Akisha's Story on Light Skin vs Dark Skin

10:21 AM Keenya Kelly 0 Comments

Listening to you talk about our family brought stuff about my granny to my mind-she was color struck, whether she knew it or not I don't know, but she was, and hair struck too.  I always thought she was the most beautiful woman and her skin made her that much beautiful, it was dark and just beautiful but maybe she didn't see it that way, I'll never know how she felt about herself because I never asked, and can't ask now because she's gone. But I can remember her telling people that we had all kinds of nationalities in our family, c'mon Granma, we're black-we come in different shades, hair textures, and sizes but we're black, we don't have to be mixed with anything else to acceptable! Used to get on my nerves for real, it was really a trip. And I remember my sister teasing me telling me I was adopted b/c I wasn't the same color as them, hurt me to death and I never really thought about how much it did, even though I knew it wasn't true.   I have to say until she brought attention to the fact that I was the darker of the three of us, I never really paid any attention to it, I was just Kisha, my dad is light with red hair, greenish-grey eyes and freckles, and my mom is brown, big deal.  My mother and father were never color struck, but once the difference in skin tone was brought into my awareness by other people, sadly it did open up the door for insecurities in me-now I know that God made me, and everyone a designers original, he he!
When I would see the guys falling all over these girls with light skin and long hair, I would just go to that thought of it being the reason they didn't like me, because I was darker with short hair, instead of understanding they just like her just because (maybe, in some cases I believe that was the real issue, they bought into the madness!)  And now in looking back on all of that, for every guy that chased those girls that weren't like me, there were 2-3 guys chasing me all the same but b/c I didn't really like them, I could care less-lol, sounds crazy but that was my thinking back then.  And that made me also have dislike for light skinned girls, and I would even say sometimes "they only like her b/c she's light, she's not even cute, she can't dress, blah blah blah"-crazy huh?  But that's honest, that's where I was with the whole thing.  It's silly now to know that I started looking down on myself b/c of what other people projected on me and I chose to feed into it, but coming into my own and learning myself and accepting myself has changed all of that, it changed the way I look at everyone-I don't have a dislike for lighter women anymore, I don't even care, they are who they are and it's not like they picked the shade they came in!  I do still get a little touched when I hear people make cracks about darker people, even though they may be joking or just saying stupid stuff, they just don’t know how they may be hurting someone and feeding that person fuel to look at themselves negatively.  And it doesn't help to see so many of our girls and women full of such self-loathing that they go to extremes to alter their appearance-there's a difference in doing something for variety, which I think is cool, and doing something because you are really trying to be something that you weren't created to be.  God created us as designer's originals, so if we are caramel, chocolate, brown, or whatever shade, it's for a reason.  I now embrace my skin color and don't compare myself to anyone anymore, about anything. 
We could talk forever and ever about that, and sadly I see this stuff it in my daughter's generation-she has come home to tell me how her boy friends say they don't mess with black girls, only Spanish or white girls and that breaks my heart b/c I know she's awesome, I believe she knows it but when someone constantly says they don't mess with you for basically being black, how do you receive it? Kills me!  And it's not about how the boys perceive them, but if her girlfriends hear this stuff, how do her peers react to being told they're not good enough?  So in her group of friends, all she may see are her friends changing themselves to be acceptable, nobody embracing who they are.  I stand before my children as an example of acceptance, no matter what you look like-make changes to yourself for fun, for variety, but not out of self-hate-I say that as a person who changes hair styles, color, etc. all the time because it's fun and fresh, not to be like other people.  I affirm my daughter almost everyday, she's at that teenage stage that can be very rough and if given enough room, so much negative stuff can come in and get a foothold in your life so it's my job to lift her up, just so she knows that she doesn't get her identity from anyone else, not even me, and to look at herself and see beauty all up in her.  And for every dumb boy that says she's not worthy of them because she's "just" black, there are 3 smart boys who see a wonderful young lady that is cool just the way she is, there is nothing "just" about her.  Just because mainstream/the world doesn't celebrate women who look like me or my daughter and her friends doesn't mean they can't see women who are like them and proud-we're right here, and it's our job to show them hey, you're beautiful.  Even for the light skin girls, the girls of other ethnicities who also struggle with their identity, we need to affirm them too and let them know hey, you're awesome just they way you are.  It's funny how people of other nationalities tan and all that other stuff to get to our beautiful complexions, and all we need to do is moisturize our skin real good and we already have what everyone else wants and we hate it-CRAZY, we can't even see how wonderful what we have is! 
On the hair tip, ooh that is another thing that blows me away.  We perm mainly to be accepted by white people, when they really don't care what your hair looks like, our own people give us more grief about it than anyone else.  I've had sisters say the craziest stuff to me about why they can't wear a natural, how there are no styles for it, how they can't "do that" at work, and of course the main thing about the men not being attracted to nappy hair-and my reply is sis, when you take that wig off, take that weave out, or when your hairline is pushed back and he is shocked to see what you really look like, how cute will you be to him them?  You're not presenting your real self-its like the chick we all know who won't let her man or anyone else see her w/o makeup on lol.  I work in a corporate environment and pretty much am the only natural person (not including locs), and I'm not afraid to rock a puff, a fro hawk, a fro, a head wrap, none of that b/c I wear it well.  Who says that natural hair can't be neat along with everything else?  I've seen perms and wigs that look a mess, so it's all about ones perception, but I definitely don't get heat from my Caucasian friends and co-workers, they think my hair is cool, but I don't need them to validate me because I KNOW my hair is cool lol!  I had a white co-worker, a guy at that, tell me that my hair looks so ____able (he didn't have a word to go in from of -able, he said lol!), he just wants to touch it-I thought that was hilarious and interesting.  I think it's funny, because we always believe that they think badly of us and our hair, skin, or whatever.  I use every convo with my Caucasian counterparts where my hair comes up to school them, a few people asked me why I cut my hair recently and I let them know, I don't know what white hair does, but black hair gets damaged from too much heat and that's what happened to me. I've had some older white women that I work with tell me that my hair always looks so nice and fun and different, and I appreciate that simply because it goes to show that for real, they don't care and maybe we don't give them the benefit of the doubt sometimes, and think negatively of them too. I get stares from my own, they want to ask, want to touch but don't and I don't know why, I just keep it moving. It's all about the exchange, people want to act like the differences aren't there-please acknowledge the differences, that's how we learn and come to find that for really, skin color is really about the only difference we all have, we admire each other for the different things we can do b/c I've certainly seen some white women with nice hair styles and clothes and I will tell them in a minute.  We need to start acknowledging the difference and embracing all of it!  It's amazing how much we miss out on because of assumptions, and perceptions of people because of one thing or another...