Written by Evelyn Kembe
I grew up always trying to impress others. I grew up not wanting to be alone. But I was alone.
Growing up black, I went through the difficulty of trying to appreciate the skin color my maker gave me and loving myself. Going through racism wasn’t the deal, it was going through colorism.
Colorism, as described in the documentary, Dark Girls, is prejudice or discrimination because of one’s skin tone – usually by one’s own race. Even now, being halfway through highschool, you’d think I’d be over the colorism of my race and other races, I’m not. Just like so many other individuals all over the world, I am mad because I can’t feel comfortable in my own skin!
I listen to stories my friends tell about themselves and other people who had dark skin getting teased and made fun of, cyber bullied, beat up. I remember even hearing heart breaking stories of people getting raped and killed. And if they weren’t killed, committed suicide. The effect we all have on each other is heavy when its negative.
In the documentary, a very young girl of color confessed she didn’t like being called “black” because of everything that came with it – the racism, the colorism, the bullying, the stereotypes, and so on. This was basically everything everything that I’ve gone through, and still go through.
The whole concept of dark skinned people being “monsters”, “thieves”, “inhuman”, and “dirty” – as stated in Dark Girls – comes from how you are taught, and was originated from slave owner. And today, as the documentary states, it is something we grow up believing.
For men and women of dark skin, that is incredibly difficult and heart breaking to not feel appreciated, let alone beautiful.
By watching the documentary, I learned that blindly, as a kid watching Disney, we see the darker characters portraying evil souls, and the lighter characters as a beauty.
Director and comedian, Michael Colyar, stated in an interview for Black Girls, how white is what we wear to weddings, and black, to funerals. He also talked about light resembling the day which is beautiful, while black resembles a night which is sinister and negative.
In his example, he says that this is how the idea of dark skin versus light skin is unvailed. Because light skin is beauty and dark skin is not [as society says].
Colyar later talked about how much he enjoyed viewing the beauty of incredibly dark skin on his trip to Africa. “I got there and I saw myself! I saw me, walking all over the place. Except, I mean, real black, blue black, double black. I ain’t never seen black so black. It made ink look light! Its was black, kinda black. You know?” He described. “But fabulous! I was so blown away by the beauty of this black skin.
So I’m sometimes confused when I hear women who have dark skin who tell their stories about how their hearts were broken when they were told they were ugly because they were black; because for me, its about whether you accept it or not.” This was an eye opener for me.
This entire time, I have been blinded by the words of those who have discourages me all this time. It took me a while to realize that I am actually beautiful and so are all the women who haven’t been treated like they were. I have realized that we are not worthless because we mean something to the world, and that goes for every skin type, race, color, and ethnicity. I learned over time how proud I am to be what I am and who I am, and that’s all there is to it.