I want to talk about racism within my own race. This is a hard topic to discuss but one that still exists today. I am writing about my experience, which some of you might be able to relate to. If this never happened to you then you are blessed.
When I was younger people would say “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” My mommy taught me to use my manners so I would reply, “Thank you”. I remember asking mommy what people meant by that. She told me that I was beautiful and so was my skin color. As I got older and began to learn more about slavery, I drew my own conclusions on why there was such a focus on skin complexion. Again you may not agree with me at all.
Slaves that were house slaves were usually light-skinned or multi-racial. They did the easier jobs, but it was still slavery. The darker complected slaves did the hard labor, were nurse maids and worked in the fields. I am referring more to women because this is where woman today are haters against each other because of their skin complexion. So was my brown skin not beautiful enough?
Th world was telling us that being light-skinned meant that you were prettier. If you had “good hair” that was a double whammy bonus. In college men would make remarks about wanting to date and marry a light-skinned girl so they would have cute babies. Darker complected woman were often ridiculed for being “so black”. These comments really hurt, but what made it worse was that it came from my own race.
I have always loved my skin color. I used to think I was brown sugar or Foxy Brown like, the actress Pam Grier. I remember hearing black women say if you had lighter skin that you were less black. Which makes absolutely no sense to me. I’ll never forget when I found out that I was pregnant with Harrison. A family member not on my side, asked if he would look like Rob or look like me? In other words would Harrison be lighter complected like his father or darker complected like me. All I was praying for was for him to be healthy. Today I think that both of my children look like me and it has nothing to do with the complexion of their skin.
It is sad that my own race discriminates against each other. I hear younger guys say they will only date light-skinned or “mixed” girls. Somewhere along our path in history this type of conversation was tolerated and accepted. I worry about the message that little girls are learning as they grow up. I want them to embrace their race, and all that goes along with it. Different skin tones make us all so beautiful. There is a book that I read to my students at the beginning of the year called The Color of Us. The book describes a diverse neighborhood and highlights how all of the different races make such beautiful colors all together. We must remember the message that we are sending to our younger generation. The harsh words that they hear at an early age can stay with them forever.
Embrace the skin you are in. My black is beautiful and so is your peach, tan, brown, red, yellow and white.