Last week I had a chance to see "For Colored Girls". To everyone's surprise, including mine, I didn't particularly care for the film. To be honest, I'm tired of seeing Black women portrayed as being sad, depressed, and hopeless. There was one line in particular that stuck out to me: "Being colored is a metaphysical dilemma I have not conquered yet."
I grew up with a father who was extremely pro Black. He took me to the Dusable Museum of African American History on a regular basis. We attended plays at the ETA theatre in Chicago. He purchased me books with characters who looked like me. He called me an African princess and I believed him.
As I grew up I found myself appreciating my brown skin, to be honest I wanted to be darker. I admired my almond shape eyes, forehead, and full lips. As I came into my womanhood I began to love my behind, hips, and big legs. I can honestly say that I am in love with EVERYTHING that comes along with being "Colored", Black, African American, all of the above. If the "Black is Beautiful" movement never occurred in the 1960's, I would be the one to initiate it today.
Yet it saddens me when I speak to my students who at the ages of 10 and above have already developed a metaphysical dilemma to being Black. I am confused as to where they are receiving these negative messages about being a Black girl.
I am fully aware of how powerful media is, but it can and must be overcome. This is a challenge to you: I challenge you to acknowledge and encourage the young girls around you. Acknowledge her dark skin and how beautiful it is. Acknowledge her nappy hair and how pretty it is. Acknowledge her and how wonderful she is. Take her to the theatre. Buy her books. Read her poetry. Introduce her to Shirley Chisolm, Maya Angelou, and Toni Cade Bambara. Share your stories. Listen to her stories. Intervene, so she won't become a grown woman with a metaphysical dilemma of being Black.