Too Dark for White, Too Light for Black

I am lighter than a brown paper bag, half breed, Oreo, Dalmatian, high yellow and a mutt by some folk's standards and beliefs. Who determines what makes black beautiful, unjustifiably catapults white or grants authority on which ethnicity is right?

Growing up in the 80's, I was always insecure and lacked confidence due to the color of my skin. In today's society, along with many other divided issues, "skin tone" is a topic that incites separation. Black, white, dark or light can create a thin line between respect and ridicule.

I can vividly recall through-out my childhood being taunted by my African American friends as well as being secretly despised by my Caucasian associates. One group judged me because of what I was and the other, because of what I was not. I was light in color with what some considered "good" long hair but I was not pure in bloodline or financially equal according to the world's standards. Most times, I felt disconnected, displaced and disowned.

It amazes me how some people have turned complexion into a cultural division and made it a reason to dislike or judge others strictly on the basis of skin tone. If you are dark in skin tone, you are automatically deemed boisterous, dangerous and in some cases, less than. If you are light in skin tone, you are deemed safe, calm and better than. I must admit, my light complexion often propelled me to victory in pageants as well as casting me in leading roles for school or church productions that would have otherwise required a Caucasian (according to society) to play the role.

Many days and nights I carried the burden of feeling inadequate and isolated. To have the ability to silence a room upon your presence, be considered uppity or be bullied simply because of complexion brought about confusion, sadness and loneliness in my life. It also created a silent monster within. I became a mean girl of sorts and at times reciprocated the treatment onto undeserving folks in my life. What brought about the skin-tone tug of war? I have many theories and opinions but the main conclusion is how petty, unproductive and scarring it can be for the victims (light and dark.) As an adult, at times, I can still feel the heaviness when faced with compliments or connotations about my complexion. I instantly feel guilty and sometimes revert to the little girl in bondage mentally regarding that issue.

The idea that light-skin is better has perplexed me since my awareness as a pre-teen. I was often held to numerous standards by the insecurities of others which then lead to my self-esteem being compromised negatively. All I wanted was to be accepted. All I needed was to be loved. All I dreamed of was to be included regardless of my complexion. In my light-skin, I cry just like dark-skin. I've been hurt, experienced rejection, love, lust, greed and challenges, just like dark-skin. My light-skin has been rewarded at times and reprimanded just like dark-skin. My light-skin wants to be "judged by the content of my character and not the color of my skin."

The complexion of my skin was an advantage and a hindrance depending on the issue in my life. I learned later in life to manipulate the disdain I carried throughout my childhood and use it to inspire my success, strengthen my stride and elevate my character. I'm no longer intimidated, dejected or disturbed by the color (or lack of) my skin tone. As a matter of fact, I have fully embraced it.

© Copyright 2014, Stone

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