Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Lightskin is the right skin..." and other lies they tell you...

Recently I was having a conversation with a few people and I said something in regards to a "lightskin
struggle". I was joking but one individual in the group (a darker skinned Black American) laughed and said "Lightskin people struggle? Y'all don't have a struggle..." NOW. While I was joking in this particular conversation I wanted to let this person know that ALL Black Americans (or African Americans, whatever you choose) go through a struggle because they are not white. My light skin DOES NOT make me immune to racial slurs from whites. My light skin DOES make me a target in certain darker Blacks minds and, as a result, I am often times chided and picked on for being fair. As a child I grew up with the "white girl", "cornbread", "yellow hoe" insults. I have been called a "nigger" by whites. I have dealt with racism due to my complexion from both sides. I do NOT feel my pain is bigger than anyone else's but for anyone to discredit what I have gone through because I'm lighter is upsetting.

We do not choose the skin we are born in. My lightness has never defied my Blackness. Both of my parents are black. I am black. I don't claim anything else and to make fun of me because I'm physically not as black as the next person just shows your ignorance on the slave trade and why Black Americans come in a rainbow of brown hues. I will admit I have issues with my complexion. I always have, and I own that. The piece below I wrote Monday morning (even before someone called me a "have breed" *SIC* who "hated her own race" on twitter...mind you, the race I supposedly hate is the black race. When our convo was on reading, they made it about race. See how that happens...but I don't struggle being light...). I will not pretend to know how darker skinned blacks feel or what they go through, but my struggle is real. We all struggle. We are all in this together.

Complex Complexions…

Don’t let this light skin fool you
Through my veins runs the blood of a million slaves
The ancestors of those who contributed to my fairness are the ones who stole and enslaved the people that contributed to my blackness
My hair, my eyes, my nose, my lips, my smile, my demeanor are all compliments of the Africans brought to America over 300 years ago
And my lightness or whiteness is only a result of the rape of my grandfather’s grandmother’s mother, and her mother, and her sisters and their children…
This heart beats to the sound of Congo drums played in memory of those who didn't make it on the Middle Passage
My soul cries for the culture that was taken from us
And in my dreams I see the ancestors.
I pray for them.
My complexion is not a badge of honor that I wear but a constant reminder of the pain my people suffered.
I don’t take pride in being more acceptable to whites because my skin is fairer
I wear my hair natural and unkempt as a nod to those came before me and try to hold on to as much as their identity as I can.
No our struggles aren’t alike but I never thought I was better than you because my family was raped into lightness.
We all suffered. We all continue to suffer.
Our pain may not be similar but it’s real. And before I am judged for trying to be TOO black let me remind you.
I am black. Both of my parents are black. And their parents are black.
And this fair skin you see…it’s a result of a time when blacks were seen as nothing but property.

Don’t let this light skin fool you. I stand beside you in the struggle. 

EDIT 8/27/2014: I had to add the *SIC* because FYI...the ignorant person who tried to call me a "half breed" actually said "HAVE breed".


  1. Hi,I love your post! I'd like to add. I suffer from the occasional breakout and if that is not enough to deal with at this age no matter what I do when the breakout subsides I am left with dark spots. I have to admit prior to the last year I wasn't always good about wearing sunscreen on my face either which only made the problem worse. thanks for sharing:) @Wayne Williams

  2. It is amazing to think that in this day and age skin color is still a relevant issue. In spite of our ability to use reason and rationalization, the human brain is wired to categorize information.