Life as a Black Girl

Not Letting My “Light Skin” Speak For Me

By: Aysia Bly

Have you ever been in a bathroom full of drunk girls? I mean it is like a 360 from the way women are in the outside world. I saw a post last week that made me aware to that statement. For those of you that don’t know, drunk girls in the bathroom is like “The Girls Room” set on the Amanda Barns show (yes I know a true throw back).

Everyone in that bathroom is best friends and looks out for each other. From selfies, to toilet paper on the shoe, to sharing eye liner, those girls in that bathroom form a unit.  I wish the world could be like that 24/7.  I wish we lived in a world where females, to put it plain and simple, were nice to each other. 

This year a girl named Amy from my old high school school district got murdered. No one seems to be calling it that but that’s what it is.. it is a murder. No one besides her and the girls that fought her will ever know the real cause of what happened. A boy, an argument, the color of her skin- I don’t care… the bottom line is she got killed by a group of girls who are insecure. There is no other reason for it than just that, insecurity.

This situation hit home for me because lately I have became sort of a womanist. I am all about the ways we as women can empower each other. Especially my fellow black women.  In a time when it feels black women are finally being honored and held on a pedestal by the outside world, I wish we could form a unit and hold each other to high standards as well. 

I’m all for complementing the woman who’s shoes you like, or stopping a lady on the street to say her hair is nice. The problem with our society is our black women feel they are always in competition. 

From the color of their skin, shape of their hair, length of their hair and so much more; it seems there is always a battle to be won.  You would think in a world where the black women were oppressed for so long that we would finally rejoice and be goddesses together.  But no, we compete about trivial things and break the sisterhood apart piece by piece.  Society is to blame, men are to blame and most importantly us women are the most to blame.

Recently during one of my many travel trips I was sitting in the king size hotel bed catching up on my weekly show and stuffing my face with pizza.  This one was about an NBA star, his family and their daily trials and tribulations.  The thing that drew me into this show is that it always touches on prevalent topics in our society.  

This episode there was a scene related just to this topic.  The director of a modeling shoot was upset because due to scheduling issues, the model she hand chose could not make it, and her replacement was exactly what she was NOT looking for.  The director envisioned someone that would have empowered her younger self if she was to see the picture then.  Someone who was bold, smart, sexy- and “brown”. The model they sent was bold, smart, sexy- and “light”. 

When I was younger I thought being “light skin” was great.  My skin was easy on the eyes.  I was called pretty all the time.  My skin tanned. The list could go on.  But at 11 years of age I didn’t realize the danger that though process held.  I didn’t realize the segregation I was forcing between me and my equivalent black sister.  

To sit here and say I don’t see light skin versus dark would be a lie.  That would be the equivalent to what we now call white privilege.   The inability to see inequality because you are blinded by your own success and well- fortunes. I do see light skin versus dark skinned and not because I created these ideas, but because they were fed to me.  

Fed by society, fed by boys, fed by other girls, fed by adults, and even fed by children.  When I used to work in childcare, you could stand back and watch the way the little black girls clung to women that were lighter skin, had long hair, etc.  The whole nature versus nature thing is a different topic, but one thing is for certain society creates ideas and it spreads like wildfire.  Way back when, society created this idea that having lighter skin made you invaluable.  

Way back when, society didn’t realize the low self esteem little brown girl watching then, would be the furious adult brown woman having self- esteem battles now.  But see us “light skin girls” we have a battle too. Because I have to fight with you, my sister, because of something I cannot control.  But I will not apologize for the saturation of my skin.

I will not apologize because there’s this belief that society favors me.  But I will apologize that you feel oppressed.  I will apologize that you feel you are less worthy than me.  Because whether light or dark you are a black queen.  

The boys have a saying “bros before…” well you know how it goes, us women do not have that. No matter what we do as females we compete.  And quite frankly, I am tired of fighting with my black sister.  So here’s to creating our own Woman Crushes and not waiting for any man to do it.  Here’s to loving the skin we are in and not letting society have a vote.  Here is to you.  My equivalent, BLACK SISTER.

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3 Comments on "Not Letting My “Light Skin” Speak For Me"

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3 years 6 months ago

Thank you so much for writing this post!!! You have accurately described what I too observe and what I have experienced in my life. Where is the sisterhood??? Black women especially live to compete and fight over the pettiest things. I am tired. Why can we not be queens together? I ask many of these mind boggling questions myself. It comes down the subconscious programming and the indoctrination into this wonderful society of ours.

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