Blackin’ Out

High Yella, French Vanilla, Cocoa Brown, Caramel, Dark Brown, Butter Pecan Rican, Black, Blue Black…Still Black

Thanks to Sean Carter, Wu-Tang Clan, and Todd Smith!!!

It was the summer of 2020, and the world was in the custody of COVID-19.  We were all forced to live a life void of human contact outside our home, but for African-Americans, the physical contact of police brutality remained and ultimately murdered George Floyd.

I am no stranger to this country’s determination to make African-American men an endangered species, but seeing his murder play out on television and hearing him cry for his mother sent me into a rage that kept me woke night and day. 

That semester, I was assigned a paper on community, so I teamed up with a colleague, and we spoke about the plight of black men. We did our damnedest to demonstrate the ongoing entanglement between African-American men and the United States, so we started with America’s intentions upon bringing Africans to this country—to enslave them. 

COLORED CONFUSION

In “The Willie Lynch Letter,” its namesake discussed the process of cross-breeding niggers. Simply put, he advised one to take as much white blood as he could and blend it with as many nigger women as possible. The goal was to obtain a multiplicity of colored niggers, detached from their roots and unable to set or attain self-serving goals. In short, remove their agency.

His process allowed for varying quantities of blood so that one could produce an appropriately colored nigger for its specific usage. Although my paper was on Black men, the impact of this cultural conditioning on Black women should not be ignored. 

COLOR COERCION

Rather than celebrating our differences, girls and women of color sometimes internalized oppression from mainstream culture and mistakenly compete with one another. Females’ comments about skin color and hair texture are good examples of this. 

Alice Walker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple, recognized these actions as a result of altered emotions, which have led women of color to demonstrate partiality toward Euro-centric features, like light skin and straighter hair, over the beauty of their inherited race (Landor et al., 2019; Smith et al., 2019.) This phenomenon is colloquially known as colorism, and its practitioners, colorists. 

 

CONVICTION

Be honest. We have all participated in the talk, your visible shade determining the shade you spew. Either you’ve said, “She think she cute because she is light-skinned,” or “she is pretty for a dark-skinned girl.”  

These toxic expressions, like our lineages, run like generational curses through our sisterhood because we have been culturally conditioned to believe Blackness is incompatible with beauty. When, in all honesty, that ‘sis you’re throwin’ shade at is pretty periodt, whether you believe it or not.

Here we are, descendants of queens, yet allowing each other and society to take our crowns in exchange for skin-tone trauma. And yes, that’s a real form of trauma.

THE COLORED CURSE

Skin-tone trauma, according to Ph.D, Robert T. Carlson, is defined as stress reactions that arise as a result of experiencing colorism and can manifest emotionally, physiologically, behaviorally, or intellectually (Landor et al., 2019; Smith et al., 2019.) 

We have felt devalued, alienated, and romanticized as women of color because of our skin color. Our ability to build meaningful, interpersonal relationships with other women of color takes a heavy emotional toll. Too often, we are either too black or not black enough—but we are all still black. And, like the victims of most unresolved pain, we’ve hurt others, and others have hurt us.

COLORED COALITION 

As women of color, we are not bonded by blood, but we are a community. Like all communities, we share the experience of being colored in these United States. But if we don’t prioritize healing, we are choosing to lead with our insecurities. We will live lives of disappointment, fraught with vain comparisons to one another, constantly placing other women on pedestals instead of lifting each other up. We can and should hold our heads up high; we are black. 

So color outside of the lines and get that Willie out your blood!!!!

 

 

A Time for Healing 

This article is written for women of color to educate, empower, edify and connect with our sisters here and abroad to maximize our inherent gifts and talents. If you would like more information about skin-tone trauma, how to heal from this generational barrier, or make a donation, follow us on socials at Global Fund for Girls. If you find this information helpful, please hit like or share.