I just took part in a discussion on the Black Unbelievers Facebook page about color consciousness. A young woman talked about an African-American co-worker who is ashamed of her complexion and may be passing along her values to her children. She has said that she does not want them becoming involved with dark skinned people. In fact she encourages them to stay out of the sun during the summer. My response was that this is a woman with a deep self hatred and that there are volumes about this topic.
I googled the term color consciousness in the African-American community and lots of books came up. I also remember that Marlon Riggs was very interested in the topic. Song writers like Nina Simone and Curtis Mayfield sang very movingly about this subject. It was no surprise that they were also very dark skinned. My sister told me you’ve got to play the hand that you’ve been dealt.
African-Americans have had difficulty accepting that concept as we continually attempt to lighten our complexion, straighten our hair and reshape our features to look more like the dominant culture in our society.
In this blog I usually deal with mental illness and rejecting one’s color represents a singular type of distress. If you look in the mirror and see yourself as lighter than you really are, that will impact everything you do. At times I have spent a lot of my time with white people, not because I wanted to be like them but because we shared certain ideas about how society should be changed. At the same time, I was not a part of the black church which cut me off from a large segment of the community. I believe that my life is more balanced and I can share what I have learned with others the way I did tonight with the Black Nonbelievers.
- Plastic Surgery is on the Rise Amongst African Americans (aboutplasticsurgery.com)