This is going to be a tough week for Mrs.Obama.
Honestly, I don’t care what the comedian Jay Mohr has to say. It’s his job to be offensive. He knows that the more offensive he is the more airplay he gets and by extension the bigger his salary becomes.
But the no great beauty comment by Iman, well, that kinda hit home.
And before you say, “She’s just voicing her opinion,” her observation of Michelle Obama goes a lot deeper than just a casual comment by a public figure about a major public official as one blogger asked does Michelle Obama make dark skin stylish?
Obviously Iman doesn’t think so and to a wide section of the public we dark skinned Black woman still have a long way to go before we’re considered as beautiful as our lighter skinned sisters black or white and that’s with or without the First Lady’s help.
Iman does go on to say that Ms. Obama is, “So bright and interesting looking and in the end that will always take you farther.” However, I don’t understand what Iman means by interesting looking?
An axolotl is interesting looking but they aren’t too many people out there who want to look like that! And I’m pretty sure Michelle Obama like most women, myself included, like to be complimented on our beauty as well as our intellect.
But I’m sure Iman’s comments wouldn’t be the first time Michelle Obama has heard or been told ‘she’s no great beauty’ or ‘that she’s not pretty’ by a sista.
I can relate to that.
Like most dark skinned black women I too, grew up being told over and over again by my peers and in some cases by adults that I was ugly and when I wasn’t told that it was often decided that I would be really pretty if I weren’t so black.
Great! I would be really pretty if I didn’t look like me! LOL
Anyway, for some girls that would’ve been enough to inflict lasting emotional damage but what hurt the most weren’t the jokes about my dark skin, I got used to those, it was the barage of comments I would always undoubtedly face from a schoolmate if my mom picked me up or visited me at school.
The next day I would be asked one or all of these questions, “Are you sure that’s your mom?” or “Are you adopted?” and the best of them all, “Your mom is so pretty..how come you look like that?”
And for the rest of the day I would be left thinking that the words pretty and beautiful were reserved for those with lighter skin (my mom is biracial and my sister has lighter skin) than mine and that I would never be called beautiful by anyone outside my immediate family.
Inevitably those thoughts would pass until the next time my mom visited the school and then the process of self doubt and self-pity would start all over again.
Those comments have helped to shape my world view but they also prepared me to face the cruelty and pain in the world with grace and dignity. And although I no longer face ridicule, I have never allowed myself to forget what it feels like to be on the opposite end of hateful comments and I credit those bullies and ignoramuses for heightening my ability to empathize not just with those of my race or in my community but with my fellow human being regardless of sexuality, gender, race or complexion.
But they were days that I was afraid to go to school because I knew that most of my day would be spent in emotional turmoil. A teenager has more than enough to deal with and managing emotional conflict with her peers shouldn’t be one of them.
Luckily my parents didn’t allow those comments to destroy my self esteem or my self worth and I thank them every day for molding me into the woman that I am. But many Black women aren’t as lucky as I was and millions of them continue to be at war with their dark skin and seek to change their complexion by any means necessary.
A simple Google search, dark skinned black women, provides valuable insight into this psychological dilemma that continues to plague the black community and the world in general when it comes to seeing beauty in the Black race.
Even the term classic beauty when Googled produces not one black woman in fact none of the top 20 women in that search have dark skin!
While our concept of beauty continues to evolve be it very, very slowly sadly we have not reached the point where a tall, dark skinned Black woman can be considered a classic or great beauty by the majority on this planet.
I wonder when, if ever, we’ll reach that point.
**Update** Just Googled Classic Beauty and I actually came across two black women! One was Iman and the other, was this lady..wow progress. Two black women can be called classic beauties! Progress!!! Lol