Soooooo, It’s my birthday today. Another year older and I think definitely wiser. I’ve seen a lot of people say how terrible a year 2016 was; I can honestly say I don’t share the same sentiment. Not that things haven’t been hard. They most certainly have been; however, the knowledge and self-awareness I have gained this year are immeasurable. Yes, some of the things I have discovered on this journey to enlightenment have been upsetting, shocking etc, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. Ignorance is certainly NOT bliss as far as I’m concerned. That factor alone has brought me a wave of peace. Nonetheless, seeing as it is my birthday, I thought it would be fitting to talk about self-love; specifically loving my light skin. This subject is one I have been thinking about for a while, but something would always hold me back from addressing it. Today I’m biting the bullet.
So here it goes. Why is it okay for a dark skin woman to say I love my beautiful dark chocolate skin and I want beautiful dark chocolate babies. But if a light skin person says I love my beautiful light skin it’s becomes problematic and is labelled as “conceited, coonish,” in our community. Why? Because of the Europeanisation of our culture because of the deliberate attempt by the slave masters and then colonisers to cause conflict amongst ourselves. The glaring global view that lighter is better *refers to willie lynch letter* and that whiter is right. The lighter the better, right? The straighter the hair the better, right? Now I, as a light skin black woman can understand this. I understand the systematic oppression behind this and why some black people would be ‘offended’ by a light skin person saying I love my beautiful light skin. I understand the complexity of this debate. It really is complicated although I don’t think it should be. I believe it would be more problematic if I said I hate light skin but I love dark skin. That would be problematic in my opinion because that’s me showing an inherent hatred of self. You must love yourself. It is ironic I say this because when I was younger I did feel like that. I remember saying to my mum I don’t find light skin guys attractive and she chastised me to no end. Lol. She said “are your brothers not handsome? (I wanted to reply no not really mum) Don’t ever let me hear you say that again”. At first I couldn’t for the life of me understand why that statement got her so worked up. After all, it was just a preference, right? I get that, but after a while I came to realise that constantly liking or preferring the opposite of yourself is telling.
Like how some black men/women can say I cannot stand black women/men. That to me is the epitome of self-hate. How can you not love your own? How can you not love yourself? You can appreciate all other cultures, you can love all other cultures but make sure to love and appreciate your own too. Anyway, back to my earlier point. I understand the sensitivity of this subject; I get that slavery, colonialism and straight up racism has caused us to have deep rooted issues with the fabulous sun kissed melanin we were blessed with. I also understand that black comes in many different shades without even being mixed. I’m pointing this out so we can see how absurd it truly sounds when we argue ‘she’s talking about loving her light skin urgh she thinks she’s better urgh she’s a coon’. I always say, just because a person loves themselves, does not mean they hate you. You have every right to love yourself just as they do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a light skin person loving their caramel or latte coloured skin. And even wanting their children to look like them. It took me a while to come to this realization. But I did and it is so freeing. Prior to this I would always talk about beautiful dark skin kings and queens, stunning chocolate babies; but never light skin kings and queens, never light skin babies. I didn’t even realise I was doing this. It was like a subconscious suppression. Once I did realise, I knew I had to change it. It was something that needed to be addressed in order for me to elevate to a higher level.
The realization that I could be pro black and love my light skin too without fear of coming across as ‘whitewashed’ or a house slave was an absolute breath of fresh air. Like aforementioned, we come in different shades of brown; each one of them glorious. I have always said that there is nothing more elating than unadulterated pure love. It is something of grandeur. Something only dreams are made of. It is calm. An elixir of tranquility. It is serenity. Never settle for less. This applies not only to love from a partner, sibling, parent or friend but arguably most importantly to self-love. We must learn to love ourselves. This is undoubtedly something I struggle with but I’m tacking it slowly but surely. I cannot reiterate this enough; there is NOTHING wrong with self-love. In fact, self-love is powerful. It only becomes problematic when this self-love causes you to hate others and develops into a superiority complex. My self-love should not be seen as a threat to your self-love. I LOVE my people and I love my culture. I love the beautiful different shades of black, but most of all, I love and I should be allowed to love my light skin without offending you or anyone else. #becauseknowledgeofselfisnirvana