Clearly… Discrimination within your own race exit. Wondering… Since the word Negro means: belonging to a group of dark skin, is that the group I fit with? My skin isn’t dark at all. Nor is it completely pale. As a child, I was accepted by neither black or whites. Most of my family is melanin deficient. As a child, I was taught that if darker-skinned kids teased me to call them buckwheat and sambo. That would insult them the same way it insulted me when they called me “white girl.” We were taught to keep ourselves separate. Though as an adult I know better, as a child I was taught that the darker-skinned people envied me. That they were barely family and that they were mean… I had a light-skinned mother who wasn’t fond of dark people and a dark-skinned grandmother who wasn’t fond of light people. Division is what I saw amongst my people, my family, every day. I was not taught that ALL BLACK PEOPLE need to stand together, just based on complexion. And growing up I had no clue of where I belonged. I simply “tried to be black” because no one explained to me who I was.
My dad’s mom, darker skin would make statements like “y’all light skin people think y’all entitled, y’all think y’all better.” But in all actuality, I thought I was nothing at all and I simply needed her love. I would kiss her ass to get it too! Still only to be rejected and dismissed. Invisible to all the pretty ladies that I admired with the dark skin. Not pretty for a dark skin lady but beautiful beyond measure just because. I would sit out in the sun for hours in 90 some degree weather with Vaseline dripping all down my arms and face hoping to get brown. I still have a permanent tan on my outer arm from trying so hard. I just wanted to be black. I didn’t want to be a white girl or high yellow or redbone. I wanted to be an obvious reflection of my ancestors from African descent.
After digging into my history I found a distant grandfather who was Cuban. Then men from Scotland and Ireland and of course the Indian blood runs through me. Still, I wanted to know of the heritage that society says is the dominant force. I can be all mixed up but African American is an obvious course. And who says I can’t love every nationality whose blood I carry? With traits and features so distinct when others guess my nationality it often varies. Being black? What does it mean when society blots out our history, denies what we worked for and kills our youth. Our black men and women are discredited, murdered in the streets, accused, judged and sentenced to maximum sentences for lesser crimes than any white man or woman. Our families become more disconnected. But can we blame it all on the outsiders? Our lack of knowledge of self is to our own detriment. Though not easily assessable, research is available. I write this only because I know that there are many other little girls out there just like I was confused and wondering who they are. We as adults have to take on the responsibility to love ourselves better and teach our children the power of black unity… IN EVERY SHADE!