Introduction: As a light-complected black woman, I have experienced both favor and hatred.Then, factor in my hair length and texture... It has added to the favor and to the hate. I am not one of those who will deny that I've been given favor based on my lighter complexion and more curly, less kinky hair texture (although, my hair is much more coarse than you think). I know that I have been given this 'favor', and I hate that it has been given to me. I hate that my sistahs who are darker than I am have been taught that their beautiful skin is somehow less attractive. I hate that my brothas have been taught that their darker sistahs are somehow less desirable. I hate that sistahs who are just as attractive (and sometimes more attractive) are overlooked, just on the basis of me having a lighter skin tone. I hate that my sistahs (and my brothas) who are lighter look down on my darker skinned brothas and sistahs. I hate these ignorant terms of "yellow" and "red". What IS that? How does being a 'redbone' or 'yellowbone' make me anymore attractive? Is it that my skin is less offensive to white supremacy? Is it that my skin tone is less of a reminder of our beautiful blackness, when it is looked upon by self-hating, colonized, brain-washed negroes?
On Willie Lynch: Willie Lynch did not exist *awaits gasps* No, he didn't exist and neither did his letters. Do the research for yourself... BUT... This does not somehow discredit nor negate the content of the infamous "Willie Lynch letter". The division, the conditioning, the exploitation, the tearing down of our people is not somehow lessened by the document being false. The content holds true, and whoever wrote that letter did well in identifying and outlining the psychological (and physical) torment and trauma of our ancestors and identifying and outlining the savagery & inhumanity of the slave-owners. Our people are very much divided, but we can't keep looking to "Willie" for the answers. We see the problem. Its time we heal--Heal SELF and each other. I think its about time we 'lynch' ol Willie and all his madness... Don't you think?
Self Hatred: Self hatred is taught to us from the time we're born... It is taught to us even before we're born. It happens while we're in the womb. We feel what our mother feels, good and bad. We're feeling nine (9) months of self hate... But I think it goes even deeper than that... It is my theory that what our ancestors have been through becomes imprinted on their--upon our--DNA (others may have this theory, too... but if so, I'm not aware) and is passed on from generation to generation. We get our "genetic coding" from our parents, who got it from their parents who got it from their parents and so on and so forth. It is my personal belief that we inherent more than just their physical traits. We inherit fears, their pain, their "post traumatic slave syndrome"... We inherit the shackles that were placed on their minds and spirits (Now, once we recognize things within self, we can change that, but we'll talk about that later in this blog). From the womb and on, we are instilled with this belief that we're inferior. We are taught that we as individuals are lower, but also that our people, as a whole, are inferior. We're taught this by our families, by society--by everyone. We are taught that our hair is too nappy, our skin too dark, our noses too wide, our hips too wide, our butts too big, our lips too large... We are taught that everything that makes us the Original people of the planet Earth--everything that makes us, US--is unattractive. We're taught that everything about us is wrong, dirty, bad... When its the opposite. This causes a hatred for self, which extends to a hatred for our people. If you don't love and respect YOU, how can you love and respect anyone else? If you don't love and respect YOU, how can anyone else love and respect you? We tear each other down and envy each other. We become carbon copies, shunning our diversity and embracing these eurocentric ideals of beauty. We CONFORM. We walk around with the same limp hair (or weave), we walk around in the same clothes. There is no individuality. There is no BLACKNESS. We reject self and accept an ideal that we can never be. We perm our hair, we lighten/whiten our skin, we get nose jobs, we talk, walk, act a certain way, we deny who we are and HATE anything that reminds us of who we are. We embrace what "they" say is beautiful... But their standard of so-called beauty is one that we can never attain. Those who are a darker complexion dislike/hate/envy those who are lighter. Those who are lighter feel superior to those who are darker. The self hatred is deep rooted (right into our roots; DNA) and it is toxic, as evidenced by our eurocentric ideals in all aspects of our lives and by our "crabs in a barrel" mentality.
Trials, Tribulations and Confrontations: One of my earliest experiences with other black girls was when I was five years old: My mom (and I forget who else) had taken me to Wal-Mart. I was in the Barbie aisle, looking at the glass case that held the special edition, collector Barbies that I wanted, but couldn't have. My mom wasn't too far away, but she was far enough that I felt I was being independent. Two black girls were coming down the same aisle. They were a little older. Probably around 9 or 10 years old (either that, or they were just tall... because I was kinda tall for my age, and they were much taller than me). They were darker skinned. I saw them and was happy to see two little girls who were like me, so I smiled a big smile (Funny... I still remember exactly how I felt). They did not smile back, and they looked me over with a look that became very well known to me as I got older... As they passed me one of them said, "I don't know what she lookin' at". At first, I was stunned, shocked and hurt... But me being who I was (tomboyish and confrontational), I turned around and glared at her... Daring her. She had her head turned back, looking at me, but she continued down the aisle. I was so angry. I remember clenching my little fists. I couldn't even look at the Barbies anymore. I went to my mom.
This was one of the earliest (remembered) experiences with my sistahs. I was very young, but this always stuck with me. It may seem small to some, but it wasn't very small to me... Especially once the "other incidents" started happening. As I got a little older, things like this, only worse, became quite common. I got to a point where I was like, "Fuck black girls. If they don't like me, I don't like them". Now, black men have never given me a problem. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I didn't understand, until I started hearing things like "red-bone", "mixed girl", "yellow-bone", "good hair", etc, etc. I've had people tell me, "We'd make pretty babies", "I want my babies to have that good hair", "you don't look like other black people", "you're not like THEM" (the people who said these things, thought these things were compliments).
Growing up, I wasn't "black enough" for the black kids. I wasn't "too black" for the so-called Latinos and I didn't want anything to do with the caucasians (and they, for the most part, wanted nothing to do with me, either). My personality and looks weren't understood. So I never fit in anywhere. I hated my hair, my nose, my butt, my hips... I hated all the things that made me "black". For a number of years (I'd say from Jr. High and into H.S.) I planned on getting a nose job, once I got old enough. I would press and press and press my hair... There was even a point (freshman year of H.S.) in time that I didn't want my skin to get darker. I was very self hating. This is the strange thing, though: Though I was very self hating, I always felt very protective of my brothers and sisters. I was very proud of my ancestors... But I hated my black features. I was a paradox). I struggled with finding my identity and with accepting who I was.
In between my sophomore and junior year, I read the Willie Lynch letter. I was FURIOUS. It set me on fire. I saw myself. I saw my people. I cried and shook with anger. It was as if all the pain of my ancestors and all of my brothers and sisters hit me at once... But I understood. Every situation, every conflict, everything made sense. It was a moment of clarity. My anger turned into sadness. It turned into sympathy, empathy, compassion... All that I had been through flashed before my eyes, but my eyes didn't see it the same anymore. My whole world had changed. So, while Willie Lynch, himself, did not exist, I am very thankful for whoever wrote it. This is the reason why I don't see the Willie Lynch letters as bad. They helped me, so I'm sure they've helped others. The key is for us to look deeper. They were a good starting point for me. Once I read that, I began working on self, in regards to my self hate issues. I also worked on getting angry at sistahs for hating me, because I realized they didn't hate me. They hated themselves. Now, I'm not saying I did a total 180 overnight... But I did rapidly changed and grow. I still had plenty of "demons", but they had been recognized and identified. Healing could now begin.
Identify and Rectify, Recognize and Neutralize: We all have or have had self-hatred issues. Which means a hatred of our people, as well. Us children of the diaspora and our brothers and sisters over in Africa. We all have wounds. We're all emotionally, spiritually, mentally bleeding. These wounds cause problems in all aspects of our life. Our functionality is severely impaired. Self-hatred has infected us, but most of us are unaware. So we, in the words of the great Malcolm X or Malik El-Hajj El Shabazz, we "suffer peacefully". We suffer peacefully because there are a great many of what I like to call "pain relievers" (i.e. Distractions: materialism, religion, media, entertainers, substance abuse, sex, etc, etc). Until we identify the problem, it cannot be solved... But we can't identify the problem if we don't even know its there. Let me again, quote Malcolm X, "we have a knife in our backs and no one acknowledges that its there". I paraphrased, because the quote was directed at "white america", but it applies to us, as well. We don't know there is a knife in our backs and they don't acknowledge the knife they've put in our backs. There is a pain underneath all of the sex, lies & videotape. Under all this illusion & confusion, there is a pain. We are the "sleeping giant". We've become comfortable, complacent in our ignorance.
Cypher : "You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain... that it is juicy... and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize? Ignorance is bliss."
We have become numb. We are "blissfully ignorant". Many of us know this world we live in is all an illusion, but we close our eyes to everything. We choose to "stay plugged (or be replugged) into the Matrix". We don't know, nor care... And most of us don't even want to. Our denial, complacency, self hatred and indifferene is so very unhealthy for us: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, all of which leads to poor physical health. Healing can be painful, especially when we're so used numbing it. When the numbing wears off, it creates a stronger need for these "pain relievers". We don't want to feel! We don't want to heal! The pain of healing is necessary.
No healing can happen without some pain, but we're afraid of any perceived discomfort, much less pain! We're so afraid of the pain of the healing process. Many of us (most) are fooled to think that this life, this way that we're living is good, acceptable or fun. We don't want to face the serious issues. We are like lobsters in a pot... Slowly being boiled, lulled into a 'comfortable', slow death. We must identify and resolve the issues we each have. Once we identify them, we can fix them. If this was to happen on a mass scale, the world would change, seemingly overnight! Once we see what is broken, it can be fixed. Once we see what is wounded, we can heal it. Once we see the shackles and chains placed upon our minds, we can break free! If this happens on a mass scale... *sighs* Such a beautiful thought...
Across the globe, the image of black Americans is a poor one. We are portrayed as thugs, hoes, gangsters, materialistic, shallow, over-sexed, criminal, lazy, stupid negroes. What's worse is, we help to perpetuate these images. The world hates us and we, too, hate ourselves. We are considered the lowest people on Earth. Such a great fall from the Kings and Queens, the NTRs and NTRTs we once were. We have fallen from grace--and we've fallen HARD.
We are not beyond help. I cannot and will not believe that we are beyond repair! We are the Mothers and Fathers of Civilization. We are the Mothers and Fathers of Humanity. We are the Creators, the innovators... We are the Supreme Beings of the planet Earth... But we have to wake up! We have to realize the potential within self. It isn't enough to just KNOW. It must be applied!
Potential and Kinetic
Bridging the Gap & Breaking Down Barriers: We children of the Diaspora are disliked (hated) by our brothers and sisters in Africa. And many of us hate them, as well. This is because neither of us know any better. We hate them for hating us, they hate us for hating them. We each think we're better than the other and hate the other for thinking they're better... Madness, right? We don't realize that we're the same people. We've all been colonized, gentrified, white-washed, enslaved, degraded, exploited, oppressed and stripped of who we truly are... Same boat, different sides of the ocean. We fail to see WHO is feeding us these negative images of each other (and I assure you that those people do not look like us, AT ALL). The media feeds them negative images of us... And it feeds us negative images of them. Then we spend all of our time hating each other, rather than pulling together as family should. They know that united, they could never defeat us. They know who we are, and they fear us. They don't want us to awaken to who we are, because once we do, their game is up. Their reign will come to an end... If you look around you, it already is.... Its time for us to unite. They are us and we are them! It is time for us to lay these stupid stereotypes and negative images of ourselves and of each other to rest. Its time we unite. I love my brothers and sisters across the globe. We must learn to love ourselves and each other. We are oppressed through the suppression & repression of who we are. We are oppressed through our ignorance. We are oppressed through our self-hatred.
Outro: This blog started out just to shine light on this light skin vs. dark skin nonsense, but as I went on, it grew into something else. I'm keeping the title, because I feel that although I ranted a bit, it all ties in, none-the-less. I'll be adding more to this later, but for now, peace and much love to ALL of my brothers and sisters.
**Writer's Note: I don't like to use the term "black" and "white", but for the sake of everyone's understanding, I will be using it. In a later blog, I will break down why I don't like to use the term "black".