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Aug 12, 2009

"She's Pretty for a Dark-Skinned Girl"

I wonder how many of you have heard this saying? I know I have heard this plenty of times, one time sticks out in my mind specifically. I was 11 years old, and my mother's friend was over at the time. She was mixed, and she cupped my face into her hand and said "You know what Tosh? You are pretty for a dark-skinned girl." I grinned from ear to ear, but my mother didn't she knew that was not a compliment and told me to stop smiling because that wasn't a compliment and she chastised the women as well.

I ran across the following on one of my favorite celebrity gossip blog, Necole Bitchie. It was a blog written by Tameka Foster-Raymond, Usher's soon to be ex-wife. In the post she goes on record about how she has had to deal with harsh criticism for being, a dark-skinned woman. I know I have heard nothing but bad, when anyone speaks of her. Its disheartning for me to believe that people are still dividing us because of our complexions. I hope she heals from all that she went through and can find peace and serenity.

I am a dark-skinned African American woman with features that reflect my ancestry. Debates regarding Light vs. Dark and other biases have plagued our race for years and continues to impact millions of Black women. The deeply rooted intra-racial contempt that lies beneath this inane "compliment" is the reason I've chosen to spark dialogue surrounding the topic of self-hatred in our culture. It saturates every aspect of our lives, dominating the perspectives of our generation as a whole. We culturally are so influential, at times inadvertently, that we affect all with the words we utter and the images we portray. It lends to the theory of systemic racism. I'm authoring this piece because I'm miffed by this reality and would like to share my views on these subjects.

Often dark-skinned women are considered mean, domineering and standoffish and it was these very labels that followed Michelle Obama during the campaign for her husband’s presidency and which she has had to work tirelessly to combat. I was appalled when I heard a Black woman refer to Michelle Obama as unattractive. The conversation turned into why President Obama picked her as his mate. No one in the witch-hunt made reference to the possibility that Michelle Obama was smart, funny, caring, a good person, highly accomplished or brilliant. Nor did they mention that she previously was President Obama’s supervisor. If she were fair skinned, petite with long straight or wavy hair, would the same opinions be linked to her? I seriously doubt it. It is believed that for the dark skinned, dreams are less obtainable.

In fact, I have read similar comments about myself that I am “dark, aggressive, bossy and bitchy.” It has been stated that my husband should have been with a “younger, more beautiful” woman. Astoundingly, the majority of the remarks come from African-American women and are mimicked by others. Sadly enough, I don’t know nor have I met 99% of those making these assertions. Funny, how we can judge another without having personally seen, interacted with or experienced a person’s character.

As I began to delve into further research on this topic, and the more I read, I concluded that many of our people do not like what they see in the mirror. Seeing ones own reflection in another person and then to dissect it in an effort to destroy can only be the product of self-loathing. Why don’t we congratulate as opposed to hate?

Reading magazines, social media sites, watching our music videos, and television shows feed our appetites for all things ‘beauty”. Rarely, however do I see depictions of grace and elegance in the form of dark complexioned women. I Googled one of the more ethnic models, Alek Wek and I was saddened by the tone of what the bloggers wrote in reference to her complexion, features and hair texture. Ms. Wek’s escape from Sudan, her journey, philanthropy, and groundbreaking success as a supermodel in America is not only beautiful, but it displays her tenacity and character. African-Americans seemed to have lost their eye for character.

On her plastic sugery tragedy:

I too have fallen prey, while on vacation in Brazil I decided to undergo tummy lipo-surgery. After having an allergic reaction to the anesthesia, I went into cardiac arrest before the procedure ever began. I nearly lost my life over something as superficial as having a flatter mid-section and trying to adapt to society’s traditional definition of beauty. As I nursed my psychological wounds, I began to realize that trying to live up to the prototypes of external beauty paled in comparison to the fact that I have undergone labor, subsequently being blessed to raise five handsome, smart, healthy, intuitive, and happy children. I emerged from my ordeal realizing that my body is an amazing vessel that has given birth to life and that being healthy is what’s important and nothing more. [Read the entire article here].

*Taken from*

Stay Blessed & Happy Locing!


new2locs said...

It's really sad, slavery ended 400 years ago yet we still carry the baggage from it.

Writing Addict said...

It just makes u wonder if we are still carrying baggage from slavery...what are we passing on to our children? Lawd its so very sad that stuff like this still exists