After watching this episode on Love and Hip-Hop Miami, I shared the clip to one of my social media accounts, honestly because I wanted to commend the women for even having such an honest and open conversation with one another. In doing so one of my friends wrote me and stated how she could relate to Tip, the lighter girl who stated that she feels like she has to prove that she is black by the way she speaks or through fighting, because of everyone tries to intimidate you based on the color of your skin. I unfortunately I know that to be true because I have been in situations where women didn’t try me but would be more aggressive with one of my lighter complexion friends. On the contrary though my skin is seen as a threat, I remember having countless of conversations with my friends who always managed to get out of tickets from the police versus my experiences of getting a ticket and being handled with more of a non-physical but definitely aggressive verbal force.
I also had a candid conversation with Rashad about colorism from my lens as a dark-skinned woman and how I personally believe that dark skin men are praise and the preferred skin tone. He stated, “wait a minute it hasn’t not always been that way and names like midnight and other derogatory names were being spewed out from the mouths of other black kids. He talked about the intimidation that people feel because of the color of his skin. We also discussed how dark complexion students are more likely to get suspended or even labeled with a disability in comparison to their lighter counterparts, so in other words he clearly let me know my perspective was jaded.
So, after both conversations it really had me thinking about how do we break another cycle of division that was created over 400 hundred years ago? (I cannot see a problem and just sit on it).
Whenever I’m face with a problem I have to start with the origin. What is colorism
Colorism categorized by the system of privilege and discrimination based on the degree of lightness in the color of a person’s completion. What it looks like is showing prejudice, stereotyping, and perceptions of beauty among members of the same racial group, whereby light skin is more highly valued than dark skin.”
In order to establish control and dominion, division had to be implemented. Light skin slaves were granted more privileges than their dark-skinned slaves. Light-skinned slaves were considered more intelligent and more capable, granting them better “opportunities than their dark skin counterparts”. We are still dealing with the aftermath of this today.
In my last blog post I addressed the role of the black family and how it will serve in our advancement towards racial equity and financial/ emotional legacies. Now how do we have address colorism and the effects that it has not only on our mental health but the black community as a whole.
Interestingly enough there isn’t much research from a therapeutic perspective however I’ll give my professional opinion. Currently working as a school counselor and the implementation of guidance lessons, I think social emotional curriculum should be centered around not only teaching our black boys and girls to appreciate their own skin, but learn to love and appreciate all of our shades and textures of our hair. Have a library of books and film that also highlights our differences and teaches an appreciation for who we are minus the divison of one being better than the other.
For adults, we have to continue to have transparent conversations about colorism and debunk our myths. I am able to see through lens of my light skin friends with finer hair texture, or from a dark skin with pretty white teeth, or even the light skin guy who now may feel undesired, lets hear one another, not take away from each other’s spirit or experiences but lift each other up.
Of course, counseling can help as well, incorporating cognitive behavioral techniques. The main goal will be to show how our perception has been distorted and teaching us new skills to redesign that perception as it relates to colorism and the role it plays with your mental health.
Growing up as a young girl with deep melanin skin, my mom had conversations as early as four years old. I remember watching Chili from TLC on tv and crying to my mom that I felt like dark skin women were only beautiful if they had nice curly long hair. I believe my mom was intentional about affirming me. Now I have my own teenage daughter and I plan on having more chocolate babies. The work starts in our home and from there let’s build one another up and debunk the systematic restraints that they have used to shackle our people. Let’s continue to do the work.
Your Sista On the Sofa,