I think that the worst thing that a person has ever said to me about my complexion is that “you’re beautiful for a dark skinned girl”.
The person probably thinks that they have just paid me a compliment, but it is actually an insult to my shade of Melanin.
Why do you think dark skin is supposed to be ugly? Why are you surprised when a dark skin person catches your eye?
I was scrolling through Instagram some time ago with a course mate and we came across this beautiful dark skinned girl. She then made a face and said, “This girl is too dark”. You know I definitely replied, “On whose standard is she too dark? But you’re dark skinned too and she is only some shades darker than you”.
You see that’s the problem, we talk about racism all the time but we ourselves are “RACIST IN OUR OWN COUNTRY”. That’s what I call it but the real name is COLORISIM; this means discrimination based on skin colour alone, colourism isn’t racism. Racism is discrimination and prejudice towards people based on their race or ethnicity.
What’s worse is that colourism isn’t just among adults, but adults subject children to this same discrimination.
Let me tell you what happened to me while I was in primary school;
Every year we had what we called inter-house sport, all students of my school would be grouped into four and each group had a colour as its name. One of the activities we engaged in is the march past, there would be a lot of students marching and there was a prince and a princess in every group.
But you see there was a pattern how every princess would look, it was that they had to have the “catching complexion” they called it. I wanted to be a princess but I never dared speak of it, so I stuck to athletics.
One day I summoned up courage when a teacher asked who wanted to be a princess and I raised my hand, the look that she gave me haunted me till I left the school. It was a look of “are you dreaming”? You better sit down.
On entering secondary school (high school) every day, I had to deal with words like “why are you so dark”? Or that black girl” was how people described me to others.
I didn’t have a problem with my skin tone so I didn’t understand why others did. After some time, I became really defensive and it actually shove people off my back.
Don’t get me wrong there were those who did appreciate it genuinely but it was hard for me to believe anyone because of the type of words I grew to hear. Sometimes even close relatives would casually pass a comment and it grew on me, I could go on and on and on…
Please note that I am not against light skin, God created both, but if you’re a Nigerian or even in any country please stop being a colourist. Some people don’t even know when they do these things and how much damage it causes to people. Some people bleach because of comments like this and they end up damaging their skin. Some sink into depression, hating the way the way they look every day.
Some dark skinned girls think that they have to ‘glow up’ or be on makeup to meet up to that ‘ beauty standard’. Besides, you don’t need anyone to tell you that you’re beautiful before you feel beautiful, don’t wait for someone to tell you, tell yourself.
Dear dark skinned girls, don’t let anyone put you down or make you feel less beautiful. You are beautiful! You don’t have to be fairer to be “that beautiful girl”. I grew up to be pretty strong willed, not everyone is like that, some people are really fragile and your words may cause a lot of damage.
I’m really grateful to God for creating me the way I am, they aren’t just mere words when I say that “I LOVE MY BEAUTIFUL, MELANIN SKIN TONE”.
Thank God that the world has evolved since my childhood and it is still evolving, more people understand dark skin isn’t less beautiful. More dark skinned ladies are being reckoned with in the modelling industry and that just puts a smile on my face.
Finally proverbs 31:30a says that “charm can mislead and beauty soon fades…”MSG.
Beauty will eventually fade, when it’s all gone, what do you have to offer? Develop yourself as a woman and don’t let your beauty or charm define you instead define your BEAUTY!