Dark Girls-- Very Long

For those of you who do not understand the term "colorism," it is a practice and worldview based on the bias of color tones. As a result of whiteness and the European aesthetic being propagated as the standard of beauty, many cultures and peoples perpetuate generations of bodily and psychological damage of attempting to obtain these phenotypes as much as possible. Source {One of my favorite blogs}

 My mother has this print in her dressing room

"You have three daughters? Oh okay so she's yours too?" These were the words an Afro-Caribbean woman asked my mother about me when she met my sisters and I. She didn't comprehend that yes this dark brown child was produced by a light brown woman. I take that back, she understood it she just figured I had a different Daddy and was the step-child. Nothing hurts more than having your own kind disregard, disrespect, and bad mouth you. Growing up in Baltimore and attending magnet schools I was used to the diversity of cultures and skin tones. While in elementary school I was ridiculed constantly about my complexion. The viciousness and cruel words were most often from my Black male peers.  I can remember vividly lying on my bed in tears relaying my school day to my mother. 


I am very thankful for my mother. When I would come home teary and depressed she would share stories of her childhood growing up in Jamaica. Although she is not dark-skinned she was teased and ridiculed about her short, course hair texture and being poor. They would call her "picky-picky head". Her stories and our conversations about skin-color and hair texture are what helped to shape me into the confident woman I am today {having a Daddy that emphasized the importance of self-love was invaluable as well}. She always told me that people who make fun of others do so because they have hang-ups about themselves. Self-hate is a bitch, and can be a monkey on your back riding you to say and do things that are counterproductive and hateful.  


Within the Black and Latino community, we celebrate having light eyes, straight hair, and fair skin ALL THE DAMN TIME. To have all three of these physical features is the ultimate prize. Funny . . . many of the people I've met with these traits are not so sure of themselves and often have major character flaws. Remember, the prettiest people do the ugliest things.


Before Lil' D was born I would fantasize about a little baby with my husband's whiskey colored eyes, his thick eyebrows and long lashes, and my chocolate complexion. In reality I was blessed with an almondy baby {yes almondy is a word according to Martinthat is the perfect blend of D and myself. Because I was bombarded with people guesstimating the looks of my unborn baby it was something that was on my mind frequently. Once she arrived I heard, "Wow she's lighter than I thought" or "She's got to get darker than this", or "Look at the top of her ear, she is going to be real brown". REALLY! Let's talk about the fact that her mother delivered a healthy baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes. I didn't post pictures of her on Facebook purposely. I was amazed at the number of people who messaged me for a picture of my child. Just saying she favors her dad was not enough. Listening to the comments of others I realized I have to work overtime to teach my children to over look skin-color and not prejudge based on physical attributes. I know it will be especially hard in a world that idolizes all things light, bright, and damn near white. Giving them the knowledge to create their own standards of beauty will be the mission.


I think about Lil' Wayne's comment on brown skinned girls and I cringe.

"My daughter is the first and last dark skin child I’m having. The rest of my baby moms [are] light skinned chicks. I even got an Asian baby moms to make sure I have a daughter with good hair. Too bad we had a son.”

How does he expect his oldest daughter to feel about herself when the first man in her life doesn't find her chestnut skin beautiful, but flawed. He better hope she doesn't grow up and have the Lil' Kim syndrome. Does he love his mother? He's an ignorant ass, but what's sad is that many people of color feel this way. 


Carol's Daughter is the brainchild of a beautiful chocolate sister, Carol Price. Whyare their new brand ambassadors Cassie, Solange Knowles, and Selita Ebanks? I mean really. . . just continue to perpetuate the stereotype that "light is right". Its a shame and I'm sure the company's executives will have a well fabricated excuse as to why three woman, 2 of mixed heritage, are representing their products.

What's a chocolate girl to do to get some play? I love Italian's Vogue's effort to have a "Black" issue {check it here}. It is a sad state of affairs.

Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.




After watching this and reflecting I began to think about the unconscious decisions I've made as a result of the prejudice directed towards me because of my skin color. Things like who I chose to marry, the colors I love to wear, even how I wear my hair. I once read a book about a woman wanting "couture babies". She meant her children being not just "regular" black, but bi-racial. She wanted children with light-skin, long hair, and non-negroid features. This is not me, even though many people think this is my mentality. When people were introduced to my husband, especially black woman they would often tell me things like, "Oh your children are going to be so cute." Really?! Why? Because my husband is Latino, well let me get more specific he is non-Black Latino. I wonder if he was my complexion with my hair texture if they would feel my children would be so attractive. I know the answer to that already, nope!


When I was very young I would tell my parents I was marrying a Puerto Rican. I don't know why I had a fixation with this ethnic group. At that time I wasn't able to distinguish between the various ethnicities in the Latino culture. I just knew that a Puerto Rican man was the one for me. I guess I was fascinated with their olive skin, wavy hair, and their Spanglish accented speech.  When I think about it today I know it goes deeper than this. Growing up and being teased relentlessly by African-American boys truly scarred me. 


Why is it that when many Black men "make it' his preference in a wife is a fair skinned woman?

Why is it okay for white people, like Snooki, to tan themselves to the point of cancer?

Why do Black music entertainers caste only "exotic" fair skin women for their videos?

What's up with this "long hair don't care" bullshit?

Why do you feel telling me I'm pretty for a dark girl is a compliment?


White supremacy you won.  The Willie Lynch mentality you won. Mission accomplish.


Bottom line this is what Lil' D will be taught...

Just because you have an "exotic" complexion {one of D's co-worker's description} and your hair is not course don't think you get a pass. A pass to be elitist and pretentious. BEING WELL LIKED AND HUMBLE are better traits to have than feeling special because you are light-skinned with long hair. 


We all are victims of this vicious cycle. Shit I have blonde highlights right now and I prefer straight hair to my natural curly texture. I sometimes feel I will be fighting an uphill battle. Teaching Lil' D to love herself and celebrate her African features {people are dying to get them!} is the key. It's going to be hard becuase I even have to check her father at times.



Beautiful Shades of Black