Don't Judge a "Book" by its Skin Color, Mistakes or Status
I crave to be judged by the content of my character instead of the color of my skin, societal status or past faults. In a universe filled with individual interpretations, stereotypes, profiling and self-righteous judgments, I wonder if one can truly be fair when assessing the physical appearance, past and present behavior or the infamous rumor mills regarding people. Because I am of lighter skin, does that mean I think I'm better than darker skin humans? Because I was a teenage unwed mother, does that mean I was irresponsible, lacked focused and didn't have a father in the home? Because I am divorced, does that mean I don't know how to commit or that I am unstable or unwilling to be submissive?
My lighter skin has caused me significant challenges throughout my life. Being brought up in a household with all dark-skinned family members, afforded me the opportunity to be strengthened, understand my heritage better and awaken my purpose. I never thought I was better than anyone, "they" thought it for me. I believe that perception derived from the slavery days when lighter skin WAS treated better and elevated by the slave owners. In today's society, it is still a mental unspoken "elephant in the room" thought that at times, exposes itself in debates, arguments and the ongoing trial of "Light versus dark." Being the wife (now ex) of a former NFL player, I constantly heard, and still hear, about "successful black men picking lighter skinned OR white women" after their climb to success.
My story was quite different. I dated my ex in high school. We were together for two years PRIOR to him going to the league and even though I eventually drove BMW's, I was also with him when he had a vehicle that would leak rain on me. Not to mention I weathered many financial, emotional strains with this man I called my high-school sweetheart. But nobody cares about that... "They" saw a light-skin female with a celebrity-status black man.
Being an unwed teen mother fielded lots of negative energy, harsh comments and emotional stress for many years. Nope, I did not grow up with a father in the home BUT, I had an awesome grandfather that loved, respected and uplifted me constantly. I was raised by my grandparents and had many positive influences around me. Society in the 70's and 80's believed and displayed the old adage, "It takes a village." The fact that I was pregnant at a young age was in no way a reflection of relaxed rules, lack of supervision or under-achiever qualities. My grandparents ran a tight ship, were around all the time and instilled the morals and values in me that eventually HELPED me get back on track from the mistakes I made in my life. But nobody cares about that... "They" saw a teenager, unwed, black female from a modest upbringing and that automatically made me a flawed statistic in their assessment.
The decision to divorce was a difficult but necessary one in my life. I was married for 6 years but we dated and lived together for 5 years prior to the nuptials. We would separate often and at times the relationship made me act in bizarre and out-of character ways. However, I don't agree that the "stigma" which accompanies divorcees is entirely true. We married and governed that marriage by juvenile standards and had a lifestyle that required wisdom and maturity in order for it to be successful. Unfortunately, neither of us had grown to the point nor adhered to the wise counsel around us to handle the responsibilities, tasks and situations in our day to day lives. For me, commitment has never been an issue. I mastered it as a child and have done it religiously every day since April 25th, 1988 when my first child was born. Anyone and anything I commit to, I see it through till the end. Even though sometimes the end may not be the result I was hoping to achieve.
Being "stable" was a challenge. My grandparents never discussed divorce, never separated and worked through their many tribulations. I guess my pride, lack of wisdom and inner struggles aided in my instability chapter. There were many important AND unfounded reasons I chose not to honor my vows. The submissive piece isn't an issue, as long as the subject I am submitting to is respectful, consistent, fair and selfless. I believe all submission is "conditional" unless it is in a master-slave context. It would be quite challenging to follow the lead of one that does not value your presence, perceptions or progress. But nobody cares about that... "They" equate my "marital status" with being dominant, unruly and a feminist.
Most times it is wise to not pass judgment or be critical of a person but yield to understanding their story, in its entirety. Go beyond the cover (skin-tone, rumors, perceptions and past decisions.) It will usually reveal a story with similar fears, vices and pain just like YOUR book of life.
© Copyright 2015, Stone
Share your thoughts about this article below.
Past Articles by Stone
Back to Columns Page