Many dark skin black women have traumatic childhood stories about colorism. As women who get the brunt of colorism, dark skinned black women recall stories from their childhood that made them feel belittled, undermined, and over all less than human. There are many stories online with dark skinned black women talking about their colorism experiences. All of which have different age ranges. When they open up about their experiences, some will admit they did not feel as joyful as other young girls did. You even hear about some who went through dangerous measures to alter their skin! For the youth in later generations ,it is not too late. Older dark skinned black women can take their experiences and make sure that these younger dark skin girls have as many combative tools to fight colorism with as possible. Mothers, and older sisters can pass these tips on to the youth to improve the self esteem of the young dark skinned girls that are coming up.
1. BOMBARD her with Images of Herself
Were you the type of parent to buy your child every type of doll? I'm talking about every color of the rainbow Barbie doll. Big mistake! When young black girls play with these dolls, they are pretending to be them! They are pretending to have the loose straight hair that they don't have in real life. They are pretending to have the blue eyes they don't have and any other feature that we are not commonly known for. Who they dress up as for Halloween (snow white,Elsa, Cinderella) can play a big role in their confidence as well. Don't think it's just cute and for pretend, it means so much more deep down inside. You may think that there is no harm in owning multiple dolls, but there is. Don't allow your young dark skin daughter to fantasize about people she cannot be. Buy her black dolls. Black girl coloring books. Show her with black movies. Surround her with black paintings. Anything you can think of in your immediate environment that is for black women, celebrate it. This will teach her that there is a high value in her phenotype and the people who represent her. Putting herself first will make her feel better about herself.
2. SHINE Out
Let your child know that it is okay to SHINE out. Not just with her gorgeous complexion, but let her shine with her personality. It pains me to hear about stories of young dark skinned girls being in the shadow. Meaning they were a tad bit more timid then their friends or were afraid to shine. The last thing you want, is for your child to feel like her blackness is a burden. It also does not help seeing movies of dark skinned girls being a sidekick, home girl, or co start as opposed to main star. This may make them feel like they do not have the right to shine. Let your young dark skinned black girls know, that they have the right to shine just as every other young girl does. Do this by putting them in activities, and social settings where they gain great social skills. Put them in fun and creative extracurricular activities where they can utilize and get recognition for all of their talents.
3. Positive Associations
If we could be flavors, we would be every delicious kind you can think of! Remind her of how beautiful dark skin is with all of the synonymous names associated with it. Words such as ebony, mahogany, mocha, chocolate, cocoa, all of these dark colors that are beautiful, describe our skin.
Also, teach her that the word DARK is nothing to be afraid of. Although it gets thrown around as an insult, it is nothing to be offended by. We are brown, chocolate, we are DARK and we own it!
4. Be RAW and open about Colorism
Dark skin is viewed negatively by many. We have to let our daughters know this. Be honest about what she may face in the world so she knows how to handle the situation. She is better prepared this way. She may get teased about her skin tone, but make sure she is knowledgeable of why most people view dark skin the way they do. Tell her about the field slaves vs the house slaves. Tell her about the paper bag test. Explain how all of that affects society's view of dark skinned black people as a whole. Once she has a better understanding of group think and influence, the negative comments will not affect her as much. She will know that her skin is not the problem! This will give her more affirmation of herself and keep her from reaching for that forbidden skin bleach. She needs to know her skin is not what needs changing, society is what needs changing. Be RAW about why people find lighter better.
Monet – “My name is Monet. It is said the same way as singer Janelle (Monae)! Friends and family call me Naisy (neigh•zee). Writing has always been my passion. My other hobbies are playing piano, cooking, working out (Pilates and tae Kwan do), reading and beauty/skin care”