Black Beauty

Image

Growing up in a largely White town, going to a mostly White school, raised by a White parent, I grew up with a very White perspective of the world. I heard racist jokes often from my peers but grew thick skin because if it was about Blacks the White teller would often excuse me and say “but not you Tash, you’re not really Black.” and then compare me to a chocolate/candy, such as a Malteaser or Almond Joy, and we’d all laugh. Nevertheless, it always made me flinch. What did that mean, that “I wasn’t really Black?” was I not “really white” either? What did my existence actually qualify as?

Here’s an insight for you: I used to be complimented on having such a White nose, and I prided myself on it. I also used to be complimented for having such “nice hair for a Mulatto”, so I prided myself on that too. I felt intense anxiety, but covered it with a smile when my best friend’s boyfriend told me at 16 that I was “as dark as a Gorilla” after coming back from a 3 week holiday in Italy. When people started telling me I should “straighten my hair more often because [I looked] Brazilian” I straightened my hair incessantly for almost 6 years, believing somehow that my natural hair made me look less pretty because it made me look Black rather than Brazilian.

Guess my thick skin wasn’t that thick.

Why am I giving you this insight into my youth? Because Racism is vile. It needs to stop. And although there’s no more apartheid and all that jazz, it is still very alive within some people. Interracial couples often feel the sting of it (Click here for some food for thought). International students experience the pity of it. Then there’s those like My Better Half and I (he is full Black btw), who get “You’re Black and British? I didn’t know there were Black people in Britain!” idiocy. But that’s another story.

If you tell racist jokes, ever, I implore you to stop. Being the butt of a joke is only funny X-amount of times. Jokes subliminally perpetuate mentalities. Good or bad. Joking about how someone is worth less than you or mocking their culture is not ok, because you are reinforcing that underlying insult that “I’m better than you because of X, Y and Z”.

It’s interesting to me that Racism goes all ways. In fact, I will share one last story. One of my Black relatives was once being extremely racist against Chinese and White people -amongst other things- in a Chinese restaurant. He was being obnoxious and rude and I felt dirty just hearing his words. Have you ever felt that way? Well, my heart started pounding.  Wasn’t anyone going to inform him he wasn’t funny? Wasn’t anyone going to tell him he was out of line? No. They weren’t. They didn’t. Perhaps they felt awful too, but something inside me snapped. I gave him a piece of my mind. Unfortunately in a very angry manner. To this day he hasn’t said anything like that in my presence. Yes he’s family, but so what. There’s no excuse for allowing that type of ignorance. No way. The only things I regret are these:

1) I chastised him in anger

2) Younger Me wasn’t confident to be bold to those saying similar things.

It is my belief that all races are beautiful. There’s so much more to a person and their potential than the shade of their skin. If we really want to get away from our Racist mentalities we need to be open to compassion and seek to know one another.

What inspired this post was Lupita Lungoy’o’s speech, about Black beauty for girls. Whatever race/s you are I recommend the watch.

“Get to the deeper business of being beautiful inside.” Lupita Lungoy’o

Click here for Lupita’s Wonderful Speech

What do you think: is conflict sometimes necessary if it means standing up for what’s right? How can we quell this soul numbing disease of racism? I’d love to know your stance on the general issue.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Black Beauty

  1. talatorre says:

    Really well written! Thank you for sharing such personal thoughts.

    Becky watched “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story” and there were a couple scenes where there was some pretty nasty racism directed towards him. After the movie I made the comment to her that I just don’t get how people can think like that. Having grown up in California with really close black, Asian, white, and Latino friends (myself being a mix of two of those) I just don’t give any thought at all to what a person’s skin color is and the thought that it matters to anyone is mystifying.

    I don’t think my above comment really had anything to add to what you wrote… it’s just that it’s almost midnight and I’m procrastinating working. 🙂

  2. Ari says:

    So awesome! As I grow older I sometimes wish I lived in a more diverse community. I know too many white people and not enough people of other race and culture. I love learning about others’ cultures because it just adds so much more spice to life. So thanks for sharing this! More people should get excited to meet new people.. just my opinion. You’re an awesome person and it definitely shines through on your posts!

  3. Kari Berejkoff says:

    Tasha you are such an eloquent writer, I love reading your posts! Your two questions at the end have made me think too. I do think that sometimes conflict comes from standing for what you believe, and standing up for truth and what is right is sometimes necessary. As for your second question, I love having grown up in the Bay Area which is very diverse, and gave me the opportunity to be acquainted with others who are different from me…and came to know and love many of them. This is fundamental to combating racism…Love for our fellow beings. Everyone we meet is also a child of God and is literally our brother or sister…family! When we truly believe this in our hearts, we will treat everyone with love and acceptance. I believe this is the message that will end what you so accurately refer to as “soul numbing disease”! Love ya!

  4. Mariama says:

    Such a great post and so well written. I cannot tell you the amount of times (even with black parents) that I’ve been told I’m not “really black” or I don’t “act black”. Mostly because of the way I talk or present myself. At home if I ever said “innit” it would swiftly be followed by a backhand slap (not literally but it was the glare my parents would give me). I didn’t realize that a certain way of speaking determined one’s ethnicity.

    And I LOVED Lupita’s speech! She is an inspiration. Ugghh I could go on for days. Anyway thanks for sharing!!

Penny For Your Thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s