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Sammy Sosa’s Skin Controversy

By November 16, 2009

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With significantly lighter skin and green contact lenses during an appearance at the Latin Grammys, baseball great Sammy Sosa has found himself at the center of controversy. Just how did this Dominican's skin go from dark brown to pallid?

The former Chicago slugger told Univision reporter Tony Dandrades that a European skin cream caused his skin color to lighten, EURweb.com reported.

"I use a cream to keep my skin smooth and soft. I apply it before I go to bed," Sosa said. "When I was playing for Chicago all those years, I was in the sun a lot for 1 o'clock games."

In addition to the cream, Sosa blamed flashes from cameras for making his skin look significantly lighter in photos of him at the Latin Grammys in early November.

"I'm surprised with the controversy this has caused," he said.

Sosa also denied that he was racist or an unhappy person and claimed that he wears green contact lenses to "try something different."

Clearly, the public isn't buying Sosa's explanations for his new skin color. The baseball champ has been the subject of insults and accusations that he's a self-hating black Dominican.

The comments left on EURweb.com are full venom for Sosa.

A commenter named Janissi wrote: "Sammy looks a hot mess! It's sad that so many nationalities hate themselves so much they'll go to any length to change themselves."

Another commenter named TGen wrote: "During the homerun record race between him and Mark McGuire, I always had a soft, sympathetic spot for Sosa since I felt he didn't get as much pub as McGuire. There was a lot of talk then about race being the reason for the publicity disparity. Who knows? At any rate, I say that to say, I no longer feel sympathy for him, I feel pity for him. Who knew he was such a self-conflicted flake?"

And another commenter name NYCsoul wrote: "Bleaching, bleaching, bleaching! Just admit it Sammy! You have a sickness called 'I hate dark skinned self and want to be as light as possible' disease. Damn nutcase!"

Commenters on RadarOnline.com weren't much nicer, saying that Sosa's "ashamed of his skin color," looks like a "clown," "freak from a bad experiment" and a "corpse," to name a few.

While I definitely prefer Sosa with dark brown skin and am concerned if he's been bleaching his flesh to become lighter, I'm not sure that attacking the baseball champ is the way to go. If Sosa suffered from an eating disorder and lost an enormous amount of weight as a result, would we be as quick to call him names and condemn him? Moreover, attacking Sosa isn't likely to change his mind about skin color. If he truly suffers from internalized racism, he needs counseling, not name calling.

I'm also disturbed that attacks on Sosa have expanded to include all natives of the Dominican Republic. Commenters have characterized Dominicans as people who hate their black ancestry and want to be white. While relations between Dominicans and Haitians are certainly rife with racial tensions related to blackness, I don't think it's fair to characterize every black Dominican as suffering from self-hatred.

Isn't this akin to someone remarking that because Michael Jackson's skin became lighter that all African Americans hate their dark skin, too?


November 16, 2009 at 11:48 pm
(1) Orville says:

Sammy Sosa definately hate himself as a black person. He is so ignorant about the whole black culture. Basically if he dont like himself being black, he should just go find a bridge and jump off.

November 17, 2009 at 2:55 am
(2) Danielle says:

I just find this sad. Whatever his reasons were for changing his skin tone, they are his own. Its none of my business why someone would want to change their skin color. Its not my place to need justification. I just hope that whatever his reasons are, he thought this all the way through. Changing who you are as a person is not something a healthy minded person does. We are taught as children to love ourselves and each other for our differences and unique traits, and it makes me sad for him that the lesson didn’t seem to take. I hope he gets the satisfaction he’s looking for, in this form or another, and I hope that he gets help to figure out why he would choose to go to such great lengths to love himself.

November 17, 2009 at 10:59 am
(3) M.E. says:

Let’s try looking at this from another angle. For years upon years, fair skinned people have laid in the sun until they blistered, paid millions of dollars to an industry to tan and get self bronzed. They want to be darker than what they naturally are. Does this mean they are self-loathing? I would say not. This appears to be a reverse to that. If Mr. Sosa prefers his look with lighter skin, who are we to judge? Simply because it is not our preference, doesn’t mean that it is wrong. Not everything has to be our cup of tea. What is important is that people have the right to live and choose as they wish, as long as they arent hurting anyone in the process, without being ostracised for doing so. Bigotry, intolerance, and discrimination start with people criticizing and denouncing what they do not understand. Smarten up and live and let live.

November 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm
(4) truth says:

the problem is that fair skinned people who “tanned” are likely making a decision to darken themselves 100% based on “personal preference” since darker skinned people “BLACK PEOPLE” are at a disadvantage in society due to racism. I.E income is lower, opportunities are less, education level etc: therefore no “light skinned” person would want to be dark because they somehow feel it will enhance their social status. BLACKS however DO SUFFER FROM DISCRIMINATION, AND TYPICALLY HAVE FEWER OPPORTUNTIES AND SOCIAL STATUS SO it is more difficult for anyone to make the assumption that blacks who want to be lighter make that decision based SOLELY on personal preference instead of shame. IT JUST GOES AGAINST LOGICAL THINKING since we know that lighter skinned people enjoy a higher social economic status that is directly related to the color of their skin. A LIGHT SKIN BLACK MALE WITH A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA IS MORE LIKELY TO BE EMPLOYED THAN A DARK SKIN BLACK MALE WITH A COLLEGE DEGREE. ALTHOUGH YOU TRY TO COMPARE THE TWO THEY ARE AS DIFFERENT AS NIGHT AND DAY.

November 29, 2009 at 2:25 am
(5) Harry says:

I hate people who make lame forced analogies in lieu of making an intelligent response.

Your comparisons about weight loss and michael jackson’s skin bleach are completely dissimilar to what is actually happening here. You’re seriously trying to liken somebody hating being overweight and losing it to somebody hating their heritage and bleaching their skin? Hang it up dude, your analogies are piss poor.

December 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm
(6) AphroditeBull says:

This is very prominent in the Latin-American community. Brazil has the largest African diaspora, and yet only Euro-Brazilian women of German descent are represented as Supermodels. During the time of President Truillo (former President of the Dominican republic), he embarked on an ethnic cleansing mission to purify the Spaniard race. Any Haitian or Afro-Dominican in the DR during that time who did not resemble Spaniards were killed. Truillo was a prime example of the terminology SELF-HATE. The difference between ‘tanning’ and ‘bleaching,’ Tanning has more to do with vanity, and Bleaching has more to do with acceptance!

March 18, 2010 at 10:02 pm
(7) Ann says:

He is not Hating his self Dominican think light, in being white is give from god in black is a curse from god. they had a president that was white, that agree with hilter. made it illegal for blacks to have babies with each other. he has 20 percent of the population skin lighting so they could look different from the haitian, plus he killed 38,000 haitian in the border on the haitian side not even on his land. he is dead but the black hate stayed. tsk, tsk,

November 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm
(8) APGifts says:


There is No Such Thing as a
“Light Skinned Black” person!

The term “Light Skinned Black” is nothing
more that a racist oxymoron coined by
White racial supremacists who tried to
forcibly deny ‘Mixed-Race’ people who are
of a Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed
(MGM-Mixed) Lineage the right to embrace
and openly acknowledge their full-ancestry.

Again, so-called “Light Skinned Blacks”
are simply ‘Mixed-Race’ people who are
from families that BOTH BECAME AND
THROUGHOUT their multiple generations.

This is NOT stating or implying that
having a LIGHT-Complexioned
(OR even a ‘REQUIRED’)
PROOF of a person being

It ‘s simply stating that the person’s
Light-complexioned skin coloring and
tone is simply an Undeniable physical
Proof Of the Fact that their family’s
Ancestral Lineage has been
‘Continually’ racially Admixed
‘Throughout’ the Generations
(from the very first occurrence of “racial”
admixing to their present generation
– ex. Griffe marries Metis, etc.).

THE KEY to being MGM-Mixed*

In order to be MGM-Mixed*/Mixed-Race,
a person’s ancestry MUST have BOTH
BECOME & REMAINED (at least 25%)
racially-admixed THROUGHOUT all of
their family generations — from the
very first occurrence of admixture
until their present generation!

Simply having 1 or 2 “ancient-ancestors” who are
said to have been of some “other race” and that
are allegedly found “somewhere-down-the-line”
(ex. a great-grand whatever of another “race”)
– DOES NOT — make anyone MGM-Mixed
(or else nearly everyone found on the planet
could (falsely) claim to be MGM-Mixed)!

Being MGM-Mixed REQUIRES that
one has “CONTINUITY-of-Admixture”

(*Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed)

IN THE United States (U.S.) way back in 1967 by the
U.S. Supreme Court (via the ‘Loving vs. VA’ case).

That decision struck down the ‘VA Racial Integrity Act’
(VRIA) & every ‘Anti-Miscegenation Law’ (AML) in the
U.S. — AS WELL AS the racist, ‘One-Drop Rule’ (ODR)
on which both the VRIA & the AMLs were based!

There’s been NO ‘ONE-DROP RULE’
(ODR) in the U.S. SINCE 1967!

Thus, there is NO SUCH THING as a
“Light-Skinned Black” person (these people
are Mixed-Race from families that have been
racially-admixed throughout many generations).

For more information on this topic,
please feel to contact me via email
and / or to visit the websites below.

— APGifts, Founder / Moderator
(Generation-Mixed; MGM-Mixed
and FGM-Mixed ‘Yahoo!Groups’)


APGifts email address


Mixed-Race Discussion GROUPS / FORUMS:





The ‘Light-Skinned Black’ MYTH


The ‘Light-House / Dark-Field Slave Hierarchy’ MYTH


The Colorism-Based Features Tests / Societies MYTH


November 20, 2010 at 1:04 am
(9) PG says:

This issue exposes a lot of hypocrocy and double standards. A white person is free make themselves look like other races by changing their skin color, lips, etc. but when a person of color does the same they are accused of hating themselves and heaps of venom are dumped on them.

It’s clear to me that there are some lines that whites are aloud to cross but others are not.

February 18, 2011 at 10:20 am
(10) Ethan says:

Orville you may be the ignorant one because he is not fully black, he’s Dominican. Therefore why would he be fully familiar to black culture, he knows all about the Latin American culture which is where he is from anyways. Get your facts straight before calling someone ignorant when in all reality you are the ignorant one.

Angry Sosa Fan,

April 28, 2012 at 8:14 am
(11) Dinah says:

Shut up everyone! Why are you attacking Sosa like that? If you look at the culture of the Dominican Republic, you will know the difference. Dominincans were taught that they have an Indigenous and Spanish ancestry and we’re to be proud of who they are. They never accepted the Black blood for some reason. They said that only Haitians were black. So you can’t judge them. It’s how they are. It would be good if whites were reprimanded for trying to be of a different race and will be stuck like that even if they don’t like being White. Also punish them for trying to be darker. You people don’t know anything about Latin America. In there if you have a white father and a black mother and your features appear white, you’re white yourself. Not one Latin American person says anything about being black. They see being black as a stigma. This leads most people of African descent to hate themselves and deny it. This also leads them isolated when it comes to the census. Very few identify themselves as black because somehow African culture was either ignored or forgotten. Some people ignore the black blood they have, only looking at the Spanish and native bloods. They accepted white blood but also accepted Asian and Arad blood as well. They never accepted the African blood. It sucks being a colorist.

August 2, 2012 at 9:01 am
(12) O'Neil says:

ME……..when while people tan it’s because of sexual conflict…where white culture associates dark skin with brutish/animalistic sexual attractiveness (a condescending jungle fever based sexual passion so to speak) And keep in mind that there is no automatic correlation between sexual passion on one hand and love/respect on the other. When black people lighten it’s because there is the belief that white/light skin is a mark of beauty as embodied in the “more intelligent” and “superior” Caucasion race.

December 4, 2012 at 10:06 am
(13) Beatrice says:

It is sad that we live in a country, where people feel that they are not good enough just they way that they are. Colorism is alive and well here in America, and many people feel oppressed and the need to fit into a dominate culture that says, white is better! This is just a left over from slavery and colonialism. It does not matter, what he does, he will still be considered a black man in America, and all of his money can’t buy him out of this label. So he should embrace his Blackness and be proud!

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