the word 'different' has become
something negative in our society- which is why we should continue to
use it in it's original meaning, without negative connotations.

: and...
: "That's fascinating! I think it's possible that this is true; I
: most Moroccan women seek to have lighter skin as it is
: considered to be more beautiful. And in general, the people in
: Marrakesh tend to have darker skin than the people of the north.
: Just the fact that there exist all these methods for making the
: henna dark or black goes against what you report. it makes me
: think that some people do want black or dark henna. Because
: they tend to be dark skinned they want their henna to be darker
: so it can be seen more easily."

In this instance, "Moroccan women seek to have lighter skin as it is
considered to be more beautiful" Kenzi is saying that it is
considered to be more beautiful by the Moroccan women themselves, not
as a general statement. This is a cultural demographic as observed by
outsiders. Next- "Because
they tend to be dark skinned they want their henna to be darker
so it can be seen more easily."
This is an inference. Inferences are not always correct. Cut some
slack, and perhaps open your mind to study the issue from an unbiased
viewpoint rather than closing it off as untrue or wrong.

: If you do not see the implication in these statements can draw one
: conclude that on dark skin there is a problem with the pure and
: natural henna being seen on there skin...well, maybe you just don't
: want to see it.

Kenzi is not saying that these statements are her opinions or are
based in her opinions on the matter- they are simply based on her
observations. It isn't fair to any of us if she just fools herself
and 'pretties up' the truth of what she's observed. Covering up a
tradition, like bolder designs on darker people, is doing more harm
than help. These are legitimate observations on her part.

: My statements have been and continue to be that pure and natural
: henna can be seen on dark skin and using something to get a black
: stain or some skin harming chemical to push the stain darker is not
: necessary for dark skin people to have stains that can be seen on
: their skin...even from a distance.

Again, we're not using the word 'necesary' here- simply saying that
some people prefer it. This is not to say that it's a good thing
either. You are correct, it is not necesary, and should not be
encouraged- we are not encouraging it.

: It is interesting to me that you would make, support or not comment
: against a racially insensitive comment and then wish to say
I "pulled
: the race card" when I do.

Above, you accused Kenzi of not understanding that issues of skin
color are also issues of race- to me, this sounds like you brought up
the issue. Kenzi was trying to stay away from the racial aspect of
skin color, and doing so was very professional of her. If she had
mentioned the racial aspect, she would have been accused of having
racist points, and now that she has not, she is accused of also
having racist points, for she ignored the racial aspect, perhaps in
an attempt to forget that is exists. Damned if you do, damned if you

: Imparting information to customers so that they can make informed
: consent is a very good thing to do. But if the information being
: imparted is similar to what is above, then it is based on a faulty
: premise and is therefore not good information to impart.

As Anne has said above, i would say to ANY of my customers, white or
dark skinned, to avoid a design on a hard to stain area. Contrast is
contrast. White shows up on black very well. On grey? not so well.
That cannot be changed. White on grey may be equally beautiful, but
it is different than white on black, and not as contrasted. This is a
simple art principle.

: The measure of what is a "good" or "not good"...or a "dark" or "not
: dark" stain on dark skin depends on what yard stick you are using
: measure.

Good point, but you must say, wimpy orange is never a good stain on
anyone. So you too are prescribing to the same yardstick as the rest
of us, at least in part. Actually, by this statment, you seem to be
saying that henna on white people and henna on darker people *are*
different, which seems to be the opposite of the message you are
trying to convey.

: That you don't make the comments above to a customer is good. My
: posts are about the comments in the posts that have been made here
: that would make people of color with dark skin believe they could
: get "good" and "dark" stains on body parts other than hands and
: What is good or dark is relative...and subjective...and can be
: with political and cultural significance. And anyone needs to take
: care with how such statements will be heard, read and interpreted.

We must have some standard. Yes, good and dark are relative terms,
but not entirely. Wimpy orange is never good or dark. This is not to
say that people of dark skin will stain only wimpy orange, it is
merely to make a comparison point that good and dark are only
relative to an extent.

: You may not say it to customers, but you wrote it here. That last
: quote above is yours. And I repeat what I posted before, if people
: of dark skin may use something to push their henna darker or to
: is because they want it to be seen better on their skin. Why do
: people of lighter hue do use something to push their henna darker
: black. Is it because they want it to be seen better on their skin
: well. If so, the the skin color is a nonfactor. If not, if it is
: because they have choice and choose, then perhaps dark skinned
: do the same...then it is a nonfactor. That statement is reflective
: of your own personal view about what would be needed to make the
: henna visible on dark skin. It certainly is not based upon
: else but your view point. It was indeed made in disagreement to
: point Efran made explaining the reasons he was "told" why dark
: skinned people desired the red stains in the political and cultural
: context of the people he was describing. You can have your
: I have no problem with that. My point is that it is just an
: And happens to be one that I would not want other people to use
: choosing what is required for them to have excellent and beautiful
: henna stains on dark skin...that can be seen very very well indeed.
: Maureen

You said that Kenzi's viewpoint is only an opinion- so too is your
own viewpoint. Nothing any of us say is anything more than an
opinion. Aren't all things academic based in opinion? What is a
thesis other than an opinion? Nothing. A thesis is proved therein,
but without support, it is nothing but an opinion.


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