The above video has gone viral on my twitter and facebook timelines. It’s a teaser for an upcoming docu-film on skin color issues within the black community.
Are we still dealing with this? Like, really? It’s 2011.
I’m sure there are arguments on personal preference, upbringing or whatever, but the root of the problem is self-hate.
Growing up, I was aware of the difference between my skin and that of my mother and sister. God painted them a reddish light brown color; while I was dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. My skin tone varied depending on the season but since I resided in Miami, Florida, where it’s summer 85% of the time, I was always dark brown.
One Christmas, my mother took us to visit our cousins. My sister and I, being less than a year apart, were often dressed alike. That day, I wore a tan and black short set. My sister wore the exact same one in red and black. While playing, a little girl said, “They’re twins. One is red. One is black.” My mom, being the woman she is quickly corrected the child. “What do you mean? We’re all black. Just because one is lighter than the other doesn’t mean they’re any different.” I love my mom for that.
I’m not sure why I recall that day so vividly, but it has made me aware of the way I describe my people.
She had to give me a reminder of my beautiful black skin a few years following that incident when, at 11, I asked her for a light skinned Kenya doll. (Who remembers the Kenya doll?)
All my friends, who were mostly dark like me, had light skinned Kenya dolls with light hair and light eyes. I slid my mom my Christmas list and at the top of my list was Kenya doll with light skinned in parentheses. Why did I want the light doll? Maybe it was because that’s the doll my friends had. Or I had been taught through the media that lighter was better. Either way, on Christmas day, I unwrapped a Kenya doll with the darkest shade available. I loved that doll and I thank my mom to this day for that lesson.
Along with that incident, I continued to be reminded of my skin color within my community. Not that I didn’t own a mirror or see any pictures of myself growing up.
The most prevalent comment in regards to my skin color has been the infamous,
“You’re so pretty… For a dark-skinned girl.”
Just like the women in the video, I’ve heard that comment thousands of times. As a child, it made me realize that my people equated being darker in hue with ugliness. My walk in life has taught me that beauty is inside and beams outward. There are ugly people whose skin range from alabaster to tar black. Ugly in spirit and in heart.
I don’t subscribe to the notion of being Pretty even though I’m dark. I’m pretty. Period. No chaser!
Don’t automatically put a disclaimer on my beauty because you didn’t give it to me!
Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Redefine what it means to you and look around you and see His beauty in everything!
Here are a few of my favorite beauties. They, too, are pretty, no chaser.