Dark skin, a God given shade, or anathema (curse)? The search for the answer to this question burdened me greatly, to the point that I decided to interview dark skin girls in my school, which is located in Bronx, NY. “What’s the hardest thing about being dark skin?” I never really asked myself this question, of course I’ve discussed similar topics with friends and family, however I never really considered it. For those who do not know, “dark skin” females are defined as women who are darker than a store bought paper bag. Within the black race, some like to classify their skin tones into these categories, “light skin, dark skin, and some, not all, brown skin. I questioned girls who considers themselves to be dark skin, and some of their answers were astonishing. “What’s the hardest thing about being dark skin? For me myself, it’s not hard being dark skin, it’s how people view being dark skin. People treat being “dark skin” as being some kind of disease, people don’t like to be dark skin at all. It’s like the way people see you, and how people view you as being dark skin.” – Ivory “People treat dark skin as being some kind of disease…” This line sparked even more questions, do people really see being dark skin as some kind of disease, as a loss, misfortune? I found when researching these questions that it isn’t only Black (African american, African, and Caribbean) people that struggle with this internalized racism, but it is also found in a lot of other cultures as well, for instance the Indian culture. Many dark skin Indians say that they have faced many different types of colorism, or prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. ” Unfortunately, this diversity in skin color has created a hierarchy of beauty – a hierarchy that tells you that the light-skinned people are the epitome of beauty, while the dark-skinned people fall at the bottom.” – R.Nithya (see article here: http://everydayfeminism.com/2014/06/dark-skinned-in-india/ ) Does that sound familiar? Indian actress Nandita Das, spoke on the struggles of being a dark skin female in the Bollywood industry, “All the articles about me begin with ‘the dark and dusky actress’ because being dark is considered such an aberration”. So we can see that colorism not only lies within the black community, but in a lot of different cultures. Can this problem be fixed? Could there possibly be a time where dark skin females aren’t only portrayed as the ugly ones but possibly found as being beautiful. Dark skin females need to ignore the world’s hatred, and embrace their God given gift, their beauty, Black is beautiful, and once we can learn to love ourselves and the way we look, we can truly and honestly love others the same.
“I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin, I got teased and taunted about my night-shaded skin. And my one prayer to God, the miracle worker, was that I would wake up lighter-skinned. And every day I experienced the same disappointment of being just as dark as I had been the day before. I tried to negotiate with God: I told him I would stop stealing sugar cubes at night if he gave me what I wanted; I would listen to my mother’s every word and never lose my school sweater again if he just made me a little lighter.” – Lupita Nyong’O
Lupita was inspired by Alek Wek, a dark skin celebrated model who was on every magazine cover and famed runways, this inspired her to embrace her own dark skin beauty, because seeing Alek Wek was like a reflection of herself. Lupita is inspiring young females today the same way:
“When Lupita came out, it made me feel so much better about my skin, I no longer felt ashamed of my skin, if she can be seen as beautiful than I can too.”- Ivory
You are beautiful, despite the tone of your skin, real beauty lies within your heart, once you take hold of that, you will truly have self love, and it’s a great feeling.