Today while browsing throught my facebook feed I came across a post from one of my facebook friends, in the Caribbean who works with children as a psychologist (I think – or something of the sort). She basically said she was surprised to see how in talking with a child the child spoke so less of the child’s own color and longed to be another lighter color, “White” to be precise!
Now those who know me well, know that this psychological condition, ‘internal oppression’ as on of the other commenters on the post referred to it, has been a burning issue on my heart and chest for quite some time. So I jumped at the opportunity to voice my my two cents and oppinion.
Her Original post:
“Today I conducted an interview with an 8 year old girl about her perception of the school, the family and herself. I asked her: “If there was one thing about yourself that you could change what would that be?”. She said: ” I would change my color”. This little girl has a dark brown complexion. So I asked some additional questions. She said: ” I would like to be lighter than you, as white as the walls”. Mind you, the walls in my office are white. So I am wondering about something. How does the average Statia child feel about his/ her complexion? Are our children comfortable in their own skin? What do you think? “
Im Very Glad that this issue has gotten some light by people outside my circle of friends! Its something that I speak very passionately about to all of my friends (of various cultures)!!!
Just to show an example of how surprised I was in talking to people, (Ill try to keep it short), A few months ago I was talking in a group of youth (early and mid 20s) with one older lady (40s-50s) and a few young adults (30s) – all from the Dutch Caribbean. The older lady had a daughter and based on our conversation she Literally said that she “DO NOT Want her Daughter (in her early 20s) coming home with a African”. She went on to mention why, and gave me a whole list of their features, (hair texture, facial features, colour etc) that she dont like, dont want in her family. Also saying things about “Fixing her family appearance”.
(To be fair, she did have a bad experience with one of her family members being involved with someone from Africa, but that was more of a cultural issue than anything else!)
Her main issue was with the Features of the black race! Now, mind you, she herself was Black (my color – and not the prettiest in the bunch) I never met her daughter, but Im almost positive that the daughter was not mixed either [wouldnt matter anyways].
Now, I gave that story to show that [this internalized oppression based on color complex inferiority is] not only in the kids, its in my generation, its in the older generations as well!
More recently I was talking to gentleman [from the Caribbean but] outside of the Dutch Caribbean who was also observant of these issues and we also concluded that the issue is even more complex when you look at [and compare] the attitudes of the Dutch Caribbean/Antillean islands and the other islands in the region – particularly those that have a high-colored majority population.
I do seriously believe that the answer to this issue lies in the lack of general and public knowledge about the History of the Black Race and the history of the Caribbean islands as well. And of course, how can we leave out the good ol’ TV and media who feed us all with the ‘White is Right’ image!
Sorry to had make this post so long, but as you can see, its something that Im very passionate about and glad to be able to voice my thoughts and experience!
Kinda long, I know but I was motivated to type it up. This automatically give me another idea for a series of workshops that I would design! Stay tuned… 😉