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Dark skin vs light skin: Self conscious vs self identity crisis

Updated on December 12, 2012

Why was I born with skin so dark? Growing up I was made to feel ashamed of who I was. Self conscious of my looks because "dark" meant to the world as being undesirable. I looked at myself and could only dislike the person that stared back at me. Jealousy and envy of those with lighter skin 'high yellow' was beautiful and being dark was ugly and unattractive. Trapped in a world that didn't accept the person I was because of how I looked.

"I'm not black you're black." these were the words out of my daughter's mouth at the time she was 3 yrs old. All I could do was stand there looking down at her and feel embarrassed by the eyes of the woman whom pretended not to hear but I could see her in the corner of my eyes...was she waiting for me to respond to see what I would say. I had no words. Of course my daugther wasn't black she knew her colors and though we label ourselves as being black vs white there is a difference. While I am not black but dark brown like a chocolate bars smooth rich texture, neither is my daughter she is much lighter than myself. Could I explain this to her- a 3yr old? How in depth would this conversation get?

Watching CNN pesents: Who is black in America? the only persons I could truly relate to were those persons that suffered from the back lash of having too dark of a skin color verses those that suffered an identity crisis because their skin was too light to be considered black. They fought the labels that society and our government places on those with lighter skin and native origins.

One of the show's cast members stated that she considered heself to be black. Being born in Egypt a part of Africa she felt as though she was black but because of our government's regulations she was to be considered white. Yet when it came down to acknowledging this such as on a college application she chose to check off white as being her race for she didn't want her desire to be black hinder her fom being accepted into college. Wow i thought how amazing to get to choose when it can benefit you to say I'm black today and white another day. Somewhat like the phrase of "gay being the new black" yes when it benefits you. I can't walk into work and not be black but I do have the choice to say if I'm not gay though I am. I can only relate to these persons need to feel accepted in society. Being who you are without being judged. Our greatest asset is to have people believe in us. If we are constantly fighting the battle of self identity and being self conscious of who we are because of how we look and or our sexuality we will never feel accepted.


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    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      6 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Skin color is such a complex issue in the Black community. This is a sad legacy of slavery where lighter was better. Dark skinned Blacks, particularly women, are oftentimes not viewed as attractive while the lighter skinned members are still idolized and more avenues are opened for them. Great hub, voted up! I have written similar hubs on the subject.


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