I’m drained by the lies we tell to be more “accepted” by people.
I see all these beautiful pictures of Black women with perfect skin tones like Alek Wek (The world-famous British-Sudanese model) and I marvel at her magnificence. Her skin colour looks so perfect that it seems as if all her pictures have been reworked.
Whilst editing is part of the fashion world to clear “imperfections” like a blemish, in a model’s face, the darkness of her skin is immediately evident and I sincerely hope, not lightened in any way. Her fame sets her above the people we meet in our day to day life.
The “problem” with Black women, who have skin tones like Alek Wek and Grace Jones, is that it is celebrated from afar. It is fine to scream “Black is beautiful,” when it pertains to Black men, but women with very dark skin tones are not as hastily chosen when compared to the lighter tones of women like Halle Berry.
As Black people, we are guilty of what we accuse white people of.
The bias of colourism runs deep in our veins, particularly with our own people. Kind of like the “I like them Black but not THAT Black,” mentality.
We celebrate Black as beautiful when they are celebrities but not when they are “the girl living next door.” And if this is indeed the attitude within our Black and Brown communities then in my opinion “Black is not beautiful,” because the darker skin toned woman is not treated in the same way the lighter skin toned one.
The “Big, Strong, Beautiful, Black man,” is hurriedly accepted and loved by women from all races, yet the woman is not. Let’s be very honest here, racism has affected all of us, (not only white people) in our views and choices of life partners when we rush to propose to the “lighter-skinned” woman but the darker one is left standing even if she is more beautiful. It is as if she is almost “overlooked,” a kind of “invisibility” within our communities.
How do we preach change when we do not practice what we preach?
Are we still subconsciously being influenced by the “fair maiden” stories and therefore do not have these melanin-rich women on our radar?
Do we even know to question ourselves and interrogate our subconscious or do we meekly accept what society preaches at every turn?
Yes, we all have a “type” of person that we are attracted to but how much of this has to do with the choices we make only once we have delved deep into our subconscious minds and dissected the biases we have all grown up with?
It’s sheer hypocrisy when we are outraged when white men marry the Black women who are “left” by the wayside, because of our internalized racism/bias.
It’s time that Black and Brown men understood the role they perpetuate by choosing Black women as partners who are not as “black” as the women mentioned here (unless they are famous) and that we all have a responsibility to rid ourselves of the colourism we have been brought up with.
Our failure to do this means that ultimately “Black is NOT beautiful” when it doesn’t grace the pages of a glamorous magazine.