(124th day, 241 more days to go)
I saw this trailer for a documentary posted on someone’s Facebook page the other day. It was depressing and refreshing to watch in a strange way. It was depressing to hear other women who look like me say the same things that have crossed my mind for years. On the other hand, it’s refreshing to see that a Hollywood actor has taken the time to bring national attention to this issue that has affected the African-American community since slavery.
It has taken most of my adult life to learn to love the skin I’m in. I can relate to each of the women in the video. People who don’t look like me have said that my complexion was the most beautiful color skin they’ve seen. The compliments are pleasant but disheartening because I don’t get that much love from people who look just like me. After watching this video, I guess I’m not the only one who has had to cope with a color complex.
Every time I thought there was nothing wrong with the complexion of my skin, there were two or more people to remind me that it wasn’t the best thing to be a DARK girl. A DARK girl who didn’t want to stay in the sun too long for fear that I would get too B L A C K. A DARK girl who thought that being light was right. A DARK girl who didn’t want a baby who was as dark as me. It wasn’t until a friend said to me, “if you don’t want a child that looks like you then what are you saying about yourself.” This echoed in my head as I held my mocha baby for the first time in the hospital. (Her father has lighter skin than I do.) I realized at that moment, For Better Or Worse, I was going to have to love this skin…my skin whether I liked it or not. Boy, has it been a difficult road.
Whenever I look at my daughter, I see the beauty I was taught to worship and desire. At her preschool she was constantly told that she was beautiful and had good hair from children and people who looked more like me. These were the same comments I wanted to hear growing up but never did. Instead, I continue to slap relaxers in my hair and stay away from the HOT-Miami sun as much as possible.
In the Caribbean community the light skin versus dark skin issue is very prevalent. Those who have light skin are more respected than people with darker skin. The older generation are guilty of keeping this form of respect (more like disrespect) alive.
One day, a friend said in front of my mother that my daughter looked like me. My mother (yes she’s guilty too) seemed to be bothered that this friend would compare my daughter to me. After going back and forth with this friend, she finally compromised saying that she could see a little (just a little) resemblance with our smiles and no more than that. Apparently, I wasn’t pretty enough (even for a DARK skin girl) to have my daughter look anything like me. I’m pretty sure if you’re an American-born citizen reading this post then you are probably outraged by my mother’s actions and you should be. For me, that’s my reality as a dark skin woman. Not only have I faced racism and prejudice for being a Black woman but I think I feel it more for being darker. The older you get the more immune you are to this type of ignorance.
This is just a mere example of some of the things people have said or commented to me and my daughter. I would have to start another post if I were to share my experiences while living in Georgia. Let’s just say that I didn’t know I was Black until moving there.
I know that I may upset some people for that last comment and I’m okay with that. The truth hurts and if you can’t handle it then this Blog is not for you. Remember, I’m trying to leave all the hurt and pain that I’ve experienced from my past on this Blog. I was raised in Miami where there are so many nationalities and cultures. Once I moved away, it was clear to me that I had a color complex. I’m glad this documentary will highlight an issue that’s hardly discussed in the African-American community. Hopefully, it will educate people on self-hate and encourage everyone to Love each other no matter what shade of color you are.
This is yet another issue that I’ve had to overcome in addition to being a single mom. How can a DARK girl teach a LIGHT girl not to have a color complex? By teaching her to LOVE herself the way she is as I’m learning to LOVE myself for the way I am…that’s how!!!
Written by: Maxx