In the past, fair skin was associated with beauty, and dark skin otherwise. It appalls me that we still live in a world where there still exists a preconceived notion that being “dark” is seen in a negative light.
When I was younger, I used to grow up having relatives advise me me on ‘remedies’ to make my skin fairer, I used to have classmates who would jokingly say they can’t see me in the dark because I’m “black", friends who think they’re complimenting me when they say “you’re dark, BUT pretty”. There are not BUTs, yes, you can be dark AND beautiful. I’ve overheard people talking about dusky women as well, “she can’t have everything, so she’s dark”, “thankfully my daughter’s fair”.
As a child, although I did get emotionally affected under many circumstances, I brushed it off thinking it was a norm, because everyone around me shared that same sense of humour. I didn’t dare speak up, for fear that I may be struck down for not having their 'level of humour', or for being overly sensitive. Many times I felt I had the obligation to justify my skin colour, by telling people I was fair as a child and got tanner as I grew up engaging in various sports. However, as I grew older, it dawned on me that it was a legitimate, significant and serious issue that ought to be acknowledged and addressed. We need to recognised that this is a problem that needs to be first discussed.
It’s hard to accept yourself when the world you live in fails to accept you and pinpoints what seems to be your ‘flaws’ or ‘imperfections'. What more, it's hard to accept yourself for something that’s technically in no need for acceptance. I believe that one should not need to love one’s skin colour, you should not have to accept and embrace yourself solely for the tone of your skin. No one should feel obliged to love yourself harder just because you’re of a darker skin. Everyone is unique, everyone is beautiful in their own special way. Your skin colour is not a ‘flaw’, it is not a ‘weakness’, it’s what make you YOU.
Let the notions of the past generations remain in the past. I believe that if we desire to, we can cease bringing it over to the next generations. Instead of building a generation of women who are preoccupied with their outer appearances, raise a generation of women who can love themselves and other women, for the beauty that radiates within each of them. There are many little girls and young women out there who deal with this silently, and I hope this serves, in a little way, a voice for them.