You know, I discovered the trailer for Dark Girls almost literally the day before it started blowing up all over the web, and I had planned to do a big write up and explain my feelings about it. But in the long run, I don't think that a whole lot needs to be said.
The 10 minute clip of this documentary says so much on its own that I don't think that I need to add my two cents to the conversation. To me, I'm West Indian, and I'm black. The two are not mutually exclusive. And one of the things that I learnt really early on being in the US, is that the Afro-Caribbean experience is drastically different from that of the African American.
I've never had to deal with these things. I've never even really been aware of my 'degree of blackness' as it were. But seeing this clip, and listening to these testimonials.... it breaks my heart. I almost feel guilty for not having had this experience, and for not being able to stand beside these women and say "This line of thinking is damaging to me too." And that's ridiculous, and I know it is, but I almost cannot conceive that this kind of thinking is so pervasive. I've never encountered it. And the worst part is that this self-hate is internal. It's coming from us. Black men and women.
The most heart-breaking scene to me was of the little girl who had already internalized the 'white is right' attitude at such a young age. Isn't it sad that at no more that 5 years old, we've already taught her to hate herself? The two other clips that struck a cord with me were the clips of the young man saying he disliked dark girls, and the young woman saying that natural/kinky hair was nasty and disgusting. I've had my own struggles with my body image and what i thought was 'pretty'. When I was younger I wanted long blonde hair. But recently I went natural and started dreadlocks. the only regret I have is that I didn't do it sooner. Hearing someone say that; that I'm now ugly for a cosmetic choice I've made troubles me.
From the looks of this clip, this documentary is going to be powerful. I cannot wait for it to premiere and I will be first in line to see it. It is shining a light on an issue that not a lot of people focus in on, sumply because they do not see it as an issue.
In the mean time I leave you with this quote from a poster on the upcoming film's facebook page:
"If our beauty could be bottled and sold, it would be. Oh, wait they do sell it. Women getting injections for fuller lips, the new butt enhancing implants and risking cancer to tan skin as dark as possible. So, I am born with all that naturally and yet I am seen as less attractive than someone who buys all that? I thank God for making me, me." -Linda Caples
To learn more about the origins of colourism and discrimination based on skin clour, read this entry on wikipedia for some extra context about the same issue in other cultures.