The other day I eavesdropped on a conversation between three boys in the seat behind me.
Well, technically, it’s not eavesdropping if people are chatting out loud on public transport.
Anyway two of the boys, whom I must add were nowhere near good looking, were busy tearing away at their friend with clear intentions of embarrassing him about his relationship with a girl they said was ‘navy blue’.
Navy blue is a colour Africans use to say someone is really dark.
Anyway the surprising thing about these boys was that they were all black people with somewhat lighter complexion, which I think made them feel like they were better than the ‘navy blue’ girl.
I was more enraged by the fact that the guy didn’t even try to defend his girlfriend’s honour, he just sat there looking out the window like he wished he wasn’t there.
I got angrier and shifted uncomfortably when they started asking him questions like,’ How do you think your children are going to look? Because if they take their mother’s colour, those kids are not going to leave fingerprints on charcoal.’
I doubt arguments like these would ever cease to exist if black societies don’t stop brainwashing their children with the inferiority complex they face when comparing themselves to white people.
The notion that light is better than dark obviously arises from the belief that the closer you are to white the better.
An example is how the society in general treats people of mixed races, whom we in Botswana refer to as coloureds, even though the term was originally used to refer to black people in America.
We have songs that show how we associate lightness with beauty. There is a famous traditional wedding song that goes thus: tswang tswang le boneng, Ngwana o tshwana le lecoloured.
Even now, the majority of people I have associated with, especially black people, think that being light skinned is better than being dark.
I happen to find this to be tragic.
This only serves to prove how deep shallowness runs in our societies. One thing I know for sure is that beauty never considers race to apply itself. Beauty has been given priority over many positive characteristics that one could attain; once everyone was hooked onto the ideal requirements of beauty, the standards were raised again.
Personally, I find it silly to classify people as light skinned and dark skinned when we are all just black people.
Most of the time, the people who dwell on the idea that light people are superior to darker ones are the men in society.
I have met many men who describe their ideal girlfriend as light skinned and beautiful, when they themselves wouldn’t even meet their set standards.
I have a cousin who only dates coloured girls because he believes he is too dark and doesn’t want to have kids that look like him; he thinks that if he has a child with a mixed-race person, then his children will have a medium complexion that he could live with. The closest he has come to dating a black woman is with a very light skinned girl. Need I repeat that I find this notion silly?
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I like talking about my experiences in India as if I went there yesterday.
In fact, I compare everything that people talk about to how I saw it in India. Not just because it was the only place outside the continent I have been to but because of its diverse cultures.
I loved everything about India but I was appalled by the Indian’s obsessions with light skin. Almost all the facial and bodily products available in the metropolitan capital of Mumbai promised to make one lighter than they currently were.
Imagine my surprise when I walk into a shop to buy garnier facial, because it was the only facial product I recognised from back home that I preferred to use, only to find that its Garnier light.
I didn’t understand it at first but the product was bought by anyone who wanted to improve their lightness level. I thought that it was peculiar because I had never seen garnier light in Africa.
Even Ponds had a whole range of products called the “white beauty” range. Needless to say, I left the shop without a facial product because I don’t feel the need to change my complexion.
There was one Nivea commercial I used to hate when I was in India. In this commercial, a medium complexioned Indian man is hanging out with two white guys from his cricket team, two light Indian girls, groupies I assume, pass by. The girls then recognise the white guys and they throw themselves at them ignoring the Indian guy.
The next day, the Indian guy uses Nivea whitening cream and his complexion becomes lighter. He goes back to the field and the same girls throw themselves at him ignoring the white guys. How shallow!
My point is I am scared at how races are taking their inferiority complex too far; we are always trying to imitate the white race in everything they do; now we are even trying to look like them.
When does it stop?
Anyway I think that black people as a race should accept who they are because we are unique. We are the only race that doesn’t have features that are similar to any other race. We should embrace that and lift unnecessary complexes off our shoulders.