Dark child na na

There is a lot of talk in blogland about a movie coming out that focuses on dark-skinned women and their struggles growing up while feeling unattractive and inferior.  When I first heard about the movie I didn’t really think too much about it.  As a light-skinned woman, I never had any issues with my skin color.  Quite the contrary, and to this day, I always wished I had a little more color to my skin.  The darker the better, I say!

After I watched the trailer, however, it did give me pause for thought.  I have a dark-skinned daughter.  With the time spent outdoors, she literally looks darker every single day.  And I think she is the most beautiful girl in the whole wide world.

I remember shortly after she was born, her paternal grandmother made a comment apologizing for passing her skin color on to her.  That made me sad.  I guess I forgot that women still had issues with their skin color.  I mean, it’s 2011 after all and to hear Beyonce tell it, we run the world.  I don’t think Bey specified that only those that can pass a brown paper bag test qualify.

I hope that as a child Regan never for one moment regrets the color of her skin.  Black really is beautiful.  I hope to instill a sense of confidence in her about her beauty.  Not just her skin, but her hair, smile and even her height.  I want her to walk with her chin held high knowing she is beautiful no matter if she is an NC 45 or a NW 45.

How do you instill confidence in your daughters?

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20 Responses to Dark child na na

  1. nylse says:

    i have 3 daughters all different hues. How do i instill confidence:
    Tell them they’re beautiful – i honestly believe most people are physically beautiful.
    Treat them like the treasures they are
    Focus on the inside rather than outside; outward beauty fades/changes over time.
    Observe how the important men in my life treat me (with love and respect)
    Display confidence.
    Don’t let others define you.

    I’ve seen the trailer, and I’m dark skinned and I can honestly say I’ve never struggled with the issues addressed in that movie. But each person is different, some are born knowing who they are and in some it has to be nutured.

  2. I watched the trailer with some interest as well because I am also on the lighter side of things with a dark-skinned husband. My mother is also lighter skinned and married a dark skinned man. So much like you wifey, I haven’t had to bear the brunt of a lot of commentary about my skin color; other than the standard stuff: “Are you mixed?” or something like tha t. However, I have darker skinned friends who have heard the “you’re so pretty for a dark skinned girl” while dating, even at our age.

    I mostly recall my parents stressing how important it was to be a smart girl and get my lessons so that I could get a good job. Never much about my skin color other than my dad getting teased that I looked just like him but he couldn’t put any color in me.

    I guess the best way to instill pride in any young girl is to stress how important it is to be pretty AND smart AND nice. All three attributes are VERY important.

  3. Micki says:

    The one thing that stood out was the girl that said that she felt good about herself until she heard her mother say something to the effect “Can you imagine how pretty she would be if she was lighter?”

    I think that parents have to be acutely aware of what they tell their children. Hell, I think that you have to be aware of unspoken signals. I often wonder what would happen if parents choose to emphasize/praise intelligence, personality, and good citizenship instead of beauty? What if parents smile genuinely when a child enters a room (a la Alice Walker)?

  4. Ms. Smart says:

    I don’t pretend to know the dark skinned struggle. But I also don’t pretend to know any C7 benefits either because best I can tell, I’m only considered ‘light-ish’ in Atlanta proper. I watched the trailer and talked to a couple darker friends. I’m not sure if they adjusted their stance to be politically correct but in separate conversations, they said those women must have chinks somewhere else in their armor of self-esteem. I found that interesting because I’d never heard that before.

  5. BK says:

    I watched the trailer with my daughter and her best friend. Both of them looked at me and asked do grown women really feel like that. I told them we would watch the entire thing together when it came out. My daughter is darker than me but still considered “light-skin”. Her best friend the same… I tell my daughter that she is pretty, smart and a has a lot of talent. don’t let ANYONE steal those things from her. Although now as a teenager her mouth can sometimes make her ugly I remind her that LADIES don’t do certain things.. she quickly changes her mood but eh it’s a process. Give’em love and continue to enforce they are great creatures.. works for me

  6. Krissy says:

    Well I tell my daughter everyday how beautiful she is. I want her to know that no matter what I think she’s beautiful. I’m shaping her now so that when she’s older, no one will ever be able to tell her otherwise and have her believe it.

  7. I’m the color of a hershey bar. I think my make up is 49 and 52 in the summer. I never had any issues as far as thinking I was less than because of my skin color. I have always wished I was skinny tho:) I think that skin color issues are something that is passed down from parents and other family, not necessarily from society. In other words, every dark woman doesn’t have that issue. It’s not even something I’ve had to “work on,” though I don’t proclaim to have super duper self esteem. I was never compared to my lighter cousins and vice versa, Of course I know people are colorstruck, its just never been a personal issue for me and I credit my parents and extended family for that. I have heard “you’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl” but it was from some knee-grow in a club.

    I’m excited about this movie but I’m afraid it will drive a wedge (jiggaboos vs. wannabees?) between black women and make it seem like if you’re dark you think “woe is me I sho wish I was light” kinda thing. I have noticed that most of my friends are toward the darker end and I wonder why that is.

    If you don’t make a big deal out of skin color to Foxy, she’ll have a healthy self-image. I would watch that grandma tho. But don’t be alarmed if one day Foxy simply notices the differences between your skin color and hers. Kids can be very literal. My nephew called both his paternal grandmother (my mother) and his maternal grandmother “Nana” To distinguish between the two he started calling my mother his “yellow” Nana and my SIL’s mother his “black” Nana. We quickly nipped that in the bud (he was 3 at the time) and now he says calls them his mommy’s mommy and his daddy’s mommy. It didn’t help that his Nanas hung out together with him all the time and that we allowed him to call them both “Nana”.

  8. nineteen69 says:

    I truly believe that skin and hair issues are passed on from family. I raise my boys to respect everyone and to embrace everyone’s differences. Differences make people unique, interesting and beautiful. PERIOD. We raise them to not tolerate any type of hate. I am certain they will grow up just fine despite all of the ignorance out there.

  9. CaliSlim says:

    My sisters and are are 3 different shades. My affectionally called us “butterscotch, caramel and chocolate drop.” I’m the caramel one. I remember my sisters being teased for being lighter or darker, so you can easily hear it at either end of the color spectrum. I remember people telling me my color was “perfect.” I guess cuz I wasn’t too light, I wasn’t trying to pass, and I wasn’t too dark either. And growing up in L.A., I have a lot of biracial friends who complained about being too light (and therefore always dated dark skinned men). While my dark skinned friends always dated the “light brights.” It really does run deep I guess.

    My mother always wanted us to have a healthy dose of self-esteem cuz we were also tall and skinny (which turned out to be a blessing, but hard to see when you’re a kid). So she put us in self-esteem workshops and dance classes. Also, one thing I really loved is she taught us that God made us perfectly in His image, so we could either worry needlessly about our (perceived) flaws, or just accept them and save ourselves some grief. It was absolutely the right way to go! I’ve been well adjusted for a while now! 😆

  10. Deljah says:

    My hubby and I have been telling our daughter that she is pretty and smart since the day she was born. We really try to build her up verbally. I am slightly lighter than my daughter, but not so much that it’s that distinct, imo. We’re both kind of in the middle to me. But then again, I tend to think that most people are in the middle or just some variant of brown. Some folks “claim” to be light-skinned, and it’s complete comedy to me b/c they’re really not!

    Frankly, I’m more concerned about hair issues. So many black girls are pressured to relax their hair and wear grown up styles at younger and younger ages, and I want my girl to stay natural and “a little girl” for as long as possible. Our hair textures are very different, and I want her to appreciate the beauty in herself and everyone.

    I watched the trailer, and I found it very disheartening. We need so much healing in our community.

    • Gladys says:

      Some folks “claim” to be light-skinned, and it’s complete comedy to me b/c they’re really not! – I’m baffled by that, too. I think it’s because they really want to be light so that’s why they say that.

      I remember family members telling me I should have babies by a light skinned man so that I could have pretty babies! I tell you! The paternal side of my kin are so confused at times.

      • CaliSlim says:

        I think it’s regional too. In California, where I’m from, I’ve been called dark, when I moved to Atlanta, I’ve been called light. I’ve always been brown, but I guess which side of light or dark brown depends on where I am. *scratches head*

    • That’s funny because I used to call myself “brown skinned” regularly and my friends would make fun of me and quickly correct me. I still think I’m more brown than light, but whatevs.

  11. ondrea says:

    My daughter is a shade between her father and I. Me being more caramel and him dark-skinned she is sorta like a cocoa color. She is beautiful and she is told that often by perfect strangers, as well as family and friends. I hope she embraces that but more importantly, I hope she sees that when she looks at herself.

  12. Gladys says:

    I honestly believe the intra-racial divide will never come to an end regarding skin color. Families pass it down (favoring lighter hued children over darker skinned ones), Hollywood (most of the “Most Beautiful” black women on any list are lighter) perpetuates it by casting the fair skinned black woman in a movie as the ‘pretty’ girl/woman, black men think they have ‘made’ it when they have a light skinned woman on their arm, and I could go on and on. I’ve heard the mantra “you’re pretty for a dark skinned woman” since forever. Not a compliment. At all. And the only people who have ever said this me have been blacked. Men of other races have NEVER rated my beauty by my skin tone. That tells me something. I have an aunt who is always saying how pretty my 18 year old niece Ariel is but she never says the same about my other niece Mahogany whose skin is indeed the color of mahogany wood. All these movies/documentaries can continue to be made and shown to the masses, but I don’t think it will really do anything. Change has to come from within. Within families primarily.

  13. Gladys says:

    “the only people who have ever said this TO have been BLACK” I need to re-read what I type, but you all read typo, right? 🙂

  14. Gladys says:

    Dang…trying to correct my sentence and STILL left a word out. Multitasking is not my thing this morning I see. “to me”.

  15. Honest says:

    I watched the trailer and am not surprised because I’ve heard some folks say harsh things. Luckily for me I’ve never heard a negative thing said about my color by family members. On my mom’s side they’re pretty light and on my dad’s side they run the spectrum. I do remember my mom saying how much she loved my skin color. I’ve had people tell me I’m dark skinned while others tell me I’m brown. Either way the fact that people are not on the same wavelength on color hues means they need to stop defining themselves by it.

    Do other races define themselves by their color hues as much as the black race? I’ve never heard a white/Asian/insert another race guy say oh I can’t date her because she’s too tanned or too pale or has brown eyes vs. blue eyes.

    I do think the media continues to support this distinction in the black community. Darkening OG to show how sinister he is and lightening Beyonce goes beyond the usual touch up done by mags.

  16. Carol says:

    I would love to see this trailer,how do I get to watch it? Where do I get permission to watch it?

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