Saturday, July 28, 2007

19 comments:

Ebony said...

oh kizzie. As a very dark skinned (think Alek Wek...especially after playing around in the sun) and extremely "nappy" hair. I totally feel you on this. I grew up being called every single negative name in the book.

We are not born with an inferiority complex filled with insecurities and self hatred. It's implanted in us by others...even friends and family. I remember a very brief time in childhood where I didn't understand color and how important have long shiny hair is. Until others "showed me my place." And it's something that I still struggle with, very much to this day.

It's just not that easy at all when you look around you and what is "seen as beautiful" is constantly not...YOU. Plus being constantly told that you're not it. Even in "joking."

You know? I am part of a natural hair forum for black/african americans (nappturality.com) and you'd be surprised just how deep the pain when you read about these women's struggles with their hair...and many cases their skin too, if they are from the darker lot..

But I do agree that we need to work on those insecurities ourselves, because it'll be difficult for others to see our beauty we continue to damage it through hair relaxers, weaves, wigs, bleaching/whitening creams etc...we should carry it without shame (even if it hurts. lol) because to hide it shows the world that there is something ugly that needs to be put away.

It's sad. :(

Sudan said...

Nice piece Kizzie,

It takes some guts to write what you wrote about. Thank God you do not have the inferiority complex and you like your hair just the way Allah or God intended it to be.

I think the problem especially with black or dark skinned muslims is not that they feel inferior, it's that those who are lighter skinned look down on EVERYONE darker than they are!

If you have a sister who is lighter toned than you are, you light-skinned relatives will surely like the other more than the darker one, no matter how beautiful you are...

and so on so on... don't want to prattle too much.

the sudanese return
http://sudanreturnee.wordpress.com

Kizzie said...

Ebony u inspired this topic.
I always thought about it but after reading your facebook msg, I knew what I wanted to say.
Thank you, I'm still writing your reply:)

Kizzie said...

Sudan,
somebody had to say something about it.
"I think the problem especially with black or dark skinned muslims is not that they feel inferior, it's that those who are lighter skinned look down on EVERYONE darker than they are!"
This is usually true! Since most muslim sudanese do not fit in the middle-eastern picture, they don't just accept themselves,they try changing themselves!

interesting blog

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

'I read an article written by a Nigerian intellectual once related to this topic. He basically blamed some African problems on our inferiority complex. He said that we think of ourselves as inferior all the time. Our self-esteem is low. IT IS'

There is truth in this.
Interesting how Caucasian people like to tan themselves and use artifical creams or sunbeds to acheive that result.

It could also be the attraction of difference. I find darker women attractive, but am very pale myself.

I suppose these would be issues in the Sudan, with its pivotal position bewtween the arab world and Black africa.

Kizzie said...

Crushed by ingsoc,

mixing with the arabs, turks, egyptians etc... created a confused population. Arabs,africans,afro-arabians,light-skinned nearly white turks descendants etc..
There is a cycle when it comes to discrimination. a certain group discriminates against one group and this group take it out on another group.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

It is interesting to comtemplate the development of the idea though.

Yes, I think there is a knock on effect.
For example, I often suggest that in a gobal context (I see this as essentially a gobal community now), we have a gobal class structure.

The west are the bourgeouisie, and treat the rest of the world as lumpenprolteriat.

In the west, discrimination and hatred to other groups is most shown in our our disenfranchised communities.

Discriminating on the basis of colour seems to have originated in Spain, during the reconquest from Islamic rule (white being proof of ancient Castilian blood) and carried to the New World.

Why do you think it became part of sudanese culture?

The Randomness said...

KizziYou have a great blog going on here. I am Zimbabwean and our problem is vice versa. I am black and dark love my natural hair. I had been relaxing it for a long time but came to a realisation that after a couple of years, I could get a cancer or something from all that lye!

I digress. In Zimbabwe (at least when I used to live there before the politics ran me out), it was not a good thing to be coloured (mixed). Reason being, some of the black people call you a half breed and most of the white people wont even acknowldge you for fear of "shaming the family". My best friend suffered immensely. She has a black mother and white father. She did not like her long curly hair, hated her skin colour (she is very fair) and absolutely hated her last name. She did everything from braids to hats just to hide her hair. Of course it wasnt disguised by no means but if she felt that it wasnt as apparent then we were all happy. She is older now but all that hurt is beginning to affect her in many ways.

In Zimbabwe you will not find a light skinned person looking down on anyone. Instead they will be teased and called those ugly names like half breed or coloured.

I am responding to your post because you said you were writing to the whole of Africa. I just wanted to throw in my perspective about how other cultures in Africa carry on.

I personally am fighting a one woman war on why people should insist on looking at Africa as if it is a village with one chief. People do not realise that it is CONTINENT - albeit with 52 odd countries - and not a country. I got into it with a girl at school because she said it was a town and when I tried to correct her she became very condenscending to me. The ignorance throws me off. I am fiercely proud of who I am and what I stand for and am not about to be disrespected because someone is lazy to pick up a book and educate themselves.

Your next instalment could used to be on explain what Africa really is and how different and diverse it is.. I am looking for deals to do an AFRICA FOR DUMMIES edition. I am tired of all the ignorance. Please do let me know when and if you decide to do this project.

Keep up the good work.

http://therandomn.blogspot.com

Kizzie said...

The reason why I said I'm going to talk about Sudan and every single african country is because I don't know how this issue affects other African countries. Thannks for enlightening me about the situation in Zimbabwe.
I knew that Zimbabwe will be different, like South Africa. The coloureds/mixed people are confused, lost in between, in the grey area.
I just came back from the United States and yes people have a completely wrong idea of things there. I heard comments such as "does anything good happen there" " I'm glad you are not there!". Ok, we have problems, alot of them but if you know anything about the present situation, things are getting better atleast in some parts! I wrote a post about the so-called helplessness of Africa before. I was pretty angry writing that post.
great idea !africa for dummies, this is perfect!
I'm reading a book now called the fate of africa. It's amazing! The writer actually lived in africa.

Ebony said...

Hmmm, just to add on what I said earlier...Sorry I ramble... And i didn't even notice that you dedicated this to me. :) Thanks hon!

Besides having an inferiority complex, which I totally agree on (and I pray to see the day that a lot of us break from it). I (generally speaking) also wonder how it's possible to manage to rid ones self from such a complex if they are constantly put down by something that is beyond their control (i.e. having the wrong skin color). I mean, I can absolutely love who I am, all I want, but if I constantly keep getting put down, mocked and humiliated...it will ultimately break down whatever purpose I have in my strength to carry on. Humans have unbelievable strength, yet we are not made out of rocks. We absorb from our environments.

Now, If only I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase "white is right (black is wack)" or "When you're white, everything is alright." Though I roll my eyes at this overly exaggerated phrase, I can't help but detect that there is a startling amount of truth in it. And the closer you are to "white" (in a society where there is race/color privilege) the more one might feel entitled and fearful of "tainting" that image (marrying other people who share your color, or might bring more 'acceptable' offspring..."marrying up"...etc.)

I think that's where the catch is...it's difficult to have a better self image or self worth (in some cases, though both can go together). So people succumb to fitting the image of what they view and are told is acceptable. what will bring them superficial happiness and an honorary sense of "acceptance."

This is not to make excuses and say this is not our problem also, that we have no hand in it. Of course we do! And I believe even more that the change HAS to start with us (those who feel less...I'm aware it's not the same everywhere in the world, so I'm speaking of those that this case applies to).

To top it off, like you have stated Kizzie, I have found out that sadly a lot of black folk, from different walks of life, are ashamed of their past (not to mention ignorance which can be largely attributed to slavery, colonization and the tainting of our histories so that we have become very disenfranchised and let to believe that we had nothing to give to the world...but I digress). So they sadly hate, consciously or not, any marks of that past on their physical selfs (hair, skin, nose). The seeds of self hatred and inferiority was planted by others, yet a lot of us manage to continue to nurture it...long after...

So we just cannot cast aside the fact that how we view ourselves, is a product of a history of (and even continuation of, to this day) invalidation and humiliation. The wounds are just deep, way deep, so that it's almost a normal part of behavior...life... and instead of having healing hands we slap ourselves with harsh criticism , and others slap us with even more harsh criticism. Yet there is not enough, in my opinion, real active measures in positively changing.

I have come to own my blackness and coily hair, however, I am still very realistic in what my physical image will be viewed by others and ultimately decide how I'll be treated/recieved. It's just a fact of life, I'd love to think the world to be a "color blind" (as much as I hate this phrase and it's flaws) but it isn't. Therefore, I advance with caution.

I know I was a bit repetitive, sorry about that. It's just one of those complexities. :(

Crushed by Ingsoc - Pardon me, but the whole tanning thing, and this is not meant to offend you at all :)... cannot, in my humble opinion, really be compared to people who use bleaching creams and other dramatic modifications. Why? Two words...white privilege. Or at least that comparison falls flat on it's face in the U.S.

KadidiaTerri said...

I remember (20 years ago)when i chopped off my shoulder length permed hair and started sporting a high top fade.

My mom (who'd spent my childhood frying it with a hot comb) said: "girl, you just don't know what to do with yourself!"

Other people said I was "courageous".

Sad

The Randomness said...

ebony I feel sad when I read your entries. I dont know - maybe its because I refuse to be swayed by what other people believe is superior. Trust me I do have my inferiority complexes (brought on by being big in a stick thin society but never about being black). Do not apologise for who you are love. Anyone who feels the need to tell you black is whack feels threatened. Why else would they feel the need to state it if they already knew it? Most of those comments stem from ignoramuses (whom you shouldn't be around in the first place) who do not understand themselves let alone understand you. This is how my mind works. No one has claim on these lands say eg the Americas. They belonged to the Indians who themselves came from Siberia. For one to sit around and feel superior because of their skin colour is neither here nor there. We are all nomds/immigrants/aliens/illegal settlers. We all know Africa is the cradle of humanity but if the men with no knees refuse to aacknowldge that then it is not my loss. Of gee I get passionate again. That is always my problem.

Speaking about AFrica's helplessness I cannot even begin to tell you how that pisses me off. A good question for people to ask themselves is, if Africa was so bad (I will use Zimbabwe and SA as references because I am better informed in that region) why are the ones without knees refusing to leave? Africa as a whole is so rich beyond imagination but the power is in the hands of the few, just because we were not as cunning as they were. People in the background are pulling strings for things to happen (Congo and Angola come to mind) and then they blame us for greed and corruption. I do not say we are not to blame - hell we are- the chiefs even took money to sell people into slavery but how do we know that it was on their own volition and not the bible wielding, gun totting men of the cloth twisting their arms. Oh goodness I could write all day. Africa is not helpless. Just give us what you took and then leave us to sort ourselves out!

Back at home we have a proverb that says a home is a woman. If we as women empower ourselves by going to school and making sure our offspring follows suit instead of playing the fools and buying the hype.

Kissie:- yes you hit it on the head. It is the same scenario in South Africa and what ultimately happens is they believe that they are not good enough and then they end up fulfilling those prophecies.

I love your writing! You definitely started a hot topic i love it! I am wary of seeing the images you will be putting up. May John Garang's soul rest in peace. I followed him with such fascination. What a true hero and martyr.

sabree said...

Dear Kissie:
The Original People,
And First People To Know Civilization Were Black People.The Greatest People Who Have Ever Lived In This World Are Black People. When White People Emerged From The Caves Of Europe We Black People Were Here To Assimilate Them Into Our Civilaztion Because They Had None. But It Is The Darkness In The Minds And Hearts Of Too Many White People That Blinds Them. It Is The Self Hatred Of Many Mixed Race People Who Simply Can't Get White Enough To Accepted Themselves As They Are. It Is Such An Indignity And An Open Discrace To Be Little What God Has Given Them In This Way. Their Saying Please Make Us Look Like White People. White People Do Not Love Them Or Their People. These People They Desire So Much To Look Like Are The Very People Who Once Enslaved Their People, Today These Same White People Enslave Their Minds. By A Eurocentric Mentallity That Eternally See's Them And Their People As Inferior. They Fail To Understand This Simple Fact; White People Are Not White Because They Are Superior No! They Are White Because They Evolved In Darkness, The Darkness Of The Caves Of Europe. They Wish To Cover The Entire World In This Darkness That They Serve As Host To. They Simply Cannot Tolerate The Black Man, The Black Man Is The Original Man And They Can Never Be The Original Man. The Black Man Is The Original Man First To Enter The Light Of Civilizaton. The Designer And Chief Archetech Of Civilizations DNA; Formulations In Concepts Of Deity, Codes Of Morality, Spirituality, Perception Of Spirit Beings Beyond Self, Authored The Diciplines Of The Primary Sciences, Traversed The Abyss Between Man And Animal Now Second Only To God Almighty, And For All This Many White People Hate This Wonderful Human Being So Much They Cannot Tolerate Him Or His Presents In The House Next Door To Them. The Darkness They Carry Around Inside Of Them Is Destroying Them, Their Soul, Their World And Their Future. Hear This My Precious Sister; They Who Live In Darkness Will Never Know Where They Came From Or Where They Are Going, They Are Hopelessly Lost Because They Do Not Have The Light Of Truth!!!!!!!!!!!!
Be And Love Yourself., Brother Sabree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Allah U Akbarr

Anonymous said...

I like your blog,what do you mean by
"men without knees"?

Anonymous said...

Hi - I'm an American female with some sort of European decent of which I do not know exactly. My skin is so pale, that I can't tan easily (I just turn red and peel). My friends would call me the reptile. It used to bother me a lot that I couldn't get tan, because the 'beautiful' look was about golden brown skin and blonde hair. Oh... and my hair is naturally a dull medium brown - not straight but not quite curly. I just didn't have the look that was considered 'beautiful'. This is a problem in our early adolescent years... as we are trying to figure out who we are. Fast forward nearly 10 years... things have changed. I'm 25 and have found the religion of Islam through a close Sudani friend of mine. I've become close friends with many people from many cultures because of it... and one thing I have definitely noticed was that the concept of 'beautiful' though different than what I am used to, is still complex and very damaging all the same. I have so much to say about this... I can't even cover it all. It just makes me mad that we can't see beauty as a personal taste. That we can't find in ourselves a beauty that is our own. By damaging our skin and hair to look like the acceptable 'beautiful' that we are pressured into... we are hurting ourselves inside and out. I personally find many women to be absolutely gorgeous in all shades of skin and with every color of hair and eyes I can think of. Even weight and shape mean different things in different cultures regarding attractiveness! I've seen friends of mine on their way to marriage only to be rejected by their potential mother-in-law, because their skin was too dark. It just perplexed me. I couldn't believe the superficial basis of this rejection! And she's not the only one.

I think it is utterly important that we change the way our young girls see themselves. We need to let them explore their own look and stop pushing 'beauty' standards onto them. Because they're really aren't any standards for it at all! And to be quite frank... beauty comes from within. Many might scoff at that and roll their eyes... but it is true! When I meet someone and they are happy with themselves... they appear attractive. Even their appearance... their smile... their confidence... it just radiates.

And there is no need to 'worry' that if we don't change the way we look we wont find a good match or that if our daughter is too dark/light she will struggle to get married or whatever. Just let her be and be happy... these concerns are superficial. And men will change their taste without thinking about it when they no longer hear and see reiterated 'standards of beauty' from their mothers and sisters. Society will change in time if we all make a conscious decision to celebrate our look - whatever that look may be.

Anyway. I just wanted to throw in my two sense. And maybe help provide another perspective.

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Anonymous said...

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Edison said...

I`m not African, I am Asian, and the same mentatlity applies where you can be judged on the shade of your skin. I too am on the darker scale and have felt and heard the bias remarks and attitude from my fellow asians and even other family members. Because of this, growing up, I also developed an inferiority complex. Now I`m older, I still struggle from time to time, but learning to accept who I am and working on my character is more important because its not your outside but what`s inside that counts.