Sunday, March 16, 2008

Why Are We Still On This?

One of my supreme pet peeves is having someone tell me that I'm pretty- to be dark skinned. I absolutely hate hearing that. It's really prickling to hear it from a Black man. Especially when he's a couple shades lighter or darker than you. It would be so much better to simply say: "You're pretty." What's so hard about plainly telling someone who happens to be of a darker complexion that they are beautiful without any of the "even though"s or the "although"s.

A friend of mine, super Afrocentric, follower of Islam, I like him a lot- but today, he got a little bit tipsy and he called himself complimenting me with that. I was almost mortified but Jarvis always tells me not to let that stupid shit bother me (he's my shade). I was annoyed, but I can't call our friendship off because of that. It's sad but the truth is: that mess is deep rooted in our culture, it started in slavery times! If I cut everyone off that thought like that, I'd probably have three friends/associates.

He was like, most dark skinned girls that he meets: they are either self conscious about their skin tone or they hate light skinned girls. At that point I looked at him like, "Go on..." But I still didn't get why he would think that his compliment was well worded. The white girl he said it in front of looked puzzled. Maybe she didn't think that went on within our race- I dunno.

I can't speak for every dark skinned girl, but I know that growing up in NY City, around Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Columbians, Asians, white kids and light skinned Black kids; I never felt like I hated them because they were lighter than me. I never felt anything about my dark skin. I just knew that it was mine, I never wanted to change it. Never thought I'd be "better" if I was lighter. Most of my family is dark skinned with dark eyes. I never felt like I needed to "make up" for my dark skin with aqua green contacts.

It's crazy, but it wasn't until I moved out here to Georgia where I felt like I was "less than" because of my complexion. I went through my little culture shock when we first moved like, "Damn, am I ugly? Were all the boys back home lying to me when they said I was beautiful?" After a while, I got my swagger back and just said "Eff it. I know I'm fly. They're just not up on it yet. Ha!"

I think within ourselves that skin tone shit is deep- deeper than anyone wants to admit. That's why you got females in the Carribean and Africa bleaching their pretty dark skin to high yellow. That's why so many talk about light skinned friends and relatives with pride and what not. Bragging on how light their eyes may be. I don't think that the "hate" that my friend spoke of came from nowhere, I believe that it's obviously a resentment of the light skinned girl rather than outright hate. Our own people made it that way. Perpetuating stereotypes.

Jarvis says that in some circles, the girl could be "ugly" as sin, but if she's light skinned she's good. Darker girls don't get a pass with that. After years and years of going through that, some girls are going to have a effed up attitude about the subject, like they hate light skinned girls. Some light skinned girls are going to see that they have that advantage (in certain circles) and they are going to behave as if they're privileged, or better. Of course, that's what they've been hearing their whole lives, from almost everyone. Why not take advantage?

Now I'm preaching. So I'm ending here. My final word is this though: Jarvis and I are both dark. Keiko came out brown skinned. I think she's gorgeous- the prettiest baby in the world, but I'll be damned if I let her think that it's because she's lighter than...