Op Ed-Thank you to those who helped me realize that my black is beautiful


JTAC News 2016

Hilaree Foreman, Editor-in-Chief

*WARNING, A TON of blackness below*

For centuries, if not longer, whether some would rather believe it or not, stereotypical “black features” have always been seen as “less than”. 

Now I know what you’re thinking, “there’s no possible way that’s true!” Well I’m here to tell you that it is. For years on end, many dark-skinned people, not just black people, have been ingrained into their minds that there is something wrong with their darker skin. “Light is right” is what is said by some. 

Features that were shamed for years such as, big lips, hips and butts, are all now all the rage, and to be frank, what most skinny white women spend thousands of dollars to attain, Kylie Jenner and the rest of the Kardashian Klan immediately come to mind when I think about it.

Now before this gets started, I must admit that while I am a black woman, I can say that I have benefited from a “light-skinned privilege” that many of my family and friends don’t have the liberty of having. Having a black mother with very light skin and green eyes, along with my fairer skin, hazel eyes, and naturally sandy blonde hair, has given me a benefit to the to not have to endure the shameful colorism that still plagues many communities, including the black community to this day. 

Because I have some “European-related” features, I get the benefit of sometimes not be lumped into the “Well you can’t really black, you have to be mixed with something,” or the “Don’t stay outside too long, you’re too pretty, you don’t wanna get black out there in that sun!” I could go on, but you’ll be reading all day.

I’ve given you the preface to say, while I love the features God gave me, I am still a proud black woman. Wide nose and all.

Which brings me to my point: while I do have some features that are not as much associated with blackness, the majority of me embraces all of the black features that I have, although its taken some time to get to that point, and it wasn’t a journey that I traveled alone.

As a young black girl, I “developed” faster than most of my classmates, which meant I had almost an adult body at a child’s age and honestly I hated it. I wanted to know why I had to be the one to have the big butt and hips while all of my white friends and some black friends were able to still have a slender figure and not have to worry about wearing certain clothes because “It might give off the wrong message.”

From my father’s side, where I can reasonably admit where I got most of my features from, except my skin color, one of them is what my dad calls, “the Nelson nose.” I despised my nose, I really wondered why it constantly was just in the way, all the time.

I can thankfully say that I was never taught to hide or be ashamed of my blackness by my parents, although some do not have the same privilege. While I have “nappy hair” my mother never let me think think that there was something wrong with me because I have it, and never let me use the term “good hair”, to downgrade my own.

I say all of this to say one thing: be unapologetically black (or whatever you may be). You are not less than because your nose is wide, your skin is brown and your hair is coiled. Your skin is kissed by the sun! Embrace your 4c curls. Your beauty is your standard, and your standard alone, never let anyone else tell you different.

For me this journey of self love took several years, mainly in my adult years, for some they never discover this for themselves and unfortunately pass these mannerisms to their offspring, and the cycle continues. 

So whenever you’re in doubt, think of Beyoncé , she loves her baby hair with baby hair and afros and her Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils. And to be honest, we really should follow everything she says.