Friday, December 9, 2011

Loving The Skin I'm In!

I was reading one of my favorite hair blogs some time last week, and I stumbled upon a thread written by a fellow reader who asked the question, "Do You Love Your Skin Tone?"  My curiosity was peaked so I decided to glance at the responses to the question.  The original poster painted the scenario and wrote that she had a conversation with a young Sudanese woman who was dealing with a complex about her skin tone.  The OP raved about how beautiful and flawless her chocolate skin was and she had never seen such radiance. She compared her to the likes of supermodel, Alek Wek (who I think is breathtaking). Unfortunately, the young woman did not see the same beauty.  The OP went on to say that the Sudanese woman was considering skin bleaching alternatives to lighten and brighten her complexion.  Needless to say, she was appalled and felt sadness for the woman, because she truly admired the beauty in her complexion.

That post really broke my heart after reading it.  There were so many responses and I began to read the stories of others who were also dealing or have dealt with a similar issue.  I also posted my response and with much confidence I said, "I love my skin tone!  I wouldn't trade it for anything."  If only we ALL felt the same way. 

Colorism has been a hard pill to swallow for most Africans and African Americans.  It stems from years of oppression from colonialism, slavery, the divisive Uncle Tom, Jim Crow, Civil Rights eras, and has trickled down to our newest generation today.  The images the media portrays of black women are not always the most positive.  The standard of beauty is still and always has been of the European aesthetic for as long as I can remember.  But despite what the so-called "standard" says, it does not have to be the standard for us as individuals.  It's high time we stop allowing someone else to tell us what is beautiful, acceptable, or desirable.  It is a draining and exhausting, not to mention, depressing topic of discussion that really must die.  Unfortunately, we cannot seem to let it.

Let me tell you something about me!  I'm a smooth, rich Godiva chocolate hued black woman.  My skin exudes a radiance that even the sun can appreciate!  I come from a Ghanaian background and we were raised to love everything about ourselves, especially our culture. I never felt my skin tone was an issue growing up.  I had mostly white friends in my younger years and not once did I feel inferior to them because I was "too dark".  It was not until I went to middle school (6-8 grade) when I noticed just how major the colorism issue truly was among other black kids.  The real issued lied with them, not with me.  I was not exactly ridiculed or bullied for being dark-skinned, but I did receive the occasional ignorant, hurtful comments from some kids.  The infamous, "you're so black" joke was all too common growing up.  So much so that I just became numb to it after so long.  However,  a funny thing happened my 7th grade year.  I became the only black cheerleader in my class that year.  Oddly enough, that was the game changer for me.  I suddenly became the face of my school among my black peers.  I was representing them on a platform where we were very underrepresented and it completely changed their whole perception of this "cute-for-a-dark-skinned-girl" ideology.  I was a dark-skinned girl who had confidence, guts, and I was not afraid to speak my mind or stand out in the crowd.  I dressed nicely, my hair was always done, I was assertive.  I had strength.  I had thick skin and that all came in time.  That was my only "in your face" experience with colorism.  As an adult,  I'm way more appreciated and admired by both men and women.  I've never felt sexier or more beautiful and my skin tone is the icing on the cake!

So dolls, the beauty standard is so insignificant and so incredibly jaded.  Who gives two flying *%$#$ about what the world says about true beauty.  Beauty is skin deep, indeed, but knowing and believing you are beautiful must start with you.  Mom and Dad most likely will be the first ones to tell you how beautiful you are, but when someone or the media goes against what you have always known to be true, do not entertain it.  You should know who your are and WHOSE you are.  Society has nothing on what God says.  Love the skin you're in!  You are naturally beautiful!  Peace.

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