After watching the season opener of Greenleaf the other night, I watched a documentary called, Dark Girls. It was the second in the series. As we are all trying to understand the complexities of how systemic racism has created vacuums of covert and overt hate, let us also look to how these mindsets have infected people within the same groups.
I have said frequently to my husband how I wish that I could have grown up during a time when the stage was filled with all of these beautiful hues—-
Nonetheless, colorism is a nasty truth: a weight of its own that needs to be lifted. Now, do I really need to post about the weight of being fair skinned, too? Or, can we just have this conversation about being dark? It reeks of “all lives matter.”
Interestingly enough, colorism seems to be overt within and covert from other groups. Being pretty for a dark girl is just as toxic as being pretty for a black girl.
There hasn’t been a time when, for one attribute or another, my heritage has been questioned—-and I am (or was) considered dark. If you have lighter eyes and curly/wavy hair, smaller lips AND you are educated, you can be given a pass into a room that seems friendly but leads to constant exposure to reminders that you are not like “them.” (them being dark skinned big-lipped, undereducated blacks) These rooms test your loyalty to your new place by exposing you to jokes about “them” and your acceptance will be predicated on your ability to laugh and be silent. Your silence is then bought with the coins of having your own segregate you because of the room, so you begin to believe—-even if you don’t know that you do.
Dare not any of you say to me, “see, they hate each other.” That reeks of, “what about black on black crime.” The distaste for dark skin is actually quite the myth: mulattoes were made—-well you know how. African Americans are not the only ones affected by colorism; every place that was colonized was left with this unique and quite perplexing challenge. Skin bleaching is running rampant in Asian and African countries. Can you imagine being so detrimental to a people that when you leave your influence causes massive self-hate? How horrible to look into a mirror and see nothing but rejection! An interesting twist to the conversation: a white friend of mind recently shared with me that she is often ridiculed by other white women because her skin is fair and she cannot tan. Go figure!
I am encouraged by the conversations that are happening—-in the room to which the are occurring! No, we never needed validation; we did; however, need the space to yell our truth and begin to heal.
Heal, black girl, heal.