Let me get personal with you. For some reason, I receive various compliments that may have been well-intentioned but come across as simply rude. Example: “You’re pretty for a dark girl.”
Maybe if it were still the 1950s, I’d be enamored by such a grand compliment, maybe even floored. But this is 2013, and it genuinely hurts my soul to hear a statement that is so othering and marginalizing offered in such a casual way.
Does that mean I’m not pretty in general? Look at the world around you. We live in a generation where people are constantly discussing dark skin versus light skin.
I’m going to be frank and say that these types of comments are the most ignorant things to hit my ears since I learned about slavery.
On Aug. 28, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech. Fifty years after King uttered the famous line, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” we still have a negative outlook on skin color. King would be sick to his stomach.
Does skin color truly matter? I mean, do you really think someone isn’t beautiful because of the color of his or her skin? As a person of dark skin, this is not bitterness you hear in my tone. This is flat-out anger. I am saddened by the outlook this generation has on skin color.
Sure, it may be a few jokes, but many things start as jokes. Then those things become serious, so serious that people start taking it to heart. It puts all of the hard work of the followers of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Harriet Tubman to shame right now. I have been dealing with this whole dark skin versus light skin struggle for the past year, and I still don’t quite understand it. It makes me feel ashamed of the skin tone with which I was born.
Calling me pretty for my skin color is insulting. Skin color should not matter anymore.
By calling people “dark skinned” or “light skinned,” you are doing exactly the same. Ignorance is alive and well, and the more you talk and make fun of someone, the more you feed into this trend that needs to be stopped.
Beauty is beauty. A girl or a boy should not be attractive to you just because of the color of his or her skin. Instead of looking at someone’s skin color, look at his or her personality and morals. Make your judgments something meaningful, not something terrible as this. Skin color should not matter.
Reach the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her at @tishnii