Keep Walking

Over the past few days comedian Kevin Hart has been in the news again regarding jokes he made about dark-skinned Black women years ago. Hart doubled down on his disrespect while making sure to point out that joking about certain groups is off-limits. Apparently women who share his skin tone don’t fall into a protected category in his mind.

Hart’s comments have stoked much outrage. As much as I detest Colorism I must ask though: should African-Americans really be that surprised at Hart? C’mon y’all let’s be real. From the time our boys are in elementary school they start cracking “yo momma so Black” jokes. No African-American reading this could tell a ‘yo momma so yellow/red’ joke because such jokes DO NOT EXIST AMONG US. But  deeply hued skin-the feature that most sets us apart-has always been a target, particularly for women. And denigrating blackness and women is a major element in what passes for Black comedy nowadays. Indeed I wonder how many Black comedians would even have careers without recycling notions of Black inferiority.

So no, my blood pressure didn’t rise over Hart’s latest comments. I chose to withdraw my money and support from brothers like Hart some time ago. Derogatory comments about my color don’t affect me the way that they did when I was younger. Of course I recognize that’s not the case for all sistas who look like me, and I’m very empathetic to that. I remember how much it stings to be targeted for one’s color by the men who have it too. But I had to force myself to COMPLETELY DIVORCE my image and my sense of self from what men of my ethnic group said about me. I’ve heard some mess from them:

Fuck you you black ass bitch!

You too black!

Blackie!

You ain’t even all that black bitch!

Crispy Critter!

So trust me when I say I feel it. But honey let me tell you: if I took all of that in and believed I would have been slit my wrists or jumped off a bridge from the pain of it all. I couldn’t change those who disparaged me but I could change my mentality and how I responded to them.  I brushed the dirt off and kept it moving. The idea that there’s anything wrong or unappealing about my color doesn’t cross my mind. To those who would say dark-skinned black women are less in any way I say this: kick rocks! We’re fabulous! There comes a point where you have to walk away from those in our community who think a certain way and just live your own life.

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