By: Nicole Bettis (Quillpensoul) 


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First impressions are lasting impressions, agreed?  I mean, we all try to make sure that we look our best when we are going out. On occasion, we [woman] even take special care to cover any blemishes or dark spots on our faces with makeup. I believe subconsciously we all know that what catches the eye first is important. Actually, it seems like, kind of a big deal. Take a moment if you will, and think back… what was your first impression of the last black woman you came across, that you didn’t already know?  Maybe, (2016) you thought she had nice nails or a fly hairstyle; maybe not, but one thing that is for sure, and that's you saw her darkness. 

For years, I received "compliments" about how pretty I was for a “darkskin” girl. People told me that, I looked Middle Eastern or Native American (I had Dark and Lovely on deck at the time) and the sad part is, I believed this to be true. I didn't want my roots to show. I've always thought of myself as the low woman on the totem pole anyway-- white man, white woman, black man, and then black woman. That's just what it was, more like an unwritten rule that everyone in house knows and doesn't talk about, you know? 

 For centuries, we [African Americans] have been made to feel like a dark, stain on America's perfect past, one that should be covered and dismissed at any cost. I know that sounds a bit extreme but, come on, almost every word “dark” word in the English language, has a negative (cynical, depressed, wicked, or just, plain ole’ bad connotation). *literally taught from infancy that black is bad; and the plot thickens, as we try to unlearn and relearn—we are literally thinking in a constant state of contradiction. Yet, we continue to persevere.

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We are lawyers, doctors, artist, political officials; we find ways to make life happen anyway. I realize that society has accepted this to an extent but, we will just continue to be a reminder (through action); we must, until white people aren't happy for other people’s successes, even though they are black, and until people of color aren't happy for others just because of their blackness. Don't highlight our shortcomings and downfalls. Celebrate our successes and acknowledge our resilience.

Try to keep in mind that, despite the heartbreaking fact that society belatedly refuses to accept the irrefutable fact that, people of color—dark people, have suffered tremendously. We have not only endured 400+ years of enslavement; we are now living/ coping with the psychological effects of being oppressed. I am not victimizing myself or my people, however, I will [say the simple truth; even if the whole world thinks it’s a lie…], be a voice.