When I lived in
Jersey, whenever a conversation about a new girl broke out the question was always asked, “What does she look like”. I got sick and tired of the first words always being, “she light skinned, she got pretty eyes………….” If I was interested, that description changed my mind immediately. My boy M got me to meet this chick whom he described as light skinned, but never said much else about her. Well there wasn’t much else to say. She was light skinned with no face, no body, and a personality to match. I was (am) light skinned, and I was color struck to the other extreme. I was drawn to chocolate. Any female lighter than me wouldn’t get a second look in Jersey because I HATED my color, although I LOVE my race. I had no brothers but plenty of male cousins that I felt looked better than I because of their color. I felt like the odd one in the bunch. I think this inferiority contributed to my shyness throughout grade school and high school.
When I ventured south to
my perspective changed but not for the better. One tradition here is when a baby is born they look at the baby’s ear color to see if the kid will be light skinned. Foolishness like that made me detest my color even more. Richmond, Virginia
The rumor at that time was that the new University President was voted in due to a groundswell of support from women who thought he had pretty hair.
On campus, there were fellas called pretty boys. One female mistakenly called be a pretty boy and I mistakenly called her a………….. Ok any way. I apologized profusely, explaining to her that I didn’t fit that stereotype. Ironically the same way she typecast me, is the way I typecast light skinned girls on campus. If they were light, I assumed they were stuck up and would never look their way, not even for the time of day. I ended up dating one of the choclatiest girls I could find, and surely I missed out on some great friendships due to my own issues. In hindsight I realize the people I met were not as predictable as I assumed. Just like stupidity, stuck uppity came in all shades of black, not just pale, and I reacted to what I considered shallow thinking with more of the same. I didn’t believe in reincarnation but I always said I would come back as Big Daddy Kane or Kool Moe Dee. Anyway, my prejudices did nothing to bring unity to our campus and did nothing to change my skin, my complex (ion), or my internal conflicts which went way beyond skin color.
It took God delivering me from a number of things to change my perspective of me. Of course the biggest task was getting delivered from my own inferiority complex. Then it took me getting delivered from people and their hang-ups. So what if the kids in
called me Howdy Doody? Who cares if they called me Ritchie Cunningham? And yes, when my wife asked my then 5 year old daughter, “What color is the new girl in her class”, my daughter replied, “She’s white like daddy”. You can laugh but I aint think it was funny. Fortunately I got over it and she should be off punishment by her 9th birthday. It took me until my early twenties, but I’m finally cool with my color (or lack thereof). Now if I could only do something about the freckles. Paterson, NJ