Hey you! Happy new month! A few more days to go before we get to 2020, yay. Nay. I don’t know, I’m kind of shy stepping into a new decade, you know. Scared and uninspired I haven’t done much this decade but when there’s life, there’s hope, right?
So, how was the past week for you? Or the month in general. Mine was a blur of procrastination and depression but I’m doing my best. Really, I am. I’ve been putting off writing this particular piece for a while now, doubtful anyone is going to read it or take me seriously because there is like tons of articles and pieces and writings on this particular topic. Tons and I’m pretty sure you’ve read them. I am also sure that someone, somewhere is writing on it and not caring about the tons of others on the internet. People on twitter are tweeting about it too and since I’ve got a blog then why can’t I too?
In light of the recent events that’d followed this horrid video, which by the way, I regret watching, people have been having different opinions and takes on colorism. If you don’t know about this video then I’m so happy for you, you don’t know what the lord has done for you, man. I’ve been having nightmares about it.
Let me give you a quick summary of what the video is about. So, few days ago, someone posted a video on twitter. In this video, a woman, whose back is to the camera, is crouching in a kind of bathtub with steamy (what I thought at the moment I saw it) hot water. Someone grabs her leg and uses an object to peel off her skin. Her fucking skin, as in that layer of skin that hair grows on, the one that excretes sweat, the layer of skin that gives you colour, that layer of skin that protects you from the sun and ultra rays…yes, that skin.
It was more like scraping it actually, like you would use and razor on a table and begin to scrape off its surface lightly, I doubt if the woman’s skin was being scraped off lightly, though. I couldn’t watch it to the end, I ended the video and muted the tweet, it was too much for me to handle. And I can’t share it on here for you to see, I don’t care how strong you are, nobody deserves to see that.
People began debating that she did that, was doing that, letting her skin to be scraped off (in what I later found out to be some kind of diluted acid) was because of the kind of colorism dark-skinned women face in the society. Another take was/is that dark-skinned women are jealous of light-skinned women and want to have the kind of attention they get and that dark-skinned women bleach to impress men. Lol.
I don’t know why she did it but I do know that there was a time in my life when I never loved being dark-skinned. I haven’t known men then, no, and nobody walked up to me and spat on my face that I wouldn’t get the respect and attention I deserve as a human being because I’m dark-skinned. Nope.
I saw it myself. I saw it in the way people (read: my peers) would treat someone lighter than I was and it made me feel bad but I didn’t show it. From primary school to secondary school, I received that unintentional discrimination first hand. It was worse in secondary, where the seniors would be kinder to their light skinned juniors than the dark-skinned. It was the dark-skinned girls that did the hard manual labour on Thursdays, if it wasn’t voluntary. I keep thinking, if I wasn’t introverted and wanted to fit in more than anything, would I have bleached my skin? Yes. I would have. But I didn’t. I couldn’t and right now, where I am, I never want to.
Things aren’t as bad as they used to be back then though. After I graduated secondary school and finally had all the time to waste on social media, I saw that a new trend had joined the train of trends. Melanin Popping. A dark-skinned girl or boy (sometimes) would post a selfie or picture and caption it melanin popping. It was really beautiful to see, if I didn’t have so much anxiety for a lot of things, including posting selfies, I’d post a selfie and caption it melanin popping too. You love to see it.
Still, it’s just social media. Many dark-skinned people are still insecure about their skin, I’d use my brother as an example.
I have a little brother. I am dark but he’s darker. He goes to school and he comes back and he asks me, “Am I too dark? ” I’d tell him yes and I’d also tell him that someone else is too light but that person doesn’t feel bad about it, you shouldn’t feel bad about yours. He’d nod and tell me okay. He’s only twelve and I don’t know what he faces at school but I can say I’ve had a few experiences.
When I was in primary and secondary school, my friends would make jokes about me for being dark and it got to me sometimes, even though they were just harmless jokes…my little brother may not be seeing his as harmless.
Sometimes, when someone wanted to get to me and spoil my mood, all they had to do was to say derogatory things about my skin colour and they’ve succeeded. That was when I started thinking of bleaching my skin but thank God I didn’t, I wouldn’t be in any place to encourage my brother and you to love yours.
It’s sort of strange that after dealing with mild discrimination outside your home, you come back only to get it worse. My mother and as I found out, other people’s mothers too, complain about their children’s (dark) skin. I don’t get it. My mother isn’t light skinned but she isn’t too dark either but for as long as I can remember, she has always complained about my skin and my brother’s. I’m older now so I know where I stand and can ignore her, my brother on the other hand, is still young and it’s getting to him. I can see it but I won’t let it to.
I’ll keep telling him that there’s nothing wrong with his skin. Nigerian mothers are fond of attributing dirtiness to their dark-skinned children not caring or being ignorant (this one mostly) of how it affects them. It’s honestly annoying.
Everything I’ve mentioned above is something a dark skinned person you know goes through and it’s not everybody that has a strong enough mental capacity to endure and tolerate it. Deep down, you know that it’s light-skinned people most people would prefer in any setting. Before you judge or condemn someone for bleaching their skin, ask yourself first, if you’d in anyway, shown (subconsciously or not) the slightest disrespect to another dark-skinned person because of their skin color.
Yes, things have changed and people glorify dark-skinned people now, giving them compliments like; black beauty, chocolate and melanin popping.
A few people don’t and would rather dehumanize and disrespect them but they’re only a few people. They don’t mean nothing to you, ignore them and love your skin please. There’s nothing wrong with it, you’re as beautiful as that light skinned person you want to be. If they’re so confident in their skin and love themselves because of it, why can’t you do the same?
Your skin is not only dark, it shines and it tells your storyBrown Skin Girl, Beyonce.
Keep dancin’, they can’t control you
They watchin’, they all adore you
If ever you are in doubt, remember what mama told you
If someone disrespects or belittles you because of your skin colour, they don’t know any better. Ignore them, they’re insecure and just don’t know how to handle it. Look around you, begin to notice the dark-skinned people around you, find that one who is confident in their skin and adores it. Emulate that person, be that person. You can be that person. There’s nothing wrong with your skin. There never was.
I hear some people bleach their skins because it makes them feel better, they’re not seeking validation nor attention. Just like I want to feel better about my pot belly of a stomach so once in a blue moon, I jog, don’t take junk food and fix my sleeping schedule (I only indulge two days maximum).
So, it’s okay too, if that’s what you want but for the love of God, please do not lay in a bathtub of diluted acid and let someone scrape off your skin like you’re a fucking tuber of yam. Jesus. Do you know the kind of danger you’d be putting yourself in if you did that?
If you watched that video and you told yourself it’s the best thing for you to do because bleaching isn’t effective enough, please…don’t. It’s not safe, it’s dangerous. Do not fucking do it. Forgive my cussing but I do not know how else to stress this.
Listen to brown skin girl instead. Beyonce, Wizkid and Blue Ivy sang it for you.
You’re beautiful. Your skin is beautiful. You’re not dirty. Every shade of your skin is beautiful. Feel beautiful in your skin. Love your skin and most of all embrace every flaw that makes you, you and love yourself.
I remember seeing a dark skin appreciation thread last year, on twitter. Everyone in it was so beautiful, I couldn’t upload mine because of my anxiety but seeing people upload theirs made me love myself more. I was scrolling through my timeline, yesterday, looking for it then I remembered I bookmarked it. Go through the thread and admire them in skin just like yours.
In addition, stop (if you do it) telling a dark skinned person they’d be finer if they were lighter and a light skinned person that they’d be ugly if they were darker. Nigeria is already frustrating enough, don’t add to another person’s frustration, keep your unnecessary opinions and hot takes to yourself.
Thank you for reading.