The O Network will be featuring a documentary called, Dark Girls, about what it’s like to be a dark skinned woman. Naturally as one of those said Dark Girls I am very much interested in what this film has to say about us. (And ahem, why was I not called for an interview?)…ha, ha…
I have the O Network, and so I will be tuning in, and will undoubtedly have much to say.
This documentary comes at an interesting time for me, I think. I was verbally abused by a ruddy looking dude (perhaps he was homeless?) in DC. It all started with the usual street jargon that people yell… I think this guy yelled at me “Hey Gorgeous!” to which I did not reply and just kept walking.
Well he was a nasty thing, and after feeling slighted said a bunch of things, the only one of which I can remember is “You don’t want to talk to me because I’m black? Well, you blacker than I am!” Um, whaaaaaaaat!!!!!!! My first instinct was to laugh and keep walking. He obviously looked like a lunatic. A man in his forties, dirty clothes and God knows what else (I did not get a good look at him) yelling stupid nonsense is no skin off my back… or is it?
I think I read someone’s comment on the documentary about how black people sometimes use the word “black” as an insult. Of course, this is what that caramel colored fool did with me. Somehow, it might have affected me more than I thought?
Maybe not, I think being back in the DC area and hearing random things like hey beautiful, relatively often makes me feel a little PTSDish… like I’m back in one of those places where cat-calls are the norm. Usually, I don’t care. Usually I don’t even remember the situation once its past. Unless of course, the circumstances are unusual, or the man is particularly bold or witty.
I think this buffoon falls into bold category. Part of the reason why it stayed with me is because it’s safety issue. All he did was put out vitriol demonstrating his lack of good manners, but it was enough to make me think, if only for a few seconds, about what to do if it got physical.
Sometimes, in Egypt or Morocco, I would walk around with my hand in a fist, just in case. I unlearned that habit in the year since I’ve been home. I don’t want to relearn it either.
Nor do I want to give off the sentiment that either place was entirely unsafe (a perusal of entries while in either country will make that clear). But I stood out a little more in North Africa so more attention both positive an negative was a given. But what is the motive of people like that weird guy I had the unfortunate luck of crossing paths with? I guess the truth of the matter is that he would have been nasty even if I was white as snow, some men don’t know how to deal with rejection…. ha, ha….
Do-do birds like him aside, being dark-skinned is not all a pity parade, I don’t think so anyway. But I know that a lot of people do in fact think like this. For large swaths of people, a darker-skinned woman must be exceptionally beautiful to be acknowledged as beautiful. (It’s annoying, but I often hear things like oh she’s so fair, so white, so light, she’s so pretty…. meaning fair skin=pretty…) but beauty is subjective.
I’ve never dated anyone my shade or darker…it wasn’t intentional, (then again, I haven’t dated many people). So, it’s not impossible for dark skinned people like me to get some love…ha, ha.
And yet, there have been plenty of times where I have been left confused. Confused because someone, who looks a certain way I had decided somewhere in my subconscious, is not attracted to people who look like me. Each time it has happened, I have to sit myself down and reevaluate my preconceived notions about myself and how others see me.
At any rate, here’s to Oprah for giving me something to help unpack what it means to be a “dark girl.”