The Chicago-bred Singer, Songwriter, Actress, and now published Author Ebony Jenae has done it again! By releasing her debut book entitled Dear Colorism: Times up! When I say it’s a MUST READ, I mean it. The real-life occurrences and the occurrences shared by other dark skin women of color will leave you undone. This book is for you regardless of your race or ethnicity.
I was supposed to be working, but instead, I found myself unable to stop flipping through to read the next page. To be honest I forgot a pancake on the stove while trying to read and cook breakfast at the same time and you know what? AIN’T NOTHING WRONG WITH A DARK PANCAKE! DARK SKIN PANCAKES ARE BEAUTIFUL! Right Ebony?
I’ve had many conversations about colorism in my adulthood, but never have I been able to describe it so eloquently and matter of factly. Every word was deliberate. Every phrase brought you to understand the origin, the effects, and the importance of dismantling colorism.
I chuckled. I side-eyed. I understood. I celebrated the triumphs of my dark-skinned sisters that learned how to accept and love their skin; Despite society’s best effort to keep them from doing so.
Imagine growing up and being torn down with words and actions? Imagine on the issuing side of that hatred were classmates and even you’re own family. Imagine hating your skin so much that you consider drinking Clorox bleach as an attempt to lighten your complexion? Can you imagine it? Let me share Ebony’s words with you to help paint the picture:
“One day after dealing with more anti-blackness insults at school, I came home and rushed to the shower. I began vigorously scrubbing my skin over and over until it burned; as if my blackness was something I could wash off. I scrubbed. And scrubbed. And scrubbed until I couldn’t take the pain from the burning anymore” (Jenae 11).
She was only a child. A child. It’s hard to make sense of or process through the things that disturb or hurt them as a kid. So many children suffer in silence due to the hate spewed on them because of colorism. It’s heartbreaking.
How painful do you think that was to have experienced? How painful must having that memory as part of your story be? How painful do you think it was to relieve it for the sake of birthing this book?
I also wanted to point out another part in the book because I feel a lot of people can personally identify with this topic. Let’s talk about colorism as it pertains to dating. I’ve had many passionate conversations with family and friends regarding colorism in the dating world. Some may argue that everyone has a dating preference, and yes that is true, but like Ebony states:
“Everybody has a right to their own preferences, but it’s the reason behind those preferences that should be examined. If the reason is that you don’t find dark skin beautiful, then you need to ask yourself why; especially if you’re dark yourself” (Jenae 23).
If this is something you get defensive about or don’t want to address publicly, then do some self-reflection. Have a conversation with yourself and get to the root of that preference. We can make strides to dismantle colorism once we can admit that it plays a role in our lives in some way, shape, or form. It’s going to take everyone’s efforts to do so.
You’re either a part of the problem or part of the solution. Here are a few beginning steps that you can take:
- Stand up for your dark skin friends, colleagues, coworkers, and family members. Call it out in those private conversations you may have with family or friends. We are all human. We should judge by character, not by the color of our skin.
- Understand that regardless of race/ethnicity, if you’re of a lighter skin complexion, then you have light-skin privilege. (Want to know more? read about it in the book)
What can YOU do to eradicate colorism?
Jenae, Ebony. Dear Colorism, Times Up! USA. Ebony Jenae LLC. 2021.