Categories
Creative Writing

The Dark Burden

I was weirded out by this statement because he had to mention the color of their skin as if it was negative, but I wasn’t shocked that he would say something like that. As he has made it known that he preferred tan Latinas, he fails to realize they have a similar narrative that black girls do. I proceed to point out that fact to him, but he denies it having anything to do with colorism.

By Frances Allison Dumont

Age 17

I walked off the L train one day after school, drained but talking to a close male friend. My friend Alix, a 5’7, brown-skinned man, was going on about some girls he was interested in. On our way to get sandwiches from the corner store, he said, “Black b- words are just too loud and ghetto.” I was a little taken aback because I’m a black girl. However, I wouldn’t typically be described as loud and ghetto. 

“Do you think I act that way?” I turned to him and asked. I already knew what he was going to say, but I wanted him to see the fault in generalizing a whole group of women.  

“No, you’re different,” he replied. Now I knew the point he was going to make after calling me different. However, I still wanted him to specify what he meant by that. 

“What do you mean different?” I asked with curiosity in my voice. 

“Well, you’re not like those really black girls, you know the dark- skin ratchet ones at school, you’re like caramel and classy,” he replied. 

I was weirded out by this statement because he had to mention the color of their skin as if it was negative, but I wasn’t shocked that he would say something like that. As he has made it known that he preferred tan Latinas, he fails to realize they have a similar narrative that black girls do. I proceed to point out that fact to him, but he denies it having anything to do with colorism. This was nothing new to me because the school that we attended was majority black and Hispanic. The difference between how the black girls were treated vs. the treatment of the Hispanic girls was noticeable. The black girls were always side-eyed and just regarded as entertainment to the student body. 

I then had a flashback moment where I remembered a conversation I had with a male friend at the youth group. I recalled asking him why so many black guys our age care about how light a woman is. He told me that many dark guys go for a fairer complexion so that the baby could be light-skinned. Also, some guys just think light-skin girls are naturally cuter. I then felt that it made sense that it was less of an issue with women but more of a self-hatred thing for many black men. My mind then snapped back to the real-time conversation I was having. 

“Would you like if someone thought of your beautiful mother or cousins like that just because they’re dark, I bet you wouldn’t,” I replied. 

Before he could answer, the cook calls out that our chopped cheese sandwiches were ready. I immediately remembered how hungry I was once the delightful smell of ground beef with cheese and jalapeños hit my nose. We then collected our sandwiches and walked towards the bus stop across the street. 

“You’re right, but it’s true for a lot of black girls. Ask most guys, and they’ll tell you the same thing,” he replied defensively. 

“Look, you can like what you like. But there’s no need to put down women who don’t fit your preference, especially since you’re judging them on the shade of black that their skin is. Also, stop referring to black girls as the b-word. That’s really disrespectful,” I replied sternly. He looked a bit amused but also a little hurt by how bluntly I called him out on his colorism, but I knew he was still going to think the same way. However, I was still a little disappointed in him, mostly because I thought he was more mature and raised better than that.

 He conceded by saying, “Alright, alright, I get that I shouldn’t generalize. I see your point, especially since I’d be tight if it was the other way around,” he responded. Satisfied with his answer, I pulled out the strawberry sour power straws that I bought and began to eat them and just hoped that the bus would come faster because it was getting quite late. We then started a new conversation about our schools’ mediocre social and academic environment. After what felt like forever, our bus had come, and we were on our way to our homes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s