*Disclaimer, please read with an open mind and try to keep in mind this is simply to bring awareness. *
What is it about the world we live in to judge a person off skin tone, color of eyes, height, body build, and hair type versus spirit, integrity, intelligence, and character???
The movie Dark Girls focuses on the difference made between different shades of women in the African-American community. This movie does a good job of showing the impact of comments for all age ranges based on their shade for men and women. The one that stood out to me the most was the little girl they opened the movie with. A young child with beautiful skin, just gorgeous but has issues with her skin tone. She is one of many that battle with this from a young age that potentially can carry over into one’s adulthood.
As I think back to my childhood, I recall a time of battling with this myself. It was never due to any name calling, bullying, or family put downs. I just for some reason for years thought I was darker than I actually am. I was the darkest person on my mother’s side of the family and just always saw myself as darker skinned. It took me getting into college and being nicknamed Butterscotch (this was purely based on me going by Kandi and my skin tone) for me to really reevaluate what my skin tone really was. I for years struggled with the texture of my hair and going from round glasses to octagon glasses and to contacts. It was all internally my view of myself. I have always had big legs even when I was in shape. I recall praying for God to extend my femur bone so I could be a little taller, not much, but some. Lol. I was able to overcome my own perception of myself and start to see more in myself the more I learned and accepted that I was just the way God designed me to be. I also enjoy the song by Mary J Blige, Take Me as I Am.
My brother on the other hand, I have always admired. No matter if he had on glasses or contacts, a box haircut, or shaved his head bald. He has always embraced who he was. He is the type that could walk into a room and not know anyone. Before he left, he would have made friends and been invited to hang out. I’ve always been more of one to sit back and observe before completely feeling free to interact. Neither personality is wrong, but they can be perceived two very different ways.
I have dated men in the past that I have seen battle with even the colors they wear based on what has been said to them prior about their skin tone. I recall dating one guy that would always bring up that he was light-skinned and for the life of me… I couldn’t figure out why. When it came time to meet his family it was clearly because he was the lightest one of the family, but wasn’t necessarily light-skinned. He was just a lighter shade of brown and his family would refer to him by this when picking at him. However, he would make random remarks in reference to this and my family and friends were not as receptive to this as his comments came at the most random times. At times it almost seemed like he was proud to just be able to say he was light-skinned. Never quite got to the bottom of everything with this one ongoing comment of his. One other guy that I dated that was darker skinned used to only wear black, navy, and gray. As our relationship grew and we started shopping together I remember introducing him to other colors. His skin tone was so pretty and he never complimented it by wearing the colors salmon, cranberry, sea green, and lavender. However, that all changed once we started shopping together. It wasn’t about changing him, it was about introducing him to something he did not think he would look or feel good in.
In the many discussions with different groups of women, so many of them have been told they are pretty for a light chick or a dark chick. In the movie they have a segment of men discussing the shade of women’s skin. The interesting thing was although we all have preferences many of them based if they could talk to someone lighter or darker skinned on other things. They had different requirements based on the other person’s skin tone. I am sure many of you will read this and advise it this is based on unresolved issues, immaturity, and or society. However, these are the same men that will be out there dating, raising daughters and little boys to be men and advising them how to find their queen.
I say all these things to say that we as a society and as individuals in the society have to be more aware of the things we say to people and around our children and other’s children. Pay attention to the questions they ask and why they are asking them. Although I am not a parent myself, I see so many people feeling free to express their views and opinions around others little one’s without accounting for the impact it can make. I have witnessed people have babies and before anyone can congratulate the parents, one person is asking do you think they will get darker or their hair texture will change.
If we as adults can’t learn how to control how we communicate with one another based on stereotypical things, how do we expect our children to? If we can’t accept and embrace who we truly are, it leads to so many others down falls. People suffering with low self-esteem, questioning why they were designed the way they were, not recognizing their uniqueness will carry over into so much more. It effects how they interact with people, their work product, and so on.
Let’s try as a society to do better, no matter your race. Everyone won’t reach out to resources to get past their own hang ups nor will they choose to discuss it. Now days, kids are dealing with so many other pressures then when I grew up. The bullying, name calling, and blatant disrespect from their peers have become a norm for many children in school today. Where do you think they are learning some of these behavior’s from? It truly will open one’s eyes to the world we live in and what many look at before being respectful to the situation. I don’t want what I am writing to be misunderstood but I do hope it brings awareness.
So I ask again… Can I accept me? Can I expect someone else to accept me if I can’t accept myself???