She Cute… For a Dark Skinned Chick!
* – Edited: 7.15.2014
Hearing or reading that line always makes me cringe. I couldn’t fathom what this world is like through the prism that Black women view it in general, but definitely not darker complected women who have more slants used against them than the Green Bay Packers run weekly in an NFL game. All I know is that it is annoying, ignorant, and shows how people truly view colors (not race), phenotypes and what is considered to be the ultimate “standard of beauty”. Anything else is truly considered “uncivilized” and is viewed/treated as such. You hear so many people say that this truly does not weigh on their personal scales, but when they emote seemingly innocuous statements such as (regarding a 9-month old baby recently overheard, for instance) “She is so adorable, good hurr and light eyes and everythaaaaang!”
GOOD HAIR? EXCUSE ME?
Are we still not past this? I don’t even blame non-Blacks (of any nationality or ethnic heritage — and yes, that includes those who vehemently deny any African blood whatsoever — yes, YOU — at every turn). While the thought process may have been set in motion by non-Blacks, it has been perpetuated against Blacks of every nationality and ethnic heritage BY Blacks of every nationality and ethnic heritage more than anyone else. I’ve long said that Black people are the most racist people in the United States. I dare someone to prove me incorrect. Cite all the data, historical lampposts and other significant occurrences all you’d like, the fact of the matter is, others can attempt to impose a way of thinking upon a people, but if the people succumb to it and willfully and ignorantly perpetuate it during every waking moment of every day, who is TRULY to blame?
THE CONUNDRUM: LIGHT VS. (???) DARK.
By now, most of us understand the thought process behind this. As a man, and having been nearly every hue (besides Black-Black/Black-Purple) in my lifetime other than “High Yella”, I can honestly say my perspective is skewed. I was never “that dark” at any point growing up; as a matter of fact, I was born Dookie Brown, then became light-brown when I was in my toddler years, even with auburn, light-brown hair, up until I was about 9 or 10, then I went back to being darker brown, got darker still, and now am darker than I’ve ever been, with my mother’s red hue as an undertone.
SIDE NOTE: That felt wild limpwristed typing that, so I’m pausing myself. Just giving perspective from my first-hand experience, though.
I never really felt the backlash that some kids got when we were in school. There were boys who were much darker than me and were teased throughout grade school into adulthood. However, girls always got it worse. And it only got worse for them as adult women, whereas this foolish “______ is in, now” nonsense took over in the mid-1990s, so dark-skinned men no longer feel that same slant. As a matter of fact, millions of “curious” non-Black women throw themselves at such men, but that is not the crux of my issue here.
The fact is, you do not see that same treatment of dark skinned women.
It was pretty interesting to watch the Miss Universe Pageant culminate the other day, and Miss Angola, representing the nation embedded in Africa — won the crown. I read a lot of the same, tired old sentiments, “She is cute to be a dark skinned chick!” on Twitter and on my News Feed on Facebook (via other peoples’ statuses, because I don’t believe I have ignoramuses on my Friends list). Why can’t she just be cute because she’s cute?
I’ll be the first to admit, that I was on my way to being brainwashed (Keywords: WAS, on the way to — as in NEVER WAS, and AM NOT NOW) with the whole color/body frame blither that comes out of Hollywood 24/7. The first four chicks I ever got with were Italian, virtually-white Colombian, half-white/half-Puerto Rican and a light-skinned Puerto Rican chick with blonde hair and blue eyes. That was all before I was 23. Even then, I never mistreated darker women because they were deemed “ugly” or “not cute enough” by the general public. That’s the honest truth. If a chick was cute to me, she was cute. Light skin, of any race, does not denote automatic good looks, nor is the converse true.
As idyllic as that sounds, it really isn’t that simple for some people.
Side Note II: I had chicks try to guilt trip me with the “You should be looking for a woman who looks like your mother, anyway, you self-hating negroid!” line; not realizing my mother appeared to be virtually White in the eyes of my sister and I until about 5th grade. Can’t accuse someone of possessing the infamous “self-hate” when the pot is calling the kettle black. Besides, I’ve dated women from Stucco White to Cinnamon/Caramel to close to my own complexion. I learned a few years ago to not create an “ideal type” with a complexion, because God will throw you a curve. I loved cinnamon/sandy complexioned women like Salli Richardson circa 1994 with menacing, piercing eyes like Gabriella Sabatini circa 1992 and long, thick locks like La India before she went off the deep end, but then along comes a woman who is anything but those things and treats me better than I could ever imagine.
From that point forward, that was no more, and this should be the approach toward this imbecilic “She’s cute for a dark girl” thing; don’t let the media construct allow you to label someone as unattractive or unworthy because she is not what the airbrushed magazines suggests she should appear like in order to be deemed “beautiful”.
More on that in a moment.
Basically, what has taken place is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The house negros were “favored” (if you will, loosely coined) over the field negros. The former typically passed the Paper Bag Test (that is, of a complexion that is lighter than that found in the paper bags that winos inconspicuously “hide” their beers in while walking the streets) and the latter were typically of a darker hue.
Fast forward from field slavery to institutionalized slavery (because yes, it exists, and is 100 times more crippling damaging to the psyche than field slavery ever was, because those unto whom the crime of slavery is committed do not even realize that they are enslaved) and nothing has changed. In fact, it has only gotten worse. To hear those types of sentiments the other night was disgusting. To walk around in this neighborhood and hear people who are in such denial (not all, but many) about their true ancestral roots, at least in part — is abhorrent.
I will never knock anyone for choosing to use permanent chemicals and relaxers in their hair in order to “make it more manageable”, nor anything else to accentuate their look. What I do have a problem with is the thought process that pervades the psyche of a person who thinks that bleaching their skin, risking blindness by lightening their eyes via surgery (true story, it has happened a few times by my observation), narrowing their noses for non-medical reasons and altering their physical in order to interweave with the generally-accepted “standard” of beauty. Not only does it disgust me, it is a proverbial slap to the face of God who saw fit to create you in such a way.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear people playing Devil’s Advocate, as if it is their career to do so — by saying “what if they were born with a deformity blah blah blah?” You know good and “doggone” well a “birthmark” is not a “deformity”, and it damn sure is no reason to bleach your skin. Some of the prettiest chicks I know are dark skinned. And I don’t issue a backhand compliment to them when I say such, either. The thing is, many of THEM buy into the lies and will bristle at you even when you’re approaching them with the utmost respect and solely offering a compliment. I happen to find dark, smooth, blemish-free skin to be luscious. Maybe that’s just me.
YES, I HAVE HEARD THIS WISPY EXCUSE ON TELEVISION.
I’m not going to delve into it too deeply, because I have written about this a million times over the years. I just figured people were beyond this. Not just Black people, but pretty much any non-Whites who either have Black blood or are as dark as most Blacks are. Here’s looking at you Southern Asia.
I don’t care if you’re offended. As a matter of fact, if you are, GOOD. I’ve done my job.
The madness has to stop. I’ve actually had Black women of every complexion remark “Oh, you have such a great smile, and that dimple is adorable” or “I love your waves”, etc. etc. etc. Had White women do the same on many occasions; and I mean White women from every ethnic group in Europe and Africa. Even had a good number of Asian women do the same — that includes women of Middle Eastern origin (don’t let the rhetoric fool you, they may not MARRY a Black man, but they will flirt/sleep with them when they get to college — TRUST ME FIRST-HAND).
However, the biggest/most blatant form of disrespect has come from the very people who should understand what it means more than probably anyone else: (some) LATINOS WITH BLACK ANCESTRY OF ANY SORT. That is, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Colombian, Venezuelan, you name it. I have heard some of the ugliest slurs, rhetoric and evidence of their own self-denial/self-hate aimed at both Black women and men; many of them, the same complexion as the person unto whom they’re aiming the vitriol. Please explain this to me (rhetorical question, I know the root anthropologically and sociologically through and through).
But if you don’t believe me, ask around or read, or overhear some conversations that take place in the open.
While Miss Angola had a crowning achievement (pun accepted, but not intended), the response to her processional was certainly anything but.
What do you think?