I believe that rap music is the bullhorn for "cool."
You want to know what drugs are cool, turn on your radio. Want to know what’s cool to drink, wear on your wrist/around your neck/on your body or on your feet, turn on your radio.
You want to know what women are preferable, turn on your radio, or better yet, look at recent music videos.
You don't see chocolate girls in music videos much anymore.
As a dark-skinned girl, the default aggression for dark-skinned men erasing you is: hate the fair-skinned woman. I have despised black women for their skin before, and I have despised white women for her presence among black men. I still wrestle with the latter.
I'm being transparent with my work to create a safe space for you to relate.
This chapter, titled Origins, exists because I believe that intentionally erasing dark skin from the preference pool among black men speaks directly to his own issues as a black man—specifically if those preferences exist with conscious intent. Keep conscious intent in mind as you continue reading.
As women, sometimes our response is to try and adapt to a popular preference (waist cinchers, butt shots etc).
Instead of course-correcting and teaching young black men the value of the black woman and her beauty across the ENTIRE color spectrum of blackness, when they are influenced by "cool" into the more popular direction, and we as women we can't adapt to the standard, we pass our anger onto other women.
As a black woman, redirecting the black man's misunderstanding of himself into a hatred against other black women is why we compete against each other for no reason today.
Why do we say things like "there's Indian in my family,” with no evidential proof, to cleanse ourselves of pure blackness? (This is not to discredit those who actually have true Native American lineages). Why do we neglect to own African origins? Why do we not include African countries on our list of dream vacations? Why do some of us remove ourselves from the slave narrative of our history? The part where we were separated from our home and then from ourselves, and again from ourselves and again from ourselves, through great-grand after great-grand until we land where we are now: fantasizing about making "pretty babies"—fair skinned, curly-haired, light-eyed, hybrid black babies as a goal?
You cannot live a better existence through the fairer skin of your children.
This year at a party a beautiful dark-skinned woman walked in the room, (the one actually pictured below), and the dark-skinned man next to me praised her for her beauty and in the same breath said, "I could never date a dark-skinned girl, cause I don't want my kids to be dark. I already have enough problems being black." Direct quote.
Another dark skinned man told me this year that he preferred light-skinned women because "her market value was higher." Direct quote.
I have heard with my own ears a black man say that his next girlfriend will be white because she would be, "easier to deal with."
I overheard a light-skinned woman once say, with pure disgust, that she would never have a dark-skinned child—all of her children would look like her.
It is a sinking feeling to be openly un-preferred even by your own.
What is the process by which a black man separates himself from the love of his dark-skinned mother and hate himself into a new, fairer-skinned existence to prove his viability—to intentionally increase his "market value?"
Dear black woman: a man is not the last say on what is considered beautiful.
Uproot that lie and love your sister, pour loveand understanding into a black man as he develops. That's how you reclaim yourself—that's how you uproot the light-skinned/dark-skinned war that runs strong among us and within us as sisters and brothers EVERY DAY, ALL DAY.
There is little we can do about what people rap about, but we can control our ability to digest it.
As you look at Origins, which is about the root of INTRAracial racism (black on black racism) ask yourself about the origins of your own preferences—if you have them—and how they came about.
Thank you to this chapter's models: Jamara Merrill, Jay Scott and Darrel Hancock