Re: Skin tone more important for African Americans
Posted By: Ras Shawn Naphtali In Response To: NO WAY!!! MOST BLACK AMERICANS LOVE BLACK SKIN *LINK* (Pianke Nubiyang)
Date: Saturday, 19 August 2006, at 7:51 p.m.
In Response To: NO WAY!!! MOST BLACK AMERICANS LOVE BLACK SKIN *LINK* (Pianke Nubiyang)
I think this is a really important & interesting thread for many many reasons.
My humble thoughts are......
RE: THE RESEARCH PROJECT
Very important timely reminder that RACISM STILL EXISTS! Many may not need that reminder as they already know it full well, but others (young & old) still need to hear that message, (especially from academic sources which they and the media may take more notice of, for whatever cultural reason).
RE: TITLE OF THE THREAD
I Overs why sesha questioned the title as I agree it could be misleading, as it implies the skin tone is more important to African Americans than white people, when in fact it appears (according the research) that it is white people who hold more importance in it, as they are the ones not employing the dark skinned.
discipleofthenile pointed out that in the US "to american blacks, light IS better", which means the title may not be misleading at all, just a hard pill to swallow. Fair point which triggered more important points, but the fact is that the research is looking at the fact that many whites still judge based on skin tone, which means the title is misleading. It may seem like a very trivial point to pick up on, but it's not really as it's about representation (HEADLINES/first & lasting impressions to passers-by who won't read a whole article or research report in detail). That could be very damaging. This is not a criticism of Ras Tyehimba who posted the original message, but of Philip Lee Williams who wrote the original article. That's why sesha's question of how many people who took part in the research study were black or white is extremely important. The answer to that changes the whole reading of the research.
When I first read the message on the day Ras Tyehimba posted it I interpreted it as "(The effects of) Skin tone more important for African Americans (than blacks living in other countries)". This reading is due to me living in the UK and assessing it against my own experience. I interpreted it this way as the research was a good reminder that in the US black people still face this particular type of racism, (due to legacy of "field slave/house slave" exploitation), which is very different to the UK where skin tone isn't as much of an issue with regards racism. A UK racist employer won't care what shade you are. For your info, the "mixed race" from African Caribbean & white parents is now the fastest growing ethnicity in the UK. Mostly black fathers & white mothers. Many of them have little to no contact with their black father or extended black family. (That's another thread topic right there!!!)
RE: BUT TO AMERICAN BLACKS, LIGHT IS BETTER
To come back to discipleofthenile's points and Seek Inghimself's very honest & open thoughts, for me it all re-emphasises the importance of having positive representation of black people in our homes and community (especially ones with children), and how we educate our children to not have a victim mentality in this racist society, but to be strong minded. Easier said than done I know, especially when the outside infiltrates the inside on a daily basis. My 5 year old daughter once saw a picture of a woman with big hair in a shampoo advert and asked if it was the woman who sings a song she described. She meant Beyonce. I said no. The woman in the picture was actually Sarah Jessica Parker!! Just evidence of how when she had seen Beyonce on tv how she'd been represented to look lighter than she is, to the point my daughter thought she was white.
I know these are issues we've known about and commented on since time as it has happened to all the black stars who have gone mainstream through the ages, but it just goes to show that the old fights (messages) are still the important fights and we can't lose sight of them. The difference now is, now we've re-visited them, what are we going to do about it? What role can InI as Rastafari people play in this struggle? And to ask an even more awkward question, what role do InI as Rastafari people play in this present day struggle AS A MOVEMENT, not individually?
His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I JAH Rastafari told InI to organise and centralise.
I'm not saying we follow their exact example, but see how the Muslims let the world know they were disrespected by those cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).
Where is the public voice of Rastafari on issues concerns & struggles which our communities? (sincere question)
On this issue of skin tone then……….true we black people don’t control the media and that level of representation.
True we may not be the employers controlling the interviews of all those light skinned black people.
But it IS TRUE that we control ourselves and our attitudes. Whenever I hear a light skinned or mixed race person say they have faced more discrimination from black people than from whites my heart always sinks. (And a LOT of them say that sad fact!) I think shouldn’t we darker skinned black people know better than that by now?! If we know that Black is Black is Black is Black, then why we treating a lighter skinned black worst than the average white person we come across? Yeah some light skinned/mixed race people don’t want to associate themselves with black people, but that should be a case-by-case argument to have with that individual on that situation. We darker skinned blacks though shouldn’t assume they all like that.
That’s why I say “we control ourselves and our attitudes.”
That’s why I say His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I JAH Rastafari told InI to organise and centralise. Not just as Rastafari, but as Black African People. Black is Black is Black is Black afterall.
That’s why I say we need to take care of positive representation in the home. A positive picture on the wall is more permanent than the moving images of tv.
Sorry if I sound preachy but this is a huge topic that in my opinion directly and fundamentally leads straight Forward to why Rastafari people exist in this universe at all. The Rastafari message states not only that Black is Black but that African is African. (Needless to say that Bob Marley was “mixed race”, and His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I JAH Rastafari would be described today as “light skinned”). The Rastafari message described how our ancestors were captured, divided and conquered through slavery (Maafa) and conditioned through the “field nig*er/house slave” system. The Rastafari message also cuts through all the large vs small island prejudice that exists in the Caribbean, (the roots of which also stem from the racist divide & conquer tactics of the plantation owners).
As I said before the old fights/messages are still the important fights and as long as InI don’t lose sight of them and the teachings of InI elders as lain down in this livity, InI will be victorious. I pray that will be so.
One Aim One JAH One Destiny
For these words I give much thanks.
Ras Shawn Naphtali
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