Day after day we see more and more instances of racism and racialized prejudices, for every one Barack Obama or for every one Oprah Winfrey. And I remember when I had my own color crisis. I was about 12, give or take a few years and I remember going through my period of wanting straighter and lighter hair and hazel, or light brown, or even green or gray eyes. Oddly enough, I was quite content with my skin color, go figure. However, I remember the reason why I wanted my light colored eyes and straight hair, I remember how all the girls went goo-goo gah-gah over the light skinned boys and how “he had pretty eyes” and all I could say to myself was “Damn, am I not pretty enough for these girls?”
Oh yes, I was there, all the way there, colorstruck like the rest of us. I wrote short stories, spinoffs if you will from my Illinois Young Authors’ Program characters, and all of the characters, I made sure to go into detail had hazel eyes, and these had brown eyes, and these had long hair, and these had long light brown hair, and these were pecan colored, but the others were walnut colored, and these had family from Louisiana which explained this and that and the other.
Oh yes, I was there, all the way there, colorstruck like the rest of us.
Thankfully, I just outgrew it, and got more confident in what God gave me. But as I went to school in New Orleans for three years, I saw the Color Game on an even larger level. And I heard my friends, college age mind you, talking about “marrying a girl with good hair…so my kids can come out pretty” and other derivations seeking the same means to end. And by that age, I had just given up that argument. I was shocked the first time I heard my friend from Carencro, outside of Lafayette, Louisiana tell me that. I was even more appalled because he actually was VERY serious.
However, often times, we hear it from the women’s perspective in their quest to have long pretty hair and light colored eyes and how it’s preferable to be light. This response was really more to say that it’s really not a black female thing, but it’s yet again one of those things that gets stored in the Closet of Silence that is black maleness.
Trust me, many of us know that we’d get some breaks if we were light skinned and/or had straight hair and/or had lighter colored eyes. As men, it’s not considered manly to talk about these things, but oh, we notice “that high yellow nigga” who took our girl, or “that nigga who think he pretty” who always has the ladies attention–and moreover we snipe about it.
I think women do it as well, but here’s the male perspective. Granted a lot of light skinned people can be conceited as a result of their light skin, but hell, others are conceited for many other reasons. Be that as it may, many of us darker hued brothas are, miffed, to put it gently, when we see a light skinned brotha getting action, and for whatever the reason, often times it is as a result of “cuz he’s pretty” and it leads the rest of us to believe that there is something wrong with us. Counter-transferrence displaces our real angst, with is with the female for putting the brotha in that position, and we take it out on him. I mean the Haterade flows freely amongst darker skinned brothas with regards to light skinned brothas.
So, the question is how do we break the cycle? It’s really real. Whereas us darker skinned children, and even teenagers and early young adults don’t get called “pretty” as much as the lighter skinned children by the adults, the light skinned children face resentment on behalf of us! I mean it’s REALLY bad all the way around, there are no winning sides to this situation.
However, I have swung the opposite way. I happen to have 360-waves, and many times people look at it and say “Oooooh, you got that good hair.” To which I reply, “Yeah, any hair that covers my head is good hair.” And I consider myself an equal opportunist when it comes to skin colors and hair types–if you’re attractive to me, you’re attractive to me; big, skinny, short and tall, and different colors included.
More pointedly to the Black Snob’s claim that “Black is Beautiful” is a myth when it comes to praxis, I not only second it, but given the nature of this claim, I even question what is black then? Is black only beautiful when it’s the color or mahogany wood, deep dark and red, or is it only beautiful when it’s the color of pine, light, with just a hint of color? I’d futher like to press the issue on “pretty” vs. “beautiful”: is “pretty” only reserved for light skinned women like Halle Berry or Alicia Keys and “beautiful” for bigger and darker women like India.Arie and Queen Latifah?
Think on these things.