This concept of black on black haterism, I believe, stemmed from the times of slavery when darker slaves were made to work out in the fields while mulattos and lighter slaves maintained coverage of the master’s house. The tradition continued with sororities being rivals such as the AKA’s and the Delta’s who divided themselves based on shades of brown. A philosophy so pathetically discriminate that film maker Spike Lee created a spoof of this ideology in his movie “School Daze.” We all remember the musical scene of the dark skinned, natural hair wearing “jiggaboos” fighting it out with the light bright, straight haired and weave wearing “wannabees” singing about good and bad hair. That scene epitomized the discrimination held across historical black college and universities which are the foundation of African American intellectual culture.
As the tradition continues to this day, it behooves me to wonder, Hatin: Is it conditioning or jealousy? As my girls and I openly explored the topic of black women hating on other black women because one may be lighter or have longer hair, or for myself strutting down the street in a pair of GAP jeans and an Indian print halter top, we could not come up with a valid and logical reasoning for the sneers, jeers and upside down smiles. The only purpose we came to a consensus regarding this heinous crime against self: Jealousy. Yet is this haterism truly based upon the competitiveness and fearfulness of envy?
In my reflection of light skinned vs. darker skin, straight hair vs. kinky hair, made up women vs. natural women I realized that the wounds of self-hate runs deep. The generational curse had been formulated in the minds of African Americans that the closer you are to white the better your opportunities. Take the movie “Imitation of Life” where the character Sarah Jane was so fair-skinned she passed as white only to ridicule and reject her dark mother just because the life of the white family they resided with appeared much happier. As times have changed and segregation has been abolished, we as a society are still hung up on color thus maintaining that gap of light vs. dark.
The other side of the coin is the little green eyed monster that consumes us all. Jealousy, which is mostly based upon fear, of not measuring adequately, remaining unnoticed or being left behind altogether. We let that ego fear take over our intellectual and rational minds only to retreat in an infantile state of being. Never once do we stop and ask ourselves: Why am I hatin? While I was down south, I was thrown into a culture shock. I actually experienced women giving me a compliment and it made me chuckle as I often stated with a shrug “what these old things.” In actuality my shoes which were the focal point of my outfit¸ happen to truly be old, over a decade as a matter of fact. Yet during that decade of residing in the Midwest, wearing my open toed, bling out sandals never afforded one, simple compliment. As I basked in my euphoric state, bliss did not reside long for once I returned home the reconnection of the cynical, non-intellectual talk of jealousy reared its ugly head “she must think she cute” followed by the nervous laugh because deep down my mockers were aware of their ignorant statements. My high came down and I was jolted back into the reality of African American Female Haterism.
Not only was I angry from such asinine remarks, but I was deeply saddened at the thought processes developed within us as black women. In a society where we are demonized by the media, condemned by African American men, mocked by other races, and essentially despised by all, must we females continue to envelope that hatred within ourselves only to overtly display acts of self-inflicted pain? I must say it is a very difficult inner struggle to look at poorly depicted images of self and not be consumed with apathy. The darker woman playing the role as a maid, single and bitter mother or ghetto fabulous sistah girl while lighter women play the role as the main love interest being showered with great clothes, picnics in the park and of course fabulous shoes.
Ladies I say now is the time we must reclaim ourselves and each other. e must be willing to say “it’s okay to wear our nice clothes to places other than work, church and the club.” Now I’m not talking about wearing heels to cook dinner, after all this is not 1950’s June Cleaver “Leave it to Beaver” but of course if that is what you are comfortable doing, I say do your thing. Instead I am proclaiming that we must tell ourselves it’s all good to wear make-up and jewelry as well as have our nails and hair done without the thought of trying to lure a man. We must give ourselves permission to purchase that 1940’s satin nightgown and wear it to bed for self. To put it plainly ladies, let’s get into the practice of self-care, self-esteem and self-love so that we may radiate and appreciate one another for all that we are. The evolution is love: love for self, love for each other, and love for all.
If you feel good, it makes it easier and effortless to exhibit goodness and kindness
to others. Let’s help each other out, whether it’s doing a friends hair and makeup when she is unable or smiling at a perfect stranger and saying “I love your look.” End the cycle of self-loathing and self-hatred in order to walk erect, proud as a peacock in our entire splendor. Stop hatin on ourselves and each other not just for this generation but for the next. Remember trying to tear someone down does not build you up; it only leaves two people broken instead of one. Like the ending of “School Daze” proclaim “Please, Wake UP!”
This is where I say AH
Peace, Love and Bliss