Color Struck: To have an aversion to someone’s skin color; usually used in the African-American community… Urban Dictionary
When I was growing up in St. Louis (back in the day) my mother, Jessie Deloch exposed me to positive black role models. By age 8, I was reading “Before the Mayflower”, drawing people with a brown crayon instead of flesh tone, singing songs by Nina Simone and marveling at the Nubian beauty of Miriam Makeba.
I remember encouraging my mom to give up the Supremes wigs and hair pieces and sport a short ‘fro and hooped earrings like Miriam. She did! She wore that cropped kinky soft afro right until her death in 1985.
Black was really beautiful to me. I took it to heart because it validated who I was as a female and human being. “Black is Beautiful” were words of affirmation and pride. I vowed as an advertising writer, I would represent our true beauty to the best of my ability. Typing those three words as I write this still causes my back to straighten up with pride – tempered now by a cloak of defense. Fortunately, at an early age, I came to understand the divisiveness and destruction being color struck meant to me and others. Being pancake brown, I was neither here nor there. Contrary to what I thought, darker girls considered me light. I never thought of myself that way because I was darker than my best friend, Vickie who was regarded as high yellow. I didn’t care. I learned to appreciate and embrace ALL shades and shapes of black beauty including my own.
In the 70’s, my mom and I moved to other parts of the country, (Charlottesville, VA and finally Chicago, IL). I was stunned to see my fellow black classmates weren’t as progressive in thinking. They still used the term “colored” and spat “black” to incite and hurt others. How liberating it was to hear it and not hurt! It caressed instead of bruised. I found myself, at the tender age of 11, educating many of my fellow playmates that their “black” was actually beautiful. In the 80’s, I was dismayed to see my beloved afro go out of style in favor of sleek relaxed styles. How could such a positive state of mind become passe’?
During the disco era, light skinned women with keen features and long hair were the stuff once again. This would be cool if there were a balance. When Black Power was thriving, my fairer sisters were passed over for the darker ones. That too was unfair. Before Civil Rights, there was a popular saying, “If you’re white, you’re alright, brown stick around, black, get back”. Today, that saying has made an explosive comeback. According to a recent controversial study released this month in Psychology Today, African-American women are the least physically attractive and desirable! The author Satoshi Kanazawa and Psychology Today have come under fire for publishing what is considered by many a racist study. But there are people, including blacks who may not like the study, but agree with its conclusion.
Being white or dang near close to it is preferred in videos, ads, big screens, etc.. Many young black men and women today have bought into the new era of “color struck”.
Now it’s considered merely a personal preference. I guess that’s suppose to make it okay. Personally, I’m still hanging on to the image of Miriam and her short ‘fro and hoops.
Is the acceptance of black beauty we fought for lost forever?