1. Building a Happy Personal Life
You can preach about self-love all you want, but the easiest and most effective way to teach a child to love themselves, is to raise them in a healthy, happy home. According to Walter E. Williams, an economics professor at George Mason University, the “number one problem among blacks is the effects stemming from a very weak family structure”. In an article from The Daily Signal, he writes that children from broken homes are more likely “to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes, and end up in prison”.
2. Embracing Your Dark Skin
Colorism is global, and no one is immune to it. In a 2015 Instagram post, the gorgeous South Sudanese model Nykhor Paul wrote that she was tired of having to “apologize for her blackness”. In a Teen Vogue article, Chelsea Odufu admitted to having struggled with accepting her dark skin. She wrote that “loving yourself is the first step in being happy” and stated that “Being ‘Very Black’ is and will always be cool. Just embrace it.”
So what are some practical ways to move forward from colorism while living in a colorist society? First, be aware of how our historically colorist society has led to your insecurities about your dark skin. It’s much easier to practice self-love when you understand that the problem isn’t you, the problem is the problematic way that society thinks and functions. Also, consider seeking professional help or investing in a life coach, or mentor, who can help boost your self-esteem and encourage you to love yourself fully.
3. Celebrating Afro-centric Facial Features
Approximately one-third of the American population is Black, Asian, Latinx, or Native American, yet more than 80% of the images we see in the media are white. This statistic is unfortunately all too damaging for the self-esteems of little black girls, who will grow up seeing images of people who look nothing like themselves.
One way to free yourself from Eurocentric beauty ideals is to redefine what beauty means to you. Western media celebrates thin noses, light skin, and bone-straight hair. So how do you get rid of the brainwashing and indoctrination? Surround yourself with images that look like you. The paintings you hang in your house, the movies you watch, the stores you shop at, even the people you spend time with—make sure they reflect you in some way. Begin to actively and consciously celebrate Afro-centric facial features, including wide noses and big, full lips, and dark-colored eyes.
4. Wearing Your Natural Hair
One day, I’d like to get to a point where natural hair is no longer a decision we have to make, but that most black women naturally love their hair to the point where they are willing to wear it out each day. Hopefully by that point, natural hair will no longer be just a trendy fad, but a way of life for the vast majority of black women all over the globe. Still today, black women have a tendency to hide our hair behind protective styles. I know this because I have done it before too. We’ve been mocked and ridiculed for embracing our natural hair, which explains why we are still hesitant about loving it completely today. But let’s take the power back into our hands and make a conscious effort to fully love our natural hair, shrinkage and all.
“While some have described her as overly opinionated, Grace much prefers the terms headstrong and passionate. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law.”