Man wears bandage that blends in with his skin tone, and Twitter has all the feelings

Dominique Apollon / Twitter

It was a colorism learning moment for many.

On Friday, Dominique Apollon, who’s the vice president of research for a racial justice nonprofit, shared a photo of the color of his bandage blending in with his skin. He said he was surprised at how emotive he became over it. “For real I’m holding back tears,” he tweeted.

“This felt like belonging. Like feeling valued,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet. “Sadness for my younger self and millions of kids of color, esp black kids. Like a reminder of countless spaces where my skin is still not welcomed. Feared. Hated. Like, ‘Why am I really thinking all this ’bout an effing band-aid?'” (Apollon did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot.)

Many people of color shared similar feelings and stories, like realizing the crayon color “flesh” did not represent their skin tone. 

And some non-Black people pointed out that they never even thought about Band-Aid color as a race or colorism issue, but this tweet opened their eyes.

Since bandages are worn at a time of pain and healing, it hurts even further to feel a lack of belonging as you literally cover a wound. Which is what makes this tweet so poignant: It celebrates a Black person finally feeling recognized while creating an a-ha moment for white people who are still learning the effects of colorism. It even led to the rare productive, respectful Twitter thread.

While Apollon’s tweet was a learning moment for some, many are taking it a step further by actually implementing it. A number of teachers said they want to teach it as a lesson in school.

The conversation on bandages for people of color, especially for the Black community, dates back to as early as 1969. In the late ’90s, a man attempted to tap into this market, and even though he noticed a demand for it, his business was pretty much wiped out by stores that wouldn’t promote his product properly, according to the Atlantic

But hopefully that is changing. In the Twitter thread, Tru-Colour Bandages, a company that makes bandages in different skin tones, also chimed in. Tru-Color was started by a father who has mix-raced children and worried that they might struggle with moments of unbelonging. 

“There’s something special about what a bandage does in terms of the connection between a parent and a child at the right moment in time where there’s hurt, there’s pain, and a grown-up can show up and provide care and love in the form of a bandage,” Toby Meisenheimer, founder of Tru-Colour Bandages, told the Huffington Post in 2015.

“This is what people of color have to do in reverse,” he said. “Their bandage choice is one that has to stand out. Why can’t I stand out to show my support for identification for the fact that ‘Hey, this is kind of messed up and it doesn’t have to be’?”

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Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque