It took me a while to see how our own communities could be “racist” towards our own kind. I think the micro-aggressions felt so normalized that I didn’t pay attention.
“Your skin is so light and pretty, don’t go outside too much or it’s going to get dark!”
“You don’t want your skin to get dark because you’ll look dirty.”
As a young girl, I remember being praised for having “lighter” skin. My father is dark skinned, my mom is light skinned. I came out pretty fair. And obviously being young, I enjoyed being complimented.
It wasn’t until I started dating my husband in high school that I noticed just how deep rooted colorism was in our Hispanic community.
My family would make comments like wow you found the only Mexican in that school, or why couldn’t you find a white boy with light eyes. They’d consider these “jokes”. Not understanding that their racist comments could make someone else grow up with that same racist mentality.
I loved my boyfriend. And I still do but as my husband. I loved his brown skin. His dark eyes and hair. I was attracted to him. Not because of the color of his skin but just because I thought he was beautiful. When we first started dating, not once did it cross my mind “he’s brown. He’s Mexican. He’s not light skinned.” I literally just looked at him and fell in love with who he was.
His family would make comments about me being pretty and having light skin as well. I felt like I was only pretty because I had light skin. Like what am I if I’m brown? Does my worth and value go down?
When we had our first, his skin was such a big deal, it was frustrating. Everyone was “wondering” if he’s going to have my skin or his. “I hope he has your skin!” What kind of hope is that? I hope he’s happy. I hope he’s healthy. I hope he is kind.
From growing up with families that had their colorism so ingrained into their brain, I think we’ve done a good job at loving ourselves as we are.
Not once did my husband or I feel the need to say we hoped our children looked a certain way. I love him, endlessly. If my kids looked like him, with browner skin, I would be just as overjoyed as I am now. Nothing changes. The color of their skin is beautiful because it makes them who they are.
They have beautiful dark hair, they have beautiful brown eyes. Their skin is beautiful whether it’s lighter or darker brown. And I will teach them that they’re worth has nothing to do with what they look like or their skin.
All the Latinx news channels, novelas, movies only portray latinx people as being light skinned people with light hair and light eyes. While that’s some people, they’re missing a HUGE chunk of representation. They’re missing the beautiful brown men and women, with darker skin, and thick black straight hair. The ones with eyes so dark, they’re black.
We need to ingrain this into the minds of our parents, grandparents, our children. If we taught them that the skin that they’re in is beautiful, there wouldn’t be so many latinx girls and boys who put their lighter counterparts up on a pedestal. They wouldn’t feel less because of their darker skin. They wouldn’t feel the need to date or marry light people because they need to “fix” their family. There is NOTHING to fix. We are brown and beautiful! I wish every single day of my life my parents would have said this, instead of pressuring us to date white people.
I wish they would’ve seen the worth of our people. I wish they would’ve told me that I was beautiful just because I was. I wish I wouldn’t have been afraid of going outside because I was scared to get dark. I lost my sense of adventure when I was 13. Because I wanted lighter skin. I wanted straighter hair. I wish they taught me to love me for who I am.
It took years to tear down what they’ve done. And I want to tear it down and stop it from cursing our community with hate. We all need to love ourselves for who we are. What skin God gave us.
We need to end racism, and colorism.