Dear Brown-Skinned Beauties,
This is probably one of the most important letters to scattered strangers that I will ever write. It comes from the most sincere place I can possibly offer: my own experience.
I see you. I feel the frustration behind the conflict between the pigment of your skin and your interest. We live in a world that will try to tell you that the two cannot coexist. And I want to tell you that they are ignorant liars. You have nothing to prove.
Years of judgment from both people who look like you and people who don’t. Your uniqueness is underrated. You were told that you “talk like a white girl” and people made assumptions that you hated your own skin, but you don’t.
You are a free thinker. You are not limited to the stereotypes that are ironically pushed on you by people who claim to be frustrated by the very same judgement. You are not afraid to color outside of the lines more than a little. You paint the gray box that some will try to keep you in with beautiful colors while singing the song of your own heart.
You listen to the music you love. You date the people you’re attracted to, even if they don’t look like you. You’re not afraid to disagree with social norms that are expected of you. You vibe with people who will vibe with you.
You understand that your ancestors made way for girls like you. You’re not the conformist that you’re often accused of being. The opposite, actually.
You have a deeper appreciation for your freedom to choose what you believe in.
You will be invited to sit at tables that cross party lines because of the diversity rooted in your kind heart. And people will listen when you speak because of your audacity to be different. We were made to love the unique. The mockery, criticism, and the guilt trips about how you aren’t “black enough” will soon be something you can laugh at.
The sad part is that ignorance is a costly mistake. When we as people try to stay in neat little boxes and refuse to have empathy or break bread with those who are different than us, we cheat our society. We cheat future generations. We halt progress. And we all have to start questioning which narrative we would like to be a part of. The healing or the wounding?
In my younger years, I needed to be understood in the manner that I now understand. I wish that others knew that there was much more to me than meets the eye. You see, my interests and beliefs are just that: my own. However, I find the beauty in authenticity.
Some people are stereotypical “whatever” people and I see nothing wrong with that either. Since I have grown older and cared far less about what anyone would say about me or to me, I learned some things. And if you don’t do anything else, do this.
Be yourself and be willing to love. Love everyone. And don’t apologize, and don’t tell jokes that cut yourself down about your voice or your fake hair or your ghetto family that isn’t as “polished” (as we call it in the south, “proper”) as you are. Love it all, sweetheart! It’s all a part of your being.
Don’t allow your circle to make a joke out of your hair care, your foundation color, or your voice. You aren’t some novelty. You aren’t a pet to be touched. You aren’t made to be disrespected by people who don’t quite understand. Intentions are everything. Boundaries are necessary.
You don’t need a pat on the head for your opinions from anyone. It’s not validation. It’s almost insulting. Nor should anyone feel it’s their place to condemn you for exercising your right to disagree.
It’s a dangerous day in this country when more intellectual black kids are being told that they “act white” or are “stuck up” because it offers the perspective that education is not for black people or that it is exclusive to white people, which is simply not true.
I believe there’s a place for everyone’s authentic self. I am who I am, I love who I am, but I also love the “ethnically conscious” girl if that’s who she genuinely is. I love to see her dancing, having a good time, finding the black love of her dreams, advocating for what she believes in (even if it isn’t what I believe), being happy, being real. I’m just asking her to love me back. Acknowledge my willingness to bring my truck with pink stickers, blaring country music (the old, good kind) with the wind blowing through my relaxed, non-natural hair with my white boyfriend in the passenger seat to her table without the judgment.
I’m also asking her to be willing to bring her real self to my table to break bread too. Nothing less and nothing more. No additives or substitutions. And Instead of calling me fake, stating that I’m an “Uncle Tom” or trying to tell me who I should be, let me, being me, be good enough too.
Unfortunately, much of this has been wishful thinking in my experience which is why I’m addressing those who can relate.
If you are genuine, please know that you are more than enough.