Imagine for a minute you were born into a world where humans could fly and unicorns were the king of the animal kingdom. That you had your home in the clouds and survived on carbon dioxide instead of oxygen.
It is nothing like our world so your mind probably discards it as fictitious.
It’s not reality. It’s not the life we know.
In our world, humans don’t fly, the lion is the king of the jungle, and we survive on a steady dose of oxygen.
This is our normal! It’s the world we have come to know and love. But the fact is, things could have been much different if we were born into an alternate space.
This same idea applies to our perceptions of beauty and colourism. Imagine for a minute we were born into a world where the black skin tone was perceived as beautiful and white was not. Then we would have exactly the same issues, but playing out in reverse.
There would be darkening creams, and insecurities based on the whiteness of our skin tone. White-skinned girls in many countries all over the world would feel they were something less than beautiful.
People would come at them on their social media poking them to darken their skin. Aren’t they ashamed for being too light?! Do they not know that it is wrong for the body to take up such pigment? Why wouldn’t they do everything in their power to correct it?
But that is not our reality. We are here, and the light has not shone in favour of the black skin.
What is my point exactly?
It’s a pretty simple one.
We are born impressionable. Our minds are an empty canvas on which anything could thrive. Empty hard drives that could hold any variation of files and programs. Our ideals are defined within the societies we find ourselves.
Society conditions our thought process. It ascribes definitions to normal. It dispels ambiguities on standards.
We are clear on what she feels is right. We are bred to keep our hands off what she shuns.
We grow up accepting these definitions, embracing these standards. We teach them to our kids, they grow to believe the same things. They teach their kids the same things as well.
Eventually we become plagued by some of these definitions. Colourism is only one of the side-effects of how we have defined beauty.
The remedy is a simple one.
To curb these issues, we need to create new normals of acceptance. We need to embrace new ideals that do not favour stratification and segregation in any form- be it race, colour, or gender.
To let go of the filters that are definitive to beauty.
To allow our kids to be born into a world where they see black and white as equally beautiful.