You’re Not Black Enough
As a youngster in grade school, I noticed the behavior of the children I interacted with daily. They were all apart of clicks. These groups weren’t created based on favorite sports or a favorite book; it focused on the shade of their skins. I found that the lighter skin the child was, the more positive attention they received. (Back in Jamaica, this formed the basis of classism, which is an entirely different post). To be accepted you either had to be black or white; there was no in-between, and usually not being black enough was a topic of discussion.
I was smacked in between the very fair-skinned children and the very dark-skinned children. And while it was not something expressed overtly, the silent separation was clear. Fast forward to the days of social media. Nothing much has changed. Nothing except for the brazen few who are bold enough to utter the words, “you are too dark-skinned.”
Hollywood has created this false narrative, defining beauty as, “what’s light is right.” We saw that reflection on television and in our government offices and to make things a little more complicated – it was what many of our men wanted.
Strangely, I noticed that a lighter-skinned black woman, (without the big butt, curves, or breasts) was deemed more attractive than a darker-skinned woman who was voluptuous.
Unfortunately, the consistent back and forth about beauty standards in the black community has put a deep wedge between us. This has caused competition and rivalry for acceptance.
In addition to that, many darker-skinned women have recently come out on social media expressing their disdain with the treatment they receive for being dark-skinned.
In 2017, Sudanese model Nyakim Gatwech was told by an Uber driver in Minneapolis, to bleach her skin, insinuating that her dark skin was undesirable.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, Gia Casey (wife of DJ Envy from Power 105.1 The Breakfast Club), went into great detail of her horrific experience as a lighter-skinned black woman. During an episode of The Casey Crew, the podcast she co-hosts with her husband, Gia shares the unbelievable experience she endured at 16-years-old outside a McDonald’s in Jamaica, Queens. She was slashed several times in her face, and brutally beat up by darker-skinned black girls. All of this because they thought she was acting better than them (by exerting her light skinnedness; I know that’s not a word).
These stories opened my eyes, and I was forced to accept my unconscious bias. I was prejudiced against lighter-skinned black women while considering myself better than darker-skinned women. I won’t justify my previous mindset, but I can honestly say that a lot of my dislike stemmed from the attention they received: straight jealously.
All this to say, the division in the black community between the lighter and darker-skinned women needs to end. We have to learn to love and appreciate each other, regardless of what standards society wants to put in place. Can you imagine if we both came together?
In my Facebook group, The Sister Bond, we recently discussed why it’s so difficult for women to get along. The consensus is that women are sometimes insecure, and tend to compete to show/prove their worth.
Moreover, I assumed that lighter-skinned black women had a more comfortable life. While it would appear that way, they have had their fair share of issues (thank you black-ish and mixed-ish for that lesson). Truthfully, we all go through problems, but this nasty trend of mistreating/judging people based on their shade of Blackness is unacceptable. We need to do better.
To wrap this up, if you, or anyone you know struggle with embracing the skin they’re in; read my blog post The Taboo Behind Therapy and click this link. It will take you to a site that will help you find the best therapist in your area. You should know by now that I promote therapy 1000%.
Until next time, cherish each other, embrace your imperfections, and love your blackness regardless of the shade you were blessed with.