Black is Beautiful?

“It saddens me that my family will simultaneously say “Black and proud” and embrace weaves and relaxers, but I’ve also learned to embrace their choices and the insecurities that led to those choices.”

The quote listed above is from a comment that my friend Emelyne left on yesterday’s post. I felt that her words were so profound and strong that they deserve another post elaborating on the subject. In one sentence Emelyne lays bare the hypocrisy that is apparent to me and millions of other Black women: we don’t truly think that black is beautiful. The phrase certainly makes a nice slogan, and to this day we will utter it with pride. With our mouths we announce to the world that we love ourselves as we are; that we are proud of what we are and that we think we are beautiful. How can this truly be the case given what we do? To this day the epitome of feminine beauty among Black women is bone straight, shiny hair. We say we love our ‘blackness’, yet think nothing of walking around with the hair of South Asian women flowing from our heads. We love our ‘blackness’, but are addicted to the creamy crack, risking damage and burns every six weeks to disguise our natural hair texture. We love our ‘blackness’, yet we have mothers who eagerly watch their newborn infants for signs of what their final color will be and express dismay if their skin tone deepens. We are black and proud, but family members will discourage dark-skinned individuals from dating; marrying and reproducing with those who look like them, as our families don’t want more black babies. We cruelly taunt those among us who have the courage to question this mentality, the caste system that we fervently enforce among ourselves. Yet we have the audacity to say to the world that we believe black is beautiful? No, no; it’s time to end the farce. We can’t give lip service to Black Pride while supporting White Supremacy. If black is beautiful then we as a people must start showing it.

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