BGLH Marketplace Blog

4 Shades, 4 Stories: BGLH Writers Discuss Their Experiences with Colorism and Dark Skinned Prejudice [Part 2]

Tori
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As a child, my mother was diligent about teaching me the importance of having confidence and high self-esteem. But, no matter how many times she told me, I never truly believed her words. Deep down I was still uncomfortable with the girl in the mirror.

I have always been of a darker complexion and I saw it as a disadvantage, especially because I was teased and bullied throughout my school years. I still remember all the nicknames including “big black”, which was a name created to not only belittle me for my skin color but to also make me feel inferior for being overweight.

The older I got, the more I started to believe the negatives that were thrown my way about my skin color. I did everything I could to cover up the body and skin I was constantly being told was ugly by the outside world. There was even a time when I bought and used fade creams behind my mother’s back because I struggled to see myself as beautiful and wanted my skin color to be lighter.

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The more mature I got I realized that I was allowing these negative opinions about my skin color to greatly affect my confidence. Now that I am an adult, I have grown to appreciate my skin color. I understand the importance of self-acceptance, regardless of what others think. Occasionally, I get questionable compliments like “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl”. But if I am being given a compliment, why not just say, “You’re pretty”? Skin color doesn’t and shouldn’t determine how beautiful somehow is. Luckily, I have been blessed with a family and close friends who have always been supportive and positive towards me and my appearance.

If I could go back in time, I would tell young Tori the same things I would tell my daughter (when I have one). I would tell her how beautiful she is and to ignore the negatives. I would also explain to her the importance of self-acceptance and allowing her true inner beauty to continue to shine. I would also paint a picture for her of what her future self is, because I think if she could imagine being the girl she is today, she would understand that everything she feels and is being told about her skin color isn’t true. She would be reminded every single day that she was beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Finally, I would continue to pray for God to help her on her journey to becoming the strong beautiful woman she is today.

Click to read Lisa’s story on the next page
Or go back to Rinny’s story

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riyo
riyo
7 years ago

So are we ready to admit light-skinned privilege exists or nah. everydayfeminism.com/2015/02/light-skinned-privilege/ We gonna pretend darker skinned criminals and girls in school don’t get punished harsher or nah mobile.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/us/school-discipline-to-girls-differs-between-and-within-races.html?referrer=&_r=0 Lighter than a paper bag don’t exist or nah Pelo malo o no? I can go on for days with examples and empirical study. But to say light skinned women don’t face sexualization due to their subjective “attractiveness” and proximity to whiteness… To say that dark skinned women don’t face hypermasculinzation because it offends you to admit there are people in the world that don’t have your same experience? To heal… Read more »

EllieLo
EllieLo
7 years ago

“No tea, no shade, no pink lemonade.” Lol, can I borrow that one, Rinny? But in all seriousness, thanks for sharing your experiences with us, ladies. They’re appreciated and insightful. From elementary school on, I was always in a situation where I was in the racial minority, but it didn’t really matter because no one really said anything about it. I blatantly knew I was different than other girls, and when I was picked (because I was) it had nothing to do with my race and everything to do with why I didn’t have funds to keep up with whatever… Read more »

melissa
melissa
7 years ago

That last story really hit home. Especially the part about imagining my kids being light skinned. I feel so guilty and ashamed for ever having that feeling.

im not the only one
im not the only one
7 years ago

I’m honestly done, like on a serious note this is getting too much .Before I read this article I told my friend to wait and see that all the stories would involve the typical dark skin girl that was bullied and hated her skin color etc etc. Same story every time. Sometimes its like people want to make is seem that all dark skinned girls have been bullied or were insecure about their skin color. I believe a dark skinned girl that has never been negatively affected by colorism should have been included in this to show different sides of… Read more »

Telion
Telion
7 years ago

You know what? That’s great. That’s great that you’ve never experienced the buying or the negative self esteem associated with dark skin- you are blessed, and so right to be grateful. That does not however negate the fact that the story is much different for a great many of us ‘dark skinned’ girls. What you need to understand is that just because you haven’t experienced something doesny make it irrelevant. None of us directly experienced slavery- but does that negate its impact on our society, our families and our world? If you’ve never been poor does that mean poverty is… Read more »

Yemi
Yemi
7 years ago
Reply to  Telion

Thank you! I came on here to say all of this but you did it so very well. I’m also dark-skinned and while I haven’t had the experiences these women have, I’m not about to come on here to dismiss and discount their histories because it doesn’t mirror my own. Furthermore, I fail to see how these women’s stories are perpetuating this “dark skinned girls are struggling” trope that imnottheonlyone is complaining about! None of these women are saying “I’m dark-skinned, woe is me,”…rather, they’re being honest about their negative experiences and sharing how they have been able to find… Read more »

Simone White
Simone White
7 years ago
Reply to  Telion

Amen!! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Rylee
Rylee
6 years ago

Your experience is the exception not the rule.

Paula
Paula
7 years ago

The link to the next story does not work.

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