Saturday, December 23, 2006

Choosing Black

Shit like this hurts my heart.

It's damn near 2007 and we STILL live with skin complexion and hair complexes.

But the part involving the kids?? That got me. I started choking up. My sister was a part of a study like that on ABC when she was in pre-school. She chose the white doll too.

It really makes me sad to know that these children share the same views as people my age and older. We hate our hair. We hate our skin. We hate our ignorance. We hate our state of being. We make it "okay" by doing things to it to make it more acceptable to others, but at the end of the day, icing on top of mud doesn't make cake.

I really, really hate this. I remember the different things people would say to me as I altered my physical presentation throughout the years. When I grew out my perm in '97, you would've thought I was a leper. I'd hear stuff like "Ooh girl, you need Jesus!" (That's Southern ignorant speak for "Your hair needs to be lye!") Naturally, the same heifers tried to do what I did a whole semester later. But I'd get the same crap from guys and teachers too. My parents weren't even really feeling it. Especially my father.

I don't know what it is about men and hair, but they almost require cardiopulmonary resuscitation if you change it up on them. Ya'll know how I tell you about how my Life becomes red carpet status when my hair is straightened. For those who don't, I straighten my hair every 3 months or so to get it trimmed. I refer to these moments as my "face lift" to a few of you because that's what it feels like sometimes.

ESPECIALLY in college. Lawd, the men came OUT when I got a press! Some of them honestly related to me as if I was someone new. Like I didn't know them or we didn't have class together, or I knew nothing about their man-whore ways. It was ridiculous!

But you know what? (And I'll probably never forget this.) The ONLY person who didn't give me the thumbs up was one of my best guy friends there--- a white guy. I had gotten so much buzz all morning about my hair, when I met him at our usual spot, I was totally prepared for more the same. He said nothing.

So I asked him, "What do you think?"
He tilted his head and frowned slightly as he said non-chalantly,
"I guess."

I grinned from ear to ear. He actually preferred me as my natural bummy self. I don't think I ever felt so embraced before without physical contact.

After that moment, I realized that this idealism is no longer just about White supremacy. It's almost 2007 and with all the progress made thus far, WE still think this way. White people had their thoughts about Hip-Hop but that didn't change it. WE changed it. I really just want us to own our identity as self-created and stop buying into all this Black Righteous crap, or this self-depreciating idealism.

You can't blame White people anymore. It's us. Those are OUR kids choosing the White doll over the Black one, and there's no White nanny at home raising them.

It's us.

We have to own it.

I was definitely one of those girls back in middle and high school talking that mess. I would always diss light-skinned chicks like, "These light-skinned ho's..." Looking back, I wonder if people looked at me crazy. I didn't know I qualified as being "light-skinned" until 10th grade when my friend, Ooms, told me. I was a tomboy so I assumed my perma-tan was really my true color. I honestly thought I was brown-skinned for most of my life.

Let me tell you, that revelation really turned my world upside down. I had a brown-skin girl mentality: A classic Betty & Veronica perspective. Yeah Betty was cool but Veronica always got Archie. You know, the whole second best ideology and there was nothing I could do about it. My friend, who is darker-skinned, had me realize that the darkest woman (considered as beautiful and given lead roles) in Hollywood is Vivica A. Fox and to this day I can't find anyone to disprove her claim. That sucks.

But having graduated from that bullshit, it really irks me that other people are still stuck in it. Even worse, they don't consider themselves to be "stuck" but simply living "the truth". Feeding into that crap does nothing but produce more kindergartners picking the White doll.

When do Black people finally choose Black?

Hi there,

I saw your link through YBF and, I gotta tell you, I've been hooked on your blog ever since. I really enjoy your insight on race and ethnicity, in particular. I just wanted to commend you on this whole shebang. :)

Awww Norma! Thanks:o) That was really kind of you to take the time to express that. Thanks again!
Oh and I wanted to comment on this entry, lol. I forgot about that. Although my family is South American, there is tons of favoritism towards looking "White" in our culture. My mom, while a wonderful woman in every sense, is mesmerized by blonde hair and blue eyes. She always tells me to go blonde even though the color looks ridiculous on me. She associates "blonde" with "wealthy" or "educated," and hardly anyone in our family has blonde hair.

I think, slowly but surely, our younger generations are beginning to see less color and more character. Adults are the ones poisoning the minds of the kids and perpetuating this cycle of "lighter is better" crap.

And that's the end of my rant. Great entry!

That's interesting how you were raised by that mentality, yet your opinion differs. Glad to know that ridiculous notion stopped with YOU. Latinos have color complexes too, huh? Makes sense, when I think about it. Thanks for sharing, Norma:o)
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