YELLOW GIRL -a personal story (shared anonymously as blacklifeandlove)
I used to be called “Yellow. Light bright. White girl.” You name it. I was between a “yellowish” tan, with clear indications that I was of white and black heritage. As a young child, that was hurtful. Many of the children around me were pretty shades of brown, from light to dark. But something about my skin tone gave me away. I wasn’t just light tan; I was “yellow” and not the Asian kind.
While that counted against me when I was young, I sought to understand it. I came to see that my “yellowness” had something to do with both my skin, and the fact that I was articulate, inquisitive, outspoken, and danced to the beat of my own drum, without apologies. So my “yellowness” had something to do with my personality as much as it had to do with my complexion.
As I entered puberty, my “yellowness” increasingly became about my personality, because all of a sudden, my lighter complexion (which is quickly and beautifully altered by a little exposure to the sun) became an asset. I did not use it as such, because I was still emotionally scarred from feeling ‘othered’ and rejected by my own people because of it. So I never “utilized” my complexion or hair (which was almost always pressed and curled) to stand out as sexually more appealing. Women didn’t comment on my complexion (at least, not to my face) at all (whereas when I was younger, their commentary was negative), and men started responding in the positive (to my surprise, because before it was a negative).
Now that I’m grown, I don’t deal with people who seem to have a fixation with lighter skin or darker skin. I just want to be appreciated for who I am and what I look like regardless of whether I’m considered fair or medium or dark, or clear for that matter.
(chapter 3, page 45)
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