Good Afternoon! I watched the “Light Girls” documentary on OWN last night and wanted to express all the things that were running through my mind while watching. I didn’t comment on the “Dark Girls” documentary because I didn’t feel like I could completely relate to what the women on the documentary were saying but after watching the “Light Girls” documentary, I realized that I can’t completely relate to the “light-skinned” women and their experiences either. My mom is a beautiful brown-skinned woman who I’ve been told that I favor on countless occasions but my father was very light-skinned. People used to tell him that he favored Smokey Robinson pretty hazel eyes and all! When I was younger, classmates would ask if he was white because of his light complexion. Most of the relatives on my father’s side of the family were just as light and some could pass for white. I remember one experience when I was with my grandfather at the supermarket and I ran into a coworker of mine who waved when we walked by. When I saw my coworker at work the next day, he asked me who was that “white man” I was with the day before and when I told him that was my grandfather, he didn’t believe me. As a result of growing around people who were considered “light-skinned” in my eyes, I never saw myself as light because many of my family members had a much lighter complexion than me. It wasn’t until my young adult life that I was placed in the light-skinned/redbone/yellow complexion category. When I would wear long weaves, people would ask me if I was mixed and the guy that I am currently seeing jokingly calls me “light brite” and “yellow cake” because he swears that I am of a lighter complexion than he is.
Being “light” was never something that I felt I should be proud of. My mom as I stated before is brown-skinned and my maternal grandmother had the most beautiful chocolate complexion that I’ve ever seen. Beauty, in my eyes was how you carried yourself and skin color had nothing to do with it. It bothers me that we are still having this conversation in 2015. I feel like we can’t even begin to properly deal with racial discrimination until we address the colorism within our own community. Instead of putting people on pedestals or insulting them if they are light or dark, we need to talk about why we are focusing on skin color in the first place. It all stems from racism as far back as slavery and although it has been 150 years since slavery ended, the pain from the emotional wounds still linger. I know it is easier said than done but we must address the real issues that are more than skin deep.
I think we can all start by learning how to truly love ourselves. It is hard to not let appearance be a reason but we need to focus on being the best version of ourselves by changing what is on the inside. Once we learn to love and embrace our differences and accept others’ differences and be happy with what God has blessed us with, we can grow as individuals and as human beings. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Even though Dr. King was speaking about the judgment outside of the black community, we need to work on the judgment within the black community so we can begin the healing process.
Always remember to love and live luxuriously!