Is Sammy Sosa bleaching his skin white?

By Yvonne Yen Liu Nov 09, 2009

This question has making the rounds on blogs and Facebook this weekend: is Sosa bleaching his skin white? A recent photo released of him reveals a starkly lighter-skinned Sosa with his wife at a glamourous black tie affair in Las Vegas. The former Major League Baseball right fielder, who hails from the Dominican Republic, experienced his hey day in the 1990s, playing for the Chicago Cubs. Sosa later was disgraced in 2003 when he was found using a corked bat. That was the same year, according to the NY Times, that he tested positive for steroid use. His career nose-dived soon after, last playing baseball in 2007. Now, rumours are swirling around the Internets: could Sosa suffer from the same pigment disorder, vitiligo, which troubled Michael Jackson? Is this a by-product of steroid abuse? Or is he simply rejuvenating his skin, a claim by a former Cubs employee? But, more importantly, what would it mean if Sosa is bleaching his skin white? Isn’t this another aspect of white supremacy? The version that Black and brown folk internalize, wishing to be paler, have pointier noses, and straighter hair. How is it different, Davey D asks on his Facebook page, than white folks who endure sunburn, high radiation, and risk skin cancer to get a tan? Are we surprised because Sosa is male–women go through many lengths, for example, to get "good hair"–is this a gendered reaction? What do you think?