I always wondered why people would make a fuss about the complexion of others. I started realising just how important a role complexion and tone played in our society the moment I started dating outside my race. It was never from him, but always from other people. “You’re beautiful for a black girl” or “You’re beautiful for a dark skinned women” were often thrown my way and I always wondered why colour was always attached to the compliments.
The more I listened, the more I found that often people didn’t want to own up to the fact that their minds were wired to see tone, many people didn’t want to own up to the fact that they already had a pre-conceived idea of what beauty was and indirectly, tone had a place in their minds, and that’s okay, but what bothered me most is that many would fight it.
Tonal oppression barriers
I remember standing on the hockey field and having someone ask me why I had a solid line going down my arms and why I was two-tone, that same woman told me that it was weird and that it wasn’t a “beautiful sight” on such a “beautiful young black lady” – I was rendered speechless, simply because I’d never felt that the line going down my arm was something ugly, but more something beautiful. I later realised that there was nothing wrong with the way my mind worked, I was just more open minded about certain things than other people were and I didn’t need to crucify them simply because I didn’t believe what they believed.
Colourism is a huge problem amongst my people, because they really don’t believe that there is something wrong with saying someone is “a beautiful dark skinned woman”. They don’t understand how mentally oppressed that statement makes them come across as. I have two different tones running down my arms and stomach, and that’s but one of the things I find most beautiful about my body.
The impact of being in interracial schools
I know that there are many people who don’t see things the way that I do and that fault the way I think because it doesn’t make sense to most people. I have so many friends of so many different shades and I think that’s just one of the things I love about my circle. Not only are our skin tones different, but our cultures and way of life are different too, and I cannot be more blessed to have people around me who are willing to share that part of themselves with me.
What I’ve learnt
The world isn’t always understanding of different views, or open to change simply because things have been done the same way for so long. Even though we know better and have been exposed to more doesn’t mean that we understand that everyone’s definition of beauty is different. I won’t argue with you when you tell me that light skin women are your standard when it comes to beauty, then so be it, but please in the process of trying to compliment me, don’t insult me.
My skin tone is perfect with all its flaws, and multiple shades. We need to stop blaming society for everything and start owning up to how we’re part of the problem. So maybe we need to open our minds and start analysing things from every perspective, and start thinking before we speak.
We’re beautiful regardless of our skin tone. Period.
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