Isio Knows Better is an attempt to capture the shocking and highly entertaining conversation within myself. The conversations between my mind (the sharp witty one), my soul (the lover and the spiritual one) and my body (the playful one concerned with the more mundane things of life). She is the eternal referee between the caustic mind and the sensitive soul. This is Isio. So, here’s to making private conversations public.
I had gone to Ebeano Supermarket to buy a deodorant. I was fresh out, and they had the particular brand and scent that I liked, and so to this place I went- up the stairs.
From a corner of the aisle a man appeared to me, dark of skin and of average height he was. He appeared with gleaming eyes as he strode before me and said…
“How far Aunty? You wan buy cream?”
To which I replied…
“No, not at all, I am good, thanks!”
“Ehen?” He eyed me disbelievingly. “You sure?”
“Stretch your hand make I see your knuckles. I get something for your knuckles, e go clear one-time!”
“So rude he was,” I thought to myself. I smiled stiffly and walked past.
From that moment, I knew that I had to write about dark skin/light skin and the drama surrounding this black-on-black discrimination and colourism, but not from the stand point of condemning bleaching, as many have done before me. So much has been written about that, that if you choose to ignore it and bleach anyway, well then- that is your choice, as you have chosen that which serves you best- no matter how misguided this choice must be for a majority of the pro-black skin and the anti-bleaching campaigners.
That being said, this article is to sound arguments from the DarkSkinnedMafias and the LightSkinnedMafias, to bring to light how racial issues, social discrimination and profiling amongst the black communities are still an issue. To address judgements that have been passed against black people by other black people because of their shade of brown.
Let us start this debate. Team Light Skin, Team Dark Skin and the moderator – Ms Isio De-laVega the First… the blablabla of the blablala… You get the gist. Oyaaaaa!
Many dark skinned people accuse we the light skinned people of having a chip on our shoulders just because we are lighter shade of brown. Many of us are ignorantly accused of being stuck-up, dumb, cocky, lazy, runs (selling their bodies), a sense of entitlement, bleaching, getting more privileges and attention from the opposite sex, being badly behaved and being allowed to get away with it. Many of us are disliked and judged by others from the moment we walk through the door.
And what about us? Consciously or unconsciously we are being judged. We are told we are not beautiful enough, too black, that our black is dirty. That we should go get a bath and scrub our bodies well. People think we will have a bad attitude that will stink to the high heavens. They think that we are mean and spiteful and that regardless of the situation we will disagree. They think we are confrontational, hard to get along with and inferior.
But why are you so angry though?
Who is angry with you?
MODERATOR (aka Isio De-laVega the first blablabla…) Bursts out laughing. *catches the evil eyes of the LSMs and the DSMs and stops promptly*.
My bad, please continue.
You dark skinned girls are always whining about this and that. Like all your problems in your relationships are because some guy you like is attracted to a light skinned girl, like it is her fault she is born fair. There are men who love light skinned girls, just as there are men who love darker skinned women. It is NOT every time men approach us that they praise us for our complexion, some come just to get close enough to knock us off our “invisible high horses”. Even our so called “friends and family” would purposely exclude us when they go out because they fear we would steal all the attention of the men.
What you are complaining about is nothing. How do you compare that to the many times a dark skinned child born into a light skinned family would have faced ridicule, taunts and all manner of emotional abuse? It is absolutely unfair to have a black child growing up in a black community to be constantly harassed and ridiculed as being “too black.” The truth is that light skinned people do get preferential treatment, even here, in Africa and even in Nigeria. Oftentimes, we get overlooked when it comes to dating, and even at our work-places. How do you compete with Oga’s preference? Oga likes them yellow, with juggly tits and ass. It doesn’t matter that you graduated top of your class, or that you are the most experienced or efficient- you are delegated to working behind a desk while the lighter skinned ones are sent out for “sales/marketing/presentations and meetings” with clients.
A very dark skinned girl, with natural hair would be looked at as “unattractive, dirty, suffering”. And then you get silly comments like, “Ahan, why didn’t you make your hair? Oya come and take money to make your hair, we don’t want people in our office looking scruffy. “The saddest thing is that we are treated less-than by other dark skinned persons. For instance, go to a restaurant with a light skinned/mixed race or almost white person and you would notice how other dark-skinned waiters and personnel would embrace the light skinned ones with more warmth and heartiness, while we- the darker skinned persons would be treated with mild indifference and tense greetings.
Okay, let’s talk about this. Dark skinned girls always talk about how “Black is beautiful”, about how they are “TeamNatural”, “Black don’t crack”, “The darker the berry, the sweeter the juice”, “Black is BEST!” and what not… like you guys are the only legitimate BLACKS and/or Africans. You sound it off so much, so loudly and so hard, like you are actually trying to convince YOURSELVES that you are indeed THAT beautiful. If you are really self-confident in your skin tone and your beauty, you wouldn’t make so much noise about this.
We are all BLACKS, however, you are darker than us. You guys say these kinds of things a lot, and we ignore it, and the world says nothing, but the moment a light skinned person says, “TeamLightskinned!” “Light Skin is the best” or “Yellow Babes are the freshest!” Well, you can imagine the hell that will break loose from the DarkSkinnedMafias.
And why do you erroneously assume that EVERYONE who is light-skinned is bleaching? And more importantly, many (many, not all) of you who judge and condemn us openly are privately hustling around to buy the latest cream that will give you that “glow”. You delude yourselves that you are not “bleaching”, you are simply “toning” and maintaining your skin. You say you want it to “glow”. You might as well allow yourself “glow in the dark,” after all, BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL…
Eh! Madam Moderator, are you going to let her talk to US like that?! Last I checked, you are still a BLAKKIE like us, don’t be deceived by all those SPF 100 you use to smother your skin daily o! #HIAN!
WAOW WAOW WAOW! Plix plix plix Cool it! It is getting hot in here! I hate to say this, but the LSMs have a point though. If the DSMs can celebrate statements like “Dark Skin is the best”, LSMs should also have to right to celebrate their “Yellow is Freshest” without being attacked by the DSMs. That being said, I believe to a greater extent, the incessant sounding of the DSMs as to the beauty of the black skin is needed- if anything, to balance out the negative influence the society and media feed us every day about what is beautiful, and the subsequent struggles many dark skinned children (often) struggle with.
This often leads to a crisis and self-image issues of the dark skinned child. Why? Because they tell a generation of young susceptible people that they aren’t light enough, tall enough, thin enough or beautiful enough. These young people then grow up to be adults that rationalize these impossible standards and enforce them onto other people they encounter, thus creating debate where-in other people may feel offended.
At the end of the day, we are all BLACKS. Colorism is as real as racism and tribalism. Our bodies may no longer be enslaved, but our minds are still very much colonized.
DSMs and LSMs
This is not over, Isio. Let’s continue this in the comments section…
Photo Credit: LifeofAReader