I want to talk about colourism I always have but no one ever really takes me seriously because I’m Light skinned, but the fact of the matter is that light-skinned people don’t have it all easy like the rest of the community may think.
My colourism experience
I spent half my life on the island of Trinidad and then when I was about 15 we moved to Tobago. I am originally a Tobagonian so the move was not hard in the aspect of not knowing the place. My first taste of colourism at my new school was on my first day…bruh.
I am sitting in the staff room waiting for the principal to have me taken to my class and she comes out and says something to my grandmother. I had gotten my hair braided the day before because it was hard to comb. It would stay neat all week that way, but I saw her looking at me like I stabbed her mom the day before. She came over and greeted me, told me she knew my mother very well (Tobago is too small) and she would appreciate it if I don’t turn up to school with my hair like that again since my hair “is not for that.” I of course was baffled.
Apparently my hair was too soft for braids, braids were for real black people hair and I didn’t qualify. There began some of the uncomfortable moments that plagued the rest of my high school life.
At this new school I found out I was “red” which is a term used for you if you are lighter in hue than most black people. I was never called that before and I didn’t really like it. It grouped me in with a bunch of people I didn’t know and I didn’t understand why. I also found out I thought I was better than everyone else, which apparently is the idea that darker girls have about the lighter ones. I managed to make good friends at this school but even in my friend group there is a lot of “red gyal not good” commentary happening. I have come to realize that the struggles i go through as a “red gyal” had nothing to do with me as a person or my skin type for that matter. It is a brewing hate and misunderstanding on the other end. Lighter skin has meant less punishments, more perks for so long and darker girls resented it. It is still an idea that lighter skinned individuals are better looking, but that is not the fault of the lighter skin person. We cannot continue to vilify people because of how a society treats them based on something that was not even their choice or fault. As black people we need to stop separating ourselves from one another and unite, light-skinned or not. If you need an apology for how people treat you to accept me as a black sister then I’m sorry for the history, but there is nothing i can do about it now . I support all my coloured sisters in their ranging colours cause truth be told all our ancestors were oiled up right next to each other to be sold as prized chattel. We as black people are the ones who need to take each other and build ourselves up cause to be honest we are the only ones bringing ourselves down.