MY RESPONSE TO A NATIONAL PUBLICATION ON COLORISM
The author speaks of colorism among Black folks in this country—well, I have news for her. It is no different wherever there are Blacks who are the descendants of slaves, having a range of melanin and pigmentation, hair texture from nappy to bone straight, and other attributes and characteristics that you would expect from the rape and ravaging of the Black woman. Combine this with the natural and expected inclination to want to imitate in ways possible the actual or perceived attributes of those who hold the ultimate power; you get colorism.
White, for many worldwide, has more worth in society than other “colors.” And for some Blacks—with our inherited history—lean toward, though, not fully embrace, this type of thinking. Three hundred years is an awfully long time to be dominated: Enslaved if you will. There is no way it could be otherwise. It would defy every realm of psychology and what we know about the brain and memory.
What is prized is what is wanted; if you have it and others do not, you know it, and they do as well. And it all stems from the enslavement of Blacks. First, the physical our ancestors had to endure, and just as damaging, if not even more, the inherited mental damage to the lineage born after that. History tells its own story.
Furthermore, and most significantly for most of the occupied earth, and at times, it feels like it could extend to other planets, is that Blacks do not have that essence of beauty. Unless, however, we border on having “European” features. Until not too long ago, most if not all of the countries in Africa were colonies of White countries. First, they lost control of the continent then started to lose their identity. Now the women—I am sure some men—are bleaching their skin, and the women and girls are straightening their hair and wearing weaves and wigs. They have been adopting the “white look” for some time, and it is now expected. But no less disturbing. You never become numb to seeing it.
For us, the Blacks in America, what are the features and attributes that would be enough to classify us—a group of people—as a race. Yes, I said group. And at what point or dividing line would this change our classification. We, as Black folks, do not have our own name; we did not all come from the same place in Africa, and most of us do not know our ancestral roots. Many of us are the offspring of ancestors who themselves were the offspring of a bred in miscegenation and so we are of different shades and hues. Some of us grew up in a different family life—in different “worlds” because of the differences.
Black folks are light skin, dark skin, and all of the shades in between.
There are just as many who do not share a common worldview, so I ask, how can we be expected to think or act as a group consistently over time lockstep. That is just asking too much. It is not going to happen. Color difference, skin tone, and, yes, hair texture—which presents a psychological and physical challenge for most Blacks—are used to classify and judge us the world over. It is what it is. And we—as descendants of slaves whose bodies were the property of others, who lost our combined identity—became divided as the result of the sexual desire of the master and his drive for the comforts of wealth.
The train ride home, in many ways, would signal some of what was to come from an unexpected source. As my mother tells it, she was cradling me in her arms. Just as you would expect a new mother would. And easing up to her side, in this segregated train, a nice White woman could not let her need to know hold her back. I guess looking was not quite enough for her. She had to know why my mother had a White baby in her arms. I must have been a tad lighter then, or it could have been my skin next to my mother’s much darker complexion that gave this appearance. Maybe this is what gave me a white enough look that this dear woman could not resist.
My father and mother are Black, just as I am. We have a past where the female of our race was not allowed to say no to the plantation boss. For this reason, some Black folks are more black than others are. It is the same with the way we think, for some. We run the color wheel from cold black to almost white. For me, as it is with many Blacks, one parent—my mother—was dark(brown)-skinned, and my father is light, exceptionally light. Hard feelings and just plain old hate as the result of this kind of setup is guaranteed. For sure, when a light-skin offspring is the result of this kind of coupling. It is just another level of complication when there should be none.
It began with a boat ride, or should I say ship. It has been complicated for Blacks from the first time we set foot on soil that was not Africa.
And of course, the complete control over the Black female by the White master allowed him to use our women, and in many instances our men, as they willed. When you see this, you will see dissension. The shade of a Black person’s skin made a difference then, and as so stated, it makes a difference in the Black community to this day. It is an issue. It is a type of tension that kind of simmers and will often boil to the top; stopping just short of the tipping point. I have had to fend off a number of attacks–verbal and physical–from my own people. Needless to say and with regret, they were darker skinned. Now that is a hell of a thing. Some were so upset with my skin tone that they flung the yellow m_ _ _ _ _f_ _ _ _ _ _. word my way.
There are times when a truce and an uneasy alliance is all you can get. It is the old light skin vs. dark skin, with the light skin as the winner, in most cases. That is what is thought by those who do not know our history or choose to ignore it for insecure reasons. But who is counting. We are on the run. It is what the mind can be made to believe. You never know which way to turn. So, you turn on the one closest to you. That would be your Self.
One thing that has always been—as far as we know—is free will. We like what we like and should have the right to do so. And as it relates to mates, the love for the yellow bone has not changed. They were a prize from when the first one was created by the White man and Black woman. Now the Black man and White woman are creating their very own. It should have been expected.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to mating and whom you choose to mate with; it is simple as that. My body, my choice. Why not when you have one. I see not a thing wrong with that if mating is not forced as was done to us. It is what it is, and it was handed to us. It was all born in slavery and lives on in us. All there is comes from what was. It is called history. We can deny it, but we will not change it. Black men saw and, of course, could do nothing about the White man taking and raping the Black woman and girls, at will.
When the plantation owner/slave master so desired, he would rape the wives and daughters of the defenseless man slaves: his cruelty had no end. So, the desire to do the same with the White woman grew each time a “yellow bone” was born. For it reminded the Black man of what the White man had done to and with his own. And as an inevitable consequence, it created a desire in the Black man for the light, bright and White. So, the White man, through his actions, planted the seed deep in the Black man’s psyche, and from that inauspicious beginning, the thought of the forbidden fruit with its allure, would grow and sprout into action from the Black man’s mind.
If you are mad at me for what I have written, it only means you do not understand what I wrote. If you want me to explain, just ask.
The legacy of slavery is real