Celena’s Safe Haven Column: Skin color and Race do not define beauty

Briana Hicks

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It is not a compliment when you tell a black woman that she looks beautiful, and then turn around and ask her what she’s mixed with.

Some people may not see anything wrong in that statement, but to others it is offensive.

Basically, you’re telling her that black women aren’t beautiful unless they are mixed.

For years, black women have been told that their hair is unruly, or their big lips are unattractive, or the color of their skin is too dark.

Society has gone as far as to separate black people by how deep the pigment of their skin is; light skin blacks and dark skin blacks.

Unfortunately, the separation has caused hatred between the two different skin tones, specifically women.

Traditionally, light skin women are known to be associated with the better things in life.

Such as, they have the better hair, curlier and less of an unruly look; some have colored eyes, which are inherited from the European culture.

They even have facial features similar to Caucasians, such as smaller lips and a smaller nose.

Historically, during slavery, the black women who had fair skin were kept inside of the house and made into house servants, while the women who had darker skin tones were put to work in the fields.

I can remember when I was little, my mom often told me, “if we were slaves you would be inside the house.”

As a kid, you never truly understand such complex things until you get older and start to see things differently.

On the other hand, darker women were seen as the ones who weren’t afforded such great attributes in life.

Darker women are associated more with the big lips, the unattractive hair, the big noses, and the curvier bodies.

Due to the appeal of black women with a lighter skin tone, black women with darker skin often hate their cultural counterparts.

The age-old division of hatred has even spewed over into the eyes of black men.

Black men have been known to go back and forth comparing the two different skin tones of women.

Some black men favor women with a lighter complexion, while others favor women with a dark complexion.

Unfortunately, since black men are seeing one race of black women as two different races, the division of hatred only widens.

Not only are black women put into two different categories, black women who are neither light skin nor dark skin, don’t fit into the two boxes that the world has created.

For black women whose skin is brown, they are usually classified as light skin because their skin tones are closer to their complexion.

Unfortunately, that causes an even bigger rift when you’re thrown in with the “it crowd” when technically aren’t a part of that crowd.

The reinforcement that black women are pretty because they are mixed is heavily shown across TV screens in America.

The majority of the black kid actresses on Disney channel are fair skinned. For example, Zendaya Coleman, who is in fact, a biracial young woman.

Her mother is white, and her father is black. Her skin tone is relatively closer to her mother’s than it is to her father’s.

Although she is a beautiful young woman, she is seen beautiful for her light skin color.

But just because she is a lighter skin color than her fellow black women, does not mean she is more beautiful than a darker skinned woman.

Black women are beautiful regardless of their skin color, their hair, or their features.

What makes a woman beautiful is the very essence of who she is, and that she is able to bring life into this world.

Before you tell a black woman that she’s beautiful, and then proceed to ask her what she’s mixed with, remember you are reinforcing the idea that her culture is not beautiful and therefore she is only beautiful because she has a multicultural background.