My (ex)husband and I were barely married six months when he told me about a conversation between him and his mother. His mother had run into a female they hadn’t seen in years.
Then a bomb was dropped on me.
My ex said that his mother told him the girl was light skin and still had “all that long pretty hair.” Then she told him that that’s who he should-be married to. And that they would’ve had some pretty kids.
Hold up. Wait a minute. What the hell?
So I asked my ex what his response was to his mother. He said he told her that he hadn’t seen the girl since first grade.
“REALLY? You have got to be kidding me. You mean to tell me that’s all you said to your mama?” I said way more than that, of course.
That was the day I learned my (ex)mother-in-law was color struck and hair struck.
I told my ex how I was hurt by what his mother said, and that he should be too. I told him that not only was she calling his wife (me) ugly, but that she was also implying that our future kids would be ugly.
I eventually got over it, probably because I didn’t live with her and therefore, I didn’t have to deal with her if I didn’t want to.
Fast forward two years when I had my son. My ex is light skin and I am dark skin. Our son is light like his dad. Well, my ex has a female cousin who is mixed. She had a baby boy a few days before my son was born. The baby’s father is white.
Are you ready for some more bullshit? Well here goes.
Knowing that my (ex)mother-in-law is plagued by colorism, I knew she would be tickled pink that her grandchild was light skin with a head full of hair.
Nope. Not at all.
She was busy doting on, and bragging about her nephew’s BLOND HAIR and BLUE EYES.
One day I went to an event and took my infant son. People that knew my ex in-laws swarmed around us. They were happy to see him and started holding and passing him around like a collection plate.
My ex mother-in-law was at the event. She came over to where we were and took the spotlight away from my son and me. She started telling them how they should see (nephew’s name) because he had blond hair and blue eyes. They looked at her as if she was crazy and continued loving on my son. She started back up again by asking if they knew her niece and that she had a baby boy a few days older, and that he had blond hair and blue eyes.
My son’s hair was so long that I kept it either braided or picked out into an afro. His grandmother wasn’t satisfied. She bragged on her nephew, but looked down on her own grandchild. Yes my son is light skin, but she loved talking about his “nappy hair.”
I put up with that bullshit for a few months to give my ex time to grow a pair of balls so he could defend his family. That’s when I started to see how weak he was. Afraid to stand up to his mother. I wasn’t though. I keep to myself, but will get you told when I’m pushed to it.
Colorism is real and it’s even worse within the black community. Blacks are quick to yell racism, but we look down on our own. This light skin vs. dark skin thing has gone on long enough.
I have seen an increasing number of posts on social media about colorism over the past couple weeks. Sometimes I comment, other times I scroll past because I get angry all over again. I cried as I commented on a post last week. I had briefly shared the two stories above.
Black women produce children of all colors and shades.
Earlier I mentioned that my (ex)husband is light skin and I am dark skin. Well, we have two children. The oldest is light and the youngest is dark.
My oldest has gotten darker over the years from being out in the sun. But when he was younger I was often asked where did I get a white baby from, or how did I get a light skin baby.
The first time I experienced colorism was when my ex told me the remarks his mother made about the light skin girl. I weighed 120 pounds and wore a size 6 when I met him and his family. I had long and thick jet black hair. I may not be that itty bitty size anymore, and my hair isn’t as long as it used to be, but I am as beautiful now as I was back then.
What people, especially in the black community, need to learn is this:
It does NOT matter if you are light skin or dark skin. Your skin tone does not make you ugly. It’s your ways that make you ugly.
Feel free to comment below or send me an email anytime.
La Cracha Handy is a blogger and divorced mother of two sons, ages 16 and 12. She is currently working on branding herself as a nonfiction author of marriage and divorce, relationships, and parenting including children with special needs. Her first book, Leaving the Hidden Path: Motivational Guidance for Women with Young Kids Considering Divorce, will be released September 2020.