If you’ve never had to pay any attention to whether a bandage (or any other skin care or household product) matches your actual skin tone, consider yourself lucky.
It seems like such a small thing, but as one man’s viral tweet makes clear, it’s a big deal.
Dominique Apollon is 45 years old. This month, for the first time in his life, he used a bandage that matches his brown skin. It was a surprisingly emotional experience.
“You can barely even spot it in the first image,” he tweeted. “For real I’m holding back tears.”
“As a black person, I’m not used to seeing products geared to me in national online retailers,” he explained to BuzzFeed News.
“The default is typically some type of Caucasian skin tone. I just started feeling sad that I’d spent my entire life — 45 years — perhaps without ever having experienced that before. It’s impossible to say, but how might I have felt if I’d had that experience of care as a kid.”
One part of being black in America is feeling invisible. The world is catered to the white majority in a million ways, and many of them are seemingly small, but they add up over time.
Like, for example, the fact that products with a supposedly universal “flesh tone” are usually beige.
This is a thing with bandages, crayons, and pantyhose, to name a few examples. And that’s not even diving into the world of makeup and clothing, where the word “nude” also means beige 99% of the time.
But things are finally starting to change. In the makeup industry, beauty companies are starting to cater to darker skin tones (we can thank Rihanna for that!). There are Crayola crayons and emojis in every skin tone imaginable.
And there are also bandages FOR BROWN PEOPLE.
Dominique Apollon is the vice president of research at Race Forward, a nonprofit that builds awareness for racial justice. As such, he likely spends a lot of his time thinking about big-picture race issues. But sometimes it’s the smaller and unexpected things that strike a chord.
It's taken me 45 trips around the sun, but for the first time in my life I know what it feels like to have a "band-aid" in my own skin tone. You can barely even spot it in the first image. For real I'm holding back tears. pic.twitter.com/GZR7hRBkJf
— Dominique Apollon (@ApollonTweets) 19 avril 2019
Dominique came across a box of Tru-Colour bandages while looking for items to spend the rest of his flexible savings account money on. The bandages are dark brown, and they match his exact skin tone.