Paying attention to whether a bandage (or a number of other household products) matches your actual skin tone is something that many people go through every day.
It may seem like such a little thing, but as one man’s social media post makes clear – it’s a really big deal.
Dominique Apollon is currently 45 years old and this month, for the first time in his life, he used a bandage that is identical to his brown skin. It was an emotional moment for the man.
“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 said in an interview.
“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.”
Dominique ran into a box of Tru-Colour bandages while searching for items to spend the rest of his flexible savings account money on. The bandages are dark brown, and they match up with his skin tone.
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) April 19, 2019
He was emotional after trying them on.
The significance and meaning was not lost on the rest of the world, as the tweet has over 500,000 likes.
Something as simple as a bandage can, indeed, “signal that you’re a valued member of society,” as Dominique put it.
Not like I didn't know these strips existed. But I definitely didn't expect the complex emotions that would swirl as I watched it just … blend in. A seemingly trivial exercise I've repeated 1000x on my body with "regular" ones since childhood. Self-administered #antiblackness
— Dominique Apollon (@ApollonTweets) April 20, 2019
Many other people of color know exactly what Dominique feels like. Hundreds replied to his tweet with their own stories of feeling left out or confused by everyday household products that didn’t seem to match up with their skin tone and include them.
Actor John Boyega of Star Wars said that when black actors get cut on the set, makeup artists have to paint over the bandages brown so they will blend in during photos.
“This was one of the first things that made me aware of ‘race’ when I was a kid,” one woman shared. “I remember asking my mom about the bandaid color… Also the ‘flesh’ crayon.”
Another woman added: “I remember being upset that nothing really worked.”
The interesting thing is that these brown bandages have been around for a few years, as Dominique says. They’re just not available in many local stores or schools — which means that if you’re someone with the ability to give them to people who need them (like young students or patients), you should definitely do it!