Modern times claim to provide independence, equality and dignity to one and all. However, a wide gulf exists between utopia and the real world when it comes to discrimination based on color of the skin. This stark reality stares in our face through the thought-provoking and emotion-evoking documentary entitled, “Dark Girls”. A sneak preview was recently released and it promises to change our very perception of skin color by revealing the hard reality of color-
Black self-hatred exposed
Color-discrimination is deep rooted. Starting with advice from friends to clean the ‘dark dirt’ off their faces, dark-skinned girls have known no refuge, not even from their own mothers. The documentary narrates the tales of several girls who have known the pain of this black-onblack crime.
Recalling a very bitter experience, one girl in the documentary describes a conversation between her mother and her mother’s friend. The mother praised her daughter’s lips, hair, eyes, cheekbones and nose then finished with the sentence: ‘If only she was of a fairer color…’
Another girl painfully recalls asking her mother to place her in a bathtub with bleach to lighten her skin color so she could be accepted among her peers. Statements like, ‘You’re beautiful for a dark-skinned girl’, can be heard as some of the common phrases dark-skinned girls and women have been subjected to.
A psychological experiment and experience
The documentary also explores the biases that exist among black people both on the African continent and within the African Diaspora about the different skin tones. Preferential attitude and treatments are given to favor fairer colored blacks. The film features a psychological experiment that tests the various perceptions of beauty and intelligence when it comes to children. Among them, the doll test – where a child usually finds the black doll to be ugly, dumb or less desirable. The results are the same regardless of the child’s skin color. It is heartbreaking to see a dark-skinned girl pick up a doll that resembles her, as the ugly or dumb doll. It speaks volumes of the value she has already placed on herself as a little black girl who would someday grow up to become a black woman. This result obviously struck a chord with many directors who have described themselves as ‘colorifically-challenged’. They have been marginalized based simply on their skin color.
The larger picture
Sadly, discrimination not only occurs on a ‘white – black’ scale but on a much wider scale that is many times difficult to understand – and explain. Among Asians and Latinos, darker skins are frowned upon. The white-worship is the terrible result of years of colonialism, where dark skin was seen as a mark of being less attractive, unintelligent and mostly associated with lower class and standards. This is ironic considering the fact that there are millions of white skinned people who take pleasure and go to great pains to sun-bathe and frequent tanning salons with the ultimate goal of darkening their skin.
More than anything else, it is the self-criticism that is debilitating and hurtful. It is not agreeable when another community or another race of people condemn you based on skin color. But when it is being done by people you consider as your family or as your own, something definitely is not right! It is high time that people wake up to celebrate diversity because it is diversity that makes each one of us special.
About the author: Claudia is a blogger by profession. She loves writing about luxury and technology, such as an article she recently read on designbuzz. These days she is busy writing articles on free android apps.