In 2013, I realized I hated my blackness indirectly. A friend said, “Not all black ppl look good with natural hair.” Or, I heard some chocolate brothers or non-black males say, “I don’t find black women attractive.” “Black women are so angry.” Or they’d say comments such as: “You speak so much better than other black people.” “You look so much more beautiful with straight hair.”
I got to a place in life where I realized these comments triggered me to — Sometimes feel insecure, or to separate myself from my black identity. I would find comfort in being the “the exception to the rule” when someone said you are the “only black girl that…” I’d feel comforted. But, I realized I was submitting to prejudices internally. I was trying to be better than my chocolate sisters subconsciously so I could love myself.
I silently apologized to my ethnic group. I decided to start embracing my blackness in 2013. During this time, I felt naked. I felt black. I felt invisible. Of course other things contributed, but for the first time I realized I was different even though I was raised to feel equal to everyone. But, the ideals of “beautiful” and “worthiness” are so embedded in society it whispers in the ears of our culture.
The truth is, we were taught to hate our blackness and identity. So many of my chocolate sisters and brothers struggle to love their skin tone, hair texture, facial & physical features. Or, struggle to see their worth in society.
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We were taught during slavery to idolize the fairer skin, straighter hair, and anything that wasn’t close to black. There were instructions for slave owners to teach black slaves to hate their blackness and to pit black against blacks. Or, how to destroy the strength of a family.
- Blacks had strong tribal and collectivistic roots… We were taught to be divided so we could be conquered.
- Men were emasculated and still carry the stain of worthlessness.
- Women were pitted against each other and made to be envious of anyone that appeared more caucasian. Some going to great lengths to chemically lighten their skin, etc.
You read more about this process in the Willie Lynch letter: The Making of a Slave, Breakdown of family, etc.
I imagine what a child that didn’t grow up to feel equal to others has to go through to embrace their own identity… To love their chocolate nature. I was privileged to be raised to feel equal. What a luxury that I never had to fully realize I was different till my mid – twenties.
I realized, I couldn’t accept my identity in Christ until I embraced myself as His wonderful creation. I realized God created different ethnicities to stand out bold and beautiful on PURPOSE.. I’m still learning to love all my chocolateness… As well as the other shades of chocolate in the world.
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Till then… I’m happy for the black empowerment movements. The afro-loving movements. The black girl magic movements. And, the sisters that made it safe to rock my natural hair.