Growing up dark skin? A topic that requires a lot of discussion, an issue that carries a lot of weight. Growing up dark skin is a battle. The challenges faced are enough to break anyone, but they only made me stronger. Racism, colorism, self hate, insecurities, harsh, so-called compliments, being belittled and kept in the background.
Before I discuss my experience, I would love to say how important it is as black men and women to love ourselves. Any insecurities or fears we feel, we pass down to our children, younger siblings, cousins or anyone who looks up to us.
With that being said, lets jump right in!
To begin, colorism is discrimination based on skin color. It's a form of prejudice based on the social meanings of skin color. Within the black community, colorism is a big issue. Colorism within African-American women is an even bigger issue. The relationship between skin complexion and social standards; meanings, affect the lives of many black women and men everyday. Today we are going to focus on the women.
African-American, and/or black women, are divided based on skin color. Light skin versus dark skin, and it starts at a young age. Light skin women being seen as more attractive than the dark skin woman based on social means. This is where colorism comes to play.
And along with this comes insecurities. I was VERY insecure. I hated my skin. I didn't see any worth in my complexion. I felt worthless. I felt ugly. I felt inferior to the light skin woman, or girl. I felt like a different breed of black, the mutt.
Growing up dark skin I felt like I didn't belong. I was kept in the background. Light skin women didn't want to hang around me and if they did, they only did it so it could draw more attention to themselves. I was the ugly friend, the one that people only communicated with to get close to the "hot" friends. Growing up dark skin, I was left in the background when it came to guys. I was never found attractive. I was overlooked. There was never anyone who took the time out to even look at me. The ONLY thing they saw was my skin, and the social standards of my complexion is NO!
Don't get me wrong, every now and then there was someone willing to look at me, to compliment me in the most harsh way, to only make me feel worst.
'YOU ARE SO PRETTY FOR A DARK SKIN GIRL"
"OH, YOU'RE ACTUALLY NOT UGLY"
"YOU KINDA PRETTY"
"YOUR SKIN IS NICE, I JUST COULDN'T BE THAT COLOR'
"YOU'RE SO BOLD TO WEAR THAT"
"GIRL THAT COLOR DOESN'T GO WELL ON DARK SKIN"
"DARK SKIN IS NOT THAT UGLY, YOU CUTE IG"
And boys, those boys, those ignorant black boys. The ones who don't see any worth in black women, at least not the dark skin women of course, those are the ones. Those are the ones that are willing to have sex with a dark skin girl and belittle her in front of his friends the next day. That's what I grew up knowing as a dark skin female. That a dark skin girl is only good enough for sex, but the light skin woman is the trophy.
And the truth about growing up dark skin is that it's the same as growing up light skin, except a little different.
Lets think back to Kodak black and his commentary on light skin and dark skin women. His preference is light skin women because he said they are easier to break down and the dark skin woman is too rough, and that is EXACTLY what it is.
Dark skin women are held at a lower social standard when it comes to beauty. They are found less attractive, and they battle insecurities at a younger age than the light skin female. I am not dismissing that lighter women or girls can't have insecurities, they can. What I'm saying is, dark skin girls experience trauma based on their skin color very young. They experience the self-hatred of dark skin, or just self-hatred in general. They learn through experience the worth of their skin. When you're young, you're more naive and easily influenced. Being the ugly duckling, the shadow, the background, you get excited to have someone show you just a little attention. Only for that attention to just be a lie. Only for that attention only to make you feel worse about yourself. Only for that attention to leave you wondering what is so wrong with you. And that is what I dealt with as a young, dark skin girl. I had to learn to love me, and dark women, they learn to love themselves and be confident, and that's what makes them "rough". That's what makes them not as easy to break down. They have thicker skin, and they have no choice but to. The lighter skin women are held at a higher social standard when it comes to beauty. Men are more attracted, they are found more beautiful. At a young age, in my opinion, they deal with less insecurities until they get older. As said before, when you're young, you're more naive. And lighter women/girls get lots of attention growing up so it takes a while for them to realize that little boys, and men, only want to do the same thing to them that they want to do to dark skin women. The only difference is that they are more acceptable, they are more open about it. The only difference is that he won't belittle her in front of his friends. He won't keep her a secret. It's okay for a man to want to have sex with a lighter woman and be open about it because he won't be frowned upon. And when these lighter women get older, they go through what darker women went through young. They begin to acquire a thicker skin. They begin to learn their worth. They start to notice that men want them based on what they look like and not who they are. They begin to love themselves.
And the moral of growing up dark skin is to LOVE YOURSELF. When I started to love myself, the world opened up around me. I was no longer brainwashed. I stopped seeing light skin, brown skin and dark skin. I only saw skin, I only saw women. It was no longer a competition. It was no longer about who was the best. Every woman IS a queen.
And a queen is NOT a queen because she is better than the women around her, a queen IS a queen because she uplifts every woman around her.
It's not about skin.
When other races see us, they laugh. They laugh at how our race is divided, and how we do it ourselves. When they see us, they ONLY see black. They don't see shades. We are who we are, and we have to learn to come together and love each other.