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What I Would Tell my Younger Self about Colorism

October 28, 2019

​1. Don’t join in when the other kids are taunting dark-skinned children

This is something that you will regret when you’re old enough to realize how much colorism takes a toll on the psyche of black people, especially the children. At the time you will view it as innocuous taunting, staple of the childhood experience since children are cruel about everything.

However, as you mature, you will see the product of that taunting in real time manifested in the skin bleaching, the self hate, the denigration of your image in both the mass media and the black media. You’ll begin to realize that even though your skin-tone and looks weren’t the subject this time those kids probably felt the same way about how you looked.You just got lucky

 

2. Go where you are celebrated because you WILL be celebrated where you are wanted

Girl, you will spend so much of your childhood and young adult life wishing that you could change your tightly coiled, kinky hair to a looser curl, or even straight. Spend hours in the mirror trying to imagine what you would look like with a smaller, sharper nose and lighter skin; only to find out there are people, men and women alike who adore my dark brown skin and unambiguous features even envy it.

You will smile when your first lover expresses how cute he thinks your nose is, or how much he loves putting his hands in your fro. You’ll even give off a smirk when your white friend sighs at how much they wish they could rock the same styles as you, or are jealous at how good and non sun-burnt you look after being outside all day. You’ll kick yourself for even questioning your unique beauty and wonder how you could be so stupid for ever wanting to look like anyone other than yourself. It’s okay, better late than never.

3.You don’t have to live up to the stigma of your skin tone. You are who you choose to be

My favorite line, from one of my favorite childhood movies, Iron Giant. It is a classic story of a being, this time a robotic one, defying the way the world perceived him because of how he looked and doing what was in his heart. I wish I could tell my adolescent and teenage self that just because the world looks at you and sees you as masculine, un-pretty and less than human, doesn’t mean you have to abide by those standards.

You will waste so much of your youth living up to stereotypes that don’t agree with your core because you think that you aren’t entitled to live a certain way. You will hold a lot of anger because what you project to the world, isn’t a reflection of your true feelings but a projection of the world’s feelings of you onto you.

If I could round up every little black girl and put her under my tutelage, the most important thing i’d want her to know that she matters, she is loved, and she is not alone.

 Liv is a new blogger for DDS Magazine. She graduated University in 2018, with a degree in History & English Lit and in her free time is an avid creative writer, History & Fashion enthusiast, as well as a cat-mom to three kittens. When she is not creating, she works at a children's non-profit and enjoys spending her weekends doing Pilates, hiking, shopping and indulging in Sci-fi novels.   

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