Please check out this post that my good friend Dr. K. E. Garland asked me to write for her blog’s “Self-Love” series.
Many of you may already know Dr. Garland as the author of The Unhappy Wife.
Well, in addition to that, she is also the Editor of Daddy, an anthology which includes stories written by women about their relationships with their fathers. Tikeetha Thomas, a well-known blogger on WP is featured in Daddy.
Both of these ladies are fierce in this writing game and I encourage you to check them out, if you haven’t already.
Also, be sure to catch the latest edition of the “Self Love” series as it is written by my dear sister, Michelle, who is also the very talented author of a love poem that I recently read on this blog entitled, “Present Distance.”
Brenda: Hey girl, how are you? I haven’t seen you in some years!
Random Woman: I know! It’s been a long time.
Brenda: Yes it has, by the way, let me introduce you to my friend, Eva.
Random Woman: (Very dry, cold and nonchalant) Hey Eva.
Random Woman: (Directly addressing Brenda) Ooh Brenda, your little girl is so pretty, how old is she?
Eva: (PISSED) That’s MY child!
Random Woman: (Slightly Embarrassed but still chilly) Oh, I’m sorry, she just looks more like Brenda to me.
Eva walks off with child (ME) in tow.
Yes friends, my mother, Queen Diva Lady Eva, was tee’d off!
Why, you ask?
Because ‘Ms. Random Woman’ assumed that I was Brenda’s daughter based solely on the fact that we shared the same skin complexion.
She never thought for a moment that I could belong to my mother–who was a shade or two darker.
It simply didn’t occur to her to ask.
Sadly, this type of attitude was nothing new to Mama. As a child, she had received whippings from a lighter skinned uncle for being “too black.”
Prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group–Oxford Dictionaries
What the Oxford folks failed to mention is that this phenomenon is a ‘carry-over’ of Slavery; having been birthed from the actions of slave owners.
In essence, slave masters created division among their chattel by treating them differently based on skin complexion.
The darker slaves were treated far worse than the lighter slaves. Because of their color, dark skinned men and women were forced to engage in heavy labor while the lighter skinned slaves were treated better–relatively speaking.
Naturally, the lighter skinned slaves were told that they were superior to their melanin rich brothers and sisters and both groups bought into that belief.
And there we have it!
A lifelong mutual animosity between darker slaves and lighter slaves…which sadly continues with their descendants today–albeit to a much lesser degree.
Let’s re-evaluate the scenario that I offered at the beginning of this post.
Notice how dismissive Ms. Random Woman was toward my mother.
She all but ignored her darker skinned ‘sister.’
‘Ms. Random’ never imagined that chocolate Ms. Eva could be the mother of a caramel colored daughter with long pony tails.
Of course, at the age of 3, I was too young to notice or understand the larger implications of this woman’s attitude.
I had no clue what was really going on.
Little did I know, I would continue to experience some form of this lunacy throughout my life as my father’s racial identity was, to the average onlooker, perplexing… to say the least 🙂
Lord, I got all kinds of questions like, “Is your Dad Mexican?”
And everything in between….
Oh, and then there were the really stupid questions like:
How did your Mom get a handsome man like your Dad?
Ok, that’s when I got rowdy!
All bets were off!
Seriously? What do you mean?
Do you not realize that you’re talking about MY MOTHER?
You better back the hell up!
I’m sorry guys but that mess really got under my skin!
Oh and if you think things got better as years passed…
My Mama often recalled a time when an associate of my Dad’s came by to borrow a drill.
Apparently, he peeked past my Mom, who had answered the door, in order to get a better glance at me and whispered, “That must be Jim’s daughter.”
Mama said, “Yes, and she’s my daughter and we have a son too!”
What an idiotic thing to say!
“That must be Jim’s daughter.”
It rolled right off his ignorant ass tongue without a bit of thought attached to it.
The fact that he knew that my parents had been married for 100 years added insult to injury!
Ah…but here’s an even more egregious example.
One day, back in 2012, I had been sitting in the hospital room with Mama for most of the morning.
Well, this black nurse, who had been in and out, and who had seem me sitting there the whole time, asked, “Has any of her family come by yet?”
What the hell do I look like?
Of course I didn’t say THAT but I did say, “Well I’m her daugther.”
Naturally, the nurse apologized.
I thought to myself….Here we go again…after all this time.
Still dealing with issues of color.
Mama caught hell for being too dark and Daddy caught hell for being too racially ambiguous.
Inspiration for this post came from comments between myself and these great bloggers: