I was born in rural Arkansas in 1980 the 3rd child of 5. I am a deep brown color, and in the summer I always get darker. When I was a little girl I hated myself and even wished I wasn’t born. I shall never forget my first day of kindergarten…”You can’t play on the see saw with us cause you too black!”
I was always being reminded of this by the black children. I was the perfect target for their endless taunts as I was sensitive and soon — thanks to constant humiliation based entirely on my complexion — I developed low self-esteem.
I always dressed neatly and spoke properly, so because I was raised in the country the girls and boys from the projects or hood would pick me out to tease on a regular basis. I remember my first best fried in 6th grade, he was popular and all the girls liked him…boy were they angry when he wanted me!
Three days later, after his sister’s prompting, he broke up with me. She said, “I told my brother to leave you alone cause black and brown look ugly together like dookie.” He never spoke to me again.
In 10th grade a boy teased a guy who liked me in class. He said, “Once you turn the lights off in the room all you gon’ see is her teeth!”
The boys all laughed. I began weeping uncontrollably. The proprietor of the joke calmed the class and upon the silence yelled to me, “Hey, lighten up!” The class roared in laughter, again including the teacher.
I failed two attempted suicides the following year.
My experiences have affected my life tremendously and I still struggle with self-esteem issues today. I bleach my skin at a cost of $1,500 per year, married a German-American and have an internal disdain for black men. I was raped by four black males at 17 and called a black dog during the assault. My white husband and I have light skinned daughters, and for this I am thankful. That is a portion of my story…
Actresses Tackle the Debate over Light vs. Dark Skin
In many parts of the world, people are judged not just by their skin color but also by their skin tone. The devaluing of dark-skinned women, which is discussed in the documentary Dark Girls, is something many African-American actresses must overcome. Watch as Alfre Woodard, Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad and Gabrielle Union tackle the complex issues surrounding people’s perception of light versus dark skin.
India.Arie sat down with Op-dog and told her about not lightening nor bleaching her skin for her latest single cover — (it’s not the album cover, India said she doesn’t know what folks will say when they see that) — but that it was all lighting and she wanted to look golden to match the theme of the background and her clothing and everything.
Yes, she doesn’t look like she’s been bleaching her skin from this video. And I agree that some of the melee that ensued was just crazy:
“This title will be released on September 24, 2013,” reads the page, with a fascinatingly updating photo of a woman with four different skin tones. I like the update.
And of course my DVR is already set to record the Dark Girls move premiere this Sunday, June 23, 2013.
Watch the world television premiere of Dark Girls on OWN. Tune in Sunday, June 23, at 10/9c.
Here are a couple of new videos from Oprah’s OWN of the Dark Girls movie that I hadn’t seen before.
In Dark Girls, hip-hop author and journalist Soren Baker, a white man who’s married to an African-American woman, describes his early attraction to women of all races—and shares his father’s reaction. Plus, another man in an interracial relationship discusses his wife’s skin tone.
Dark Girls is a fascinating and controversial documentary film that goes underneath the surface to explore the prejudices that dark-skinned women face throughout the world. It explores the roots of classism, racism and the lack of self-esteem within a segment of cultures that span from America to the most remote corners of the globe. Women share their personal stories, touching on deeply ingrained beliefs and attitudes of society, while allowing generations to heal as they learn to love themselves for who they are.
When one African-American woman traveled to Cancun, Mexico, with three female friends—two of whom she describes as fair-skinned—she says local men showered her with attention and complimented her beautiful skin. Find out why she believes her own people don’t see any beauty in her at all. Plus, Nalo Hampton, another African-American woman, describes how men treat her differently behind closed doors.
I do remember seeing this one before, when a woman spoke of her mom complimenting her daughter’s beauty, but then crushed her by saying, “Can you imagine if she had any lightness to her skin at all?”
Every little girl wants to believe that she’s beautiful. Watch as one African-American woman featured in the documentary film Dark Girls recounts the moment that her mother both affirmed her beauty and made her self-conscious of her skin tone. What did her mother say?
Last summer I found myself so upset over the American Express credit card collections division calling that I fell in my driveway, scraped my knee and went shoulder-first into the side of my minivan. Actually, it was probably a pretty funny sight to see if it weren’t so sad.
This summer, I plan to have my $42,000 total credit card debt totally eliminated, as it is currently being reduced by $910 monthly payments I’ve been blessed to give Amex each month as part of a debt repayment agreement. As my income dramatically increases, I plan to throw a lot more than $910 each month at that high balance, which includes paying more than the $315 I generally pay on my Chase business Visa card each monthly, too.
These are the kinds of issues discussed on the Share the Word Financial Empowerment website, which features writing from Glinda Bridgforth, author of Girl, Get Your Money Straight!
There’s also free family finance e-book on the website you can download for tips on budgeting and saving. I enjoyed the story of one woman who was months behind on her mortgage and another whose poor credit report caused her to be denied for a job.
Coming out of hiding with our stories about the times we let our debt get out of control can help others see that they are not alone – and as we use tools like these to help us dig out of debt together, it also helps us collectively as African-Americans to share the resources like the Share The Word Financial Empowerment platform is doing to reach the same debt-free, prosperous goals.
In light of the debt reduction topic, let me know what tips you’ve used to get out of your own depressing debt situations – plus any more tips for saving money in the comments below.