Im asking myself some questions, and I pose them to others who look similar to me in the black community.
I understand this is a sensitive conversation! If youre having a hard time addressing your privilege because you're angry with its repercussions, thats valid, and it takes time to figure out how to have the conversation with ourselves but we must. Our community needs to see us rejecting hurtful ideas.
What Ive been asking;
•How are you balancing the protection of your community through acknowledgement of your privilege, while coping with your anger at "the system" for categorizing you above your more melanated family?
•When did you realize you may be treated different because you have a lighter complexion?
(Even if no one blatantly said "its because youre lighter", its imperative we know how likely that is)
•How does this affect you, how does acknowledging it change how you behave or think?
•What are you doing to dismantle those ideas in your own mind?
Conversing with myself without judgment or fear allows me to ground our experience im not so triggered in these conversations, so that we know how to spot oppressive ideas without internalizing them. Without having a struggle olympics. Stereotypes are real. And while we are not defined by our skin, folx may see us that way because thats how theyve been conditioned to see themselves. Dark skinned women are stereotyped, light skinned women are stereotyped. Being in a space where someone is not choosing, or choosing you, based on your skin, is always a confusing space to be in, especially knowing your history, their history, world history. We are often not sure whether we are In spaces that are actually inclusive. These are the ideas that make us hate our skin. Makes us want to be lighter, or darker.
But toxic conditioning doesn't define us internally! From that knowledgeable place we can speak up about the realness of its affect on our whole community, and the brutality more melanated women face, instead of recoiling. If we really upset that our system places our lighter skin "higher" than our darker complexioned family, we gotta keep that same energy and dismantle those ideas we hate so much. Those ideas hurt us all.