Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Dark Girls Documentary And What It Means To Us

Although  OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) is doing a series this month dedicated to finding our sons, in June the attention will turn toward women. Saving our sons is all about directing the focus of men and boys off the streets and out of trouble. We women will not be getting the same luxury. Instead of focusing on the video vixens and sideline chick lifestyle, the focus will be on skin tone issues.

This issue is being brought up by director Bill Dukes in his documentary Dark Girls. The preview can be seen above. The preview is sad. It shows just how deeply routed the issue of being a dark skin woman is. It's not even other cultures judging the skin tone. It is other African American women focusing on who is light and who is dark. Everyone at some point in their life took a second look at their skin tone and tried to figure out if it was acceptable to others.

I did, but not until college. How did it take me 18 years to realize that this was going on in my own country? I was worried about getting cute clothes, crushing on some boy, or buying the latest books. I was a book worm and around 10 did read a book called The Skin I'm In. This book hi-lighted all the issues of being a dark skin girl and being poor. It was powerful, but at the same time fiction. I didn't let it faze me.

However, upon college I discovered that some people were really obsessed with skin tone. Light was right in their mindset. I couldn't change my skin color though. By then I had grown to love it and accept it. It's a part of me. Plus there have always been bigger issues to worry about. People were also obsessed with cultures. No one wanted to claim to just be an African American. Everyone had to be mixed with something. It was crazy. No one could just say they were black and love it. I did and was laughed at.

Well okay, my opinion of my skin tone and what I should be mixed with has come a little into question. All these documentaries can make a girl think. There was a documentary a year ago where a 18  year old cried her eyes out because her dad never wanted to be in her life. There are the doll experiments where the little black girl always loves the white doll most because she hates her own skin tone. At the end of these documentaries we as black women are left feeling confused and sad about who we are. We're left questioning what the next person really thinks of us all because we have dark skin, kinky hair, wear weave made in Brazil, etc.

So how is this documentary Dark Girls supposed to help us? What is it supposed to do? According to Bill Dukes, it's supposed to create a discussion.

“[I hope] to create a discussion, because in discussion there’s healing, and in silence there is suffering. Somehow if you can speak it and get it out, healing starts.”
“I think the deepest part is we learned our own prejudices and we learned our own indoctrinations. We learned where our own standards of beauty came from, what were our preferences and why were we making those decisions in terms of women.”
via MadameNoire
But we've been discussing this issue forever now. When will a difference be made? See I love my skin color and I don't hate on the next woman's tone. When will these other women learn to just love what they have been blessed with.

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