Yesterday I got tearful and a bit angry while I watched the news. The way that society and media dictates what real “BEAUTY” is, what makes one “PRETTY”, or how you should look or dress in order to be accepted into a job or even a good school. The whole thing just makes me sick to my stomach. But on the other hand, who can blame the media or society for making us feel so insignificant and seemingly ugly? We can’t allow ourselves to keep on believing the stereotype when we know the truth.
We constantly bleach our skins, wear blonde wigs, wear makeup, and keep on teaching these lies to our children. We are the ones who willfully refuse to break the cycle. We refuse to change the channel. We refuse to spend our money to educate ourselves to know the truth about the most fundamental questions of who we are, what we believe and how we got that way. Yes, we refuse to change our mind set. So instead we live a lie and refuse to look within.
For almost three and a half decades I watched little black girls and young woman try to fit in to the status quo. I grew up around girls crying to their mama, “So and so said I’m ugly because of my hair” or it was the cry of, “So and so said I’m ugly because I’m a bit darker in color.” But not many parents sat down their children and declared their beauty to them.You hardly ever hear those words, “You’re are beautiful” coming from our parents either. 95% of the time our parents felt inferior because they too, were never taught or told that they were beautiful. And so their children now feel the harsh pressure to fit in with their self-identity.
I don’t remember any of our teachers in school instructing us as little girls anything from the curriculum about our beauty. I don’t recall any of them telling us that you’re beautiful and you’re filled with self-worth and values. The fact is they themselves were never taught nor told they’re beautiful. How can someone teach something to someone else when they themselves were never taught to believe that way?
In Jamaica what was taught to us from the curriculum was written for us but by not by us. Our colonist society and superiors had created what I called the inferiority chart. I was taught from a system which had a hierarchy dependent on your skin color. The esteem was based on five Grades of color: Mulatto, Sambo, Quadroon, Mustee and the Mustefino. You can read more about this in the following link: Defining Skin Colour – The Jamaican Colonial Experience So you’re either accepted as pretty or ugly. I remember studying this inferiority chart because I loved history. I’ll never forget looking at the chart and realizing mulatto were considered good looking because of the lighter color skin and the darker skin was considered less desirable. I still remember looking down on my skin to see if my color was anything close to that of a mulatto. Since the mulatto were given more privileges because of the lighter color of the skin this would mean good for me. The saying goes like this, “Yuh black stick, yuh brown stay around, yuh white it’s alright.”
This color privilege is too real and still has recent ramifications. My father passed away two months ago and my mom called me from Jamaica and we were chatting. I said to her, “Mama are you still sure this man was my father?” and she reassured me like the many other times I’d asked. I told her I couldn’t imagine why he didn’t want me. She quickly said, “Give Massa God thanks that he was your father anyways, because you get one good thing from him, your color. You better believe that your color helped you to get where you are today. You had good a complexion and nice hair.” She went on to describe how my color has helped me along the way because people accepted me and I didn’t have to bleach my skin like many of the women are practicing now. It’s amazing what people will do just to look pretty and feel accepted.
This caused me for the first time to think of the color of my skin in a different way. I listened to my mama, who was born in the 1940s, discuss how she was treated terribly but had just a little bit more privilege because she had brown color. Complexion was a real symbol of position within society. Grades of color were a social marker because your color puts you in a class, whether upper or lower. My mother’s words sunk in deep that day and my mind goes back to a scripture I’d discovered when I was only 9 years of age that practically changed my concept about myself. It was not my mother explaining the social status of her day, but rather the validation of my self-identity I gained from the word of God. I believe and agree whole-heartedly with (Genesis 1:26). We were all created equal in the image and likeness of God.
Ladies, when I discovered (Psalms 139:14), “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well”. Discovering this gave me self-worth, self-esteem and self-concept. Since taking those scriptures to heart, nobody could call me names and I believed it. These names were things like, ugly gal, dry head gal, picky picky fowl head gal. I just refused to believe in what was said about me. Ladies/young women/girls, let me encourage you today; don’t ever judge your destiny by the location of you birth or your race. The color of your skin and your hair don’t define you. Martin Luther King Jr. said it well “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
So, I encourage you to stop feeling negative about yourself; stand up straight, square your shoulders, FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU, learn to love your very own AFRO KINKY HAIR. Throw away the wigs, weaves and extensions; stop burning your glory with perms and chemicals. Take back your self-validation NOW! Embrace the natural you for once! Throw away the curriculum written by society and embrace the curriculum about what your manufacturer, God, wrote about you. The passage in Psalms reads “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Its a bold declaration from God, that we are good enough just the way we are. Let us teach the younger generation that they are beautiful just the way they are. Makeup doesn’t make you beautiful because it only covers up our flaws, when you remove your makeup and look in the mirror YOU should still love the person looking back at you. True beauty comes from within; it comes from a core place deep within where no one can diminish it but you. True beauty is a reflection of our free spirit and soul. Nobody can take away your self-image other than YOU .
Learn to love and accept YOU for who you are. 💕You are BEAUTIFUL, FEEL THE CONFIDENCE ABOUT YOUR BEAUTY BECAUSE GOD MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT YOU ARE.💕
Your sister in Christ💕