Friday, July 5, 2013

Dark Skin vs. Light Skin


My family is made up of all the shades of black there are. Some of us are fairer than others and some of us are darker than others. I consider myself to be in the middle, a brown skin girl in my brown skin world. Through out my life I've been referred to as dark skin and light skin, neither of which made any difference in my self-esteem or self-worth. Skin color has NEVER been a factor to me.

Oprah's OWN Network premiered a documentary titled "Dark Girls" focusing on the experience of being a dark skin woman within a community that is self-loathing. These women shared stories of family members putting bleach in their bath water in hopes that their skin would lighten over time. These memories were implanted by their own families, and caused these women to feel ugly and worthless. Neither of which are true.

dark skin vs light skin image
The age old "debate"
Recently, someone close to me has started making subtle comments revealing his distaste for dark skinned people. As a lighter skinned black man, I assume he feels privileged, but he also must feel ashamed to be part of a family with dark skinned people. 

Shame is a huge part of the black experience. Enslaved blacks were segregated by skin color, and so being of darker skin ensured a slave a harder life. Fairer skinned slaves that looked too much like the plantation owner also felt shame for the way in which they were born. This shame has trickled down the lines and we still deal with it today. Self-loathing blacks that put other blacks down for being darker skinned are an example of how much work there is to be done within our community.

Caucasian people do not argue over who is "more white" in fact they embrace color, just ask the Tan Mom. 

I find it hard to believe that someone so close to me could be so ignorant. We grew up alongside one another, yet he has managed to formulate a mindset that is absolutely repulsive. We have to love one another. We have to love ourselves, and displaying anything different just keeps us oppressed. It is the only way we can begin to grow. Until then, I'll be reminding every ignorant person of color of just how ridiculous they sound commenting on skin color. 

All shades of black are beautiful. 





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