"The disturbing truth is that we live in a world in which privilege or pain are served out in accordance to the color of one’s own skin... What is the role we are to play to dismantle this lie, that dark skin, black skin, is not beautiful or worthy of care and respect?"
The blanket within which we wrap ourselves. The epidermal embrace surrounding our organs and the life which flows through our veins.
Why so often do we find ourselves running away from our own skin? Our society dictates the definition of beauty. Have you ever experienced colorism? It’s the favoring of lighter skin over darker tones. We don’t have to look too far to notice the realities of colorism everywhere.
Melanin fills without measure the skin enveloping me. The color it reflects off of the rays of light is brown.
I am black. And beautiful.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a young black girl at a summer camp I worked at one year. She hated the shade of her skin. It was a warm brown tone, like mine. But she wanted her skin to be lighter, golden, like her two sisters. My heart broke. Somehow the stories and examples surrounding her fed her this lie that melanin was bad and dark skin was ugly.
Skin tone varies in my family. On my mother’s side, my grandfather who I never had the honor of meeting was considered light brown. On my dad’s side, my grandfather was as dark as chocolate. His wife, my grandma, who is thankfully still with me, is just as light as the grandfather I never knew.
The whole spectrum from golden hues to black run through the DNA of my family. Colorism was not something that my family promoted. Our skin, no matter the shade, was to be cherished because it was a gift from our Creator.
I remember always being drawn to people whose skin was as dark as ebony. A pure shade of black that could never be mine. Oh but there was something so profoundly beautiful in this shade, as it reflected the skin of so many queens and kings from the continent of Africa.
Dark am I, yet lovely.
This was beauty to me. There is a depth to the soul found in these ebony tones.
The disturbing truth is that we live in a world in which privilege or pain are served out in accordance to the color of one’s own skin.
In nature, it is the diversity of colors and the dance which the light plays with the cones in our eyes, throwing us into a wondrous bliss in awe of the beauty surrounding us.
What is the role we are to play to dismantle this lie, that dark skin, black skin, is not beautiful or worthy of care and respect? We must become aware of the daily realities protruding from this lie. Then we can participate in unveiling the truth, by appreciating shades of skin that look different than our own.
Appreciating black beauty. Embracing the whole of diversity in the colors of the human race.