There was a time when I didn’t understand the beauty of being black, nor what being black truly meant (what comes along with that melanin skin). I didn’t get it! I look back now and I struggle to believe that I didn’t see the jaw dropping beauty and strength in those African features and in that Black history.
Tina Lawson says it best…
‘There is so much beauty in being black.‘
Now some people may think this blog post simply isn’t needed, but I want to write it, I’m not writing for the views, so I’m unbothered by that opinion. To me it is needed. Why? Because growing up, (I’m not 100% sure how black boys feel), but I know from my experience and the experience of some of my black female friends that we didn’t always feel as beautiful or as desired as our Caucasian counterparts. That the media very rarely showed ‘us’ and if they did show ‘us’, it would nine out of ten times be a black female with a racially ambiguous look.
Media is a powerful tool. We are bombarded with media on a daily basis. From infancy we are watching tv, we are seeing advertisements on billboards, we are seeing magazine covers in shops. We may think that these are of little effect, but the effect is ingrained so deeply in our psyche, that unless we ever acknowledge the effect media has has on us, we can never change our point of view on the whole matter.
I’m just going to lay the background of the White/ Black doll experiment as a foundation for what I’m going on to say… The experiment was originally undertaken by psychologists Clark and Clark in the 1940s. The premise of the experiment was that children picked which doll they thought was the more attractive, the nicest and the baddest.
To cut the story short, most children paired the black doll with the ugly and bad adjectives and the white doll with the pretty and nice adjectives. The study was originally conducted on black children. However, as seen in the video (check out the link) the study has been reproduced and conducted on children of different ethnicities. In these reproduced studies the findings have been similar.
I remember seeing the doll experiment in my teenage years. It opened my eyes. It made me want to go out and buy every black doll I could possibly find (there never used to be as many as there are now), take them home and give them all the love they could possibly need lol. On a serious though, it opened my eyes to how great an impact society had and could potentially have on my self-image as a black woman. And also the prejudice people could have towards me based on the colour of my skin.
Before you see my best features, or my character or the way I think, you see my skin colour. Just to make that clear, they literally see my skin colour first. From a distance alongside height that all you really see. And that’s therefore the first thing people notice and consciously or subconsciously judge you on (this judgement can be positive or negative).
A system that can brainwash black individuals into thinking they are ugly, is a system that can brainwash society as a whole into thinking black people are less deserving… If you’re like what on earth am I talking about please check out the Willie Lynch letter on advise regarding how to make a slave. (It’s a letter I believe every black person should read). A letter written to indoctrinate black people to keep them down, to cause self-hate, and hate alongside division within our community. Where do you think this notion of teamlightskin vs teamdarkskin has come from?
‘The Black slaves after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self refuelling and self generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. Don’t forget you must pitch the old black Male vs. the young black Male, and the young black Male against the old black male. You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves, and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves. You must use the female vs. the male. And the male vs. the female. You must also have you white servants and overseers distrust all Blacks. It is necessary that your slaves trust and depend on us. They must love, respect and trust only us. Gentlemen, these kits are your keys to control. Use them. Have your wives and children use them, never miss an opportunity. If used intensely for one year, the slaves themselves will remain perpetually distrustful of each other.‘
-The Willie Lynch letter: The Making of a Slave
I’m not happy about what’s currently occurring in America regarding racial issues. But at the very least, its waking black people up. It’s forcing people to acknowledge what being black actually means, how they are seen, that the way they have to navigate through life cannot be like their Caucasian counterpart. (And to me that in itself means they have it harder). It is forcing black people to unite and essentially slap Willie Lynch in the face! Unite regardless of skin colour (allow teamlightskin vs teamdarkskin, allow thinking the lighter the better, allow thinking you have to date someone lighter than yourself, allow self-hate please, I beg you), regardless of origin, regardless of language.
To me, the beauty of being black in not only our African features, our afro hair, our melanin skin. But it’s in the strength of what our Ancestor had to go through (slavery and colonism), the microagressions, racism and colourism that we still go through, both within and outside of our communities. It’s in our fight to get to the top of the food chain although we are in a system that was never made for us to succeed. And not just getting there alone, but bringing your brothers and sisters with you. It’s in supporting one another. It’s in educating ourselves on our history, on blacklivesmatter. It’s in erasing that self-hate, by unpacking those lies society has fed you (outside and within our communities). It’s in the struggle of not always being represented in the media (and I mean positively) but having ‘blackgirlmagic’ and ‘blackboyjoy’ despite this. Black woman? Black man? There is great beauty in being black and never let anyone tell you otherwise!
Enjoy black history month!
It’s such beauty in black people, and it really saddens me when we’re not allowed to express that pride in being black, and that if you do, then it’s considered anti-white. No! You just pro-black. And that’s okay. The two don’t go together. Because you celebrate black culture does not mean that you don’t like white culture or that you putting it down. It’s just taking pride in it, but what’s irritating is when somebody says, you know, “They’re racist!”, “That’s reverse racism!” or, “They have a Black History Month, but we don’t have a White History Month!”
Well, all we’ve ever been taught is white history. So, why are you mad at that? Why does that make you angry? That is to suppress me and to make me not be proud.