Martin Luther King Jr. said it bestWho do we blame for the ignorance that goes on within today’s society? We were raised in times where being a certain complexion wasn’t the best thing, even though there was little option unless you were aborted or born into another race/ethnicity. So what do you do when you have no control over your own skin tone? Bleach yourself lighter? How about tanning? Shame yourself? What are the options? I have one. Embrace it.
Embrace everything there is about being whatever ethnicity you are. It’s one thing to be ignorant subconsciously, meaning you are not aware of what you may be doing or saying. But it’s another when you know and intend to say or do things with hopes of making the other feel bad or down.
So as a black woman, I will point out a few things that people of my ethnicity go through and the sad part is, sometimes it is by others of the same race. This is meant to awaken your mind and help you realize, just because you share the same background, does not give you the free pass to insult anyone else, regardless of their background.
“You’re pretty to be dark-skinned.”
A lot of women with dark complexions have probably heard this throughout their lives and just may still hear it during their adulthood. Is this suppose to be a form of a compliment? We are born with different levels of melanin which plays a role in the lightness or darkness of one’s skin tone. Women who contain high levels, are found to be darker than those who may have lower levels of melanin. Does this make them less beautiful? Of course not. So for a dark skin woman to be shockingly “beautiful,” this could definitely be taken in an offensive manner, more than it would as a general compliment.
2. “Why do you talk like you’re white? / You sound white.”
And how exactly does one sound, white? By this, I assume when someone says this, they’re confused as to why your dialect is of proper English. This is in no way a positive statement because then it goes on to make you wonder, just what were your expectations of my intellect/dialogue? Did you pre-judge based on my ethnic background of the color of my skin? Beware – you never know who you may be speaking to on the other end of the phone. Proper dialect and pronunciation has no color to it. The usage of proper grammar helps others comprehend what it is that being relayed without the need to repeat yourself over and over. There’s nothing strange about it regardless of the person’s race.
3. “All light complexioned individuals reproduce beautiful babies.”
Regardless of whether your skin tone is fair, medium or dark, the beauty in your child should not be based on this. All children are beautiful in their own way. There are some guys who are only interested in reproducing with women of a light complexion or even race but not their own. DNA never truly provides parents with a guaranteed outcome. You never really know what you may be capable of breeding with two different individuals.
4. “You must be mixed because you have that good hair.”
Really? I hear this a lot when it comes to the hair texture. People automatically assume that every black woman has super coarse hair and must wear waves in shame of their natural beauty. This is not the case and should never be an assumption. Not every black woman will have the same hair type regardless of their nationality. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration including the treatment, individual’s health as well as genetics.
To summarize everything up, do not pass judgement on someone for something they have no control over. Instead, help them embrace it and build strength from it. That person could just end up being our next President.
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