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  • - It's something that I don't usually talk about because I'm afraid that I'm making people uncomfortable.

  • It's something that affects me in almost every aspect of life.

  • (gentle pleasant music)

  • (whooshing)

  • (hinges creak)

  • - There's something about having dark skin on a woman's body that shapes the way she moves through the world.

  • There's something about having darker skin on a male body that shapes the way in which he moves through the world.

  • It has real life stakes.

  • - From what I've seen growing up,

  • dark skin equates to being poor,

  • - dirty,

  • - rat shit,

  • - they tend to be the bad guys in Tyler Perry movies,

  • - straight from the border,

  • - that doesn't even make any sense.

  • I'm not deemed as beautiful, therefore I am not beautiful, and those two are not really mutually exclusive.

  • - Could it be that something as early as colonization or slavery is primarily responsible for our beauty standards today?

  • We're talking about who works in the field and who works in the house.

  • We're also talking about rape, the rape of slaves to produce people who were known as mulattoes, or mixed race.

  • These standards of beauty travel.

  • Eurocentric standards of beauty travel.

  • - In the Dominican society and our culture,

  • they have a phrase that's like, (speaks in foreign language)

  • advancing the Dominican population and making sure we're going into how they say the better.

  • If you're lighter, you're bettering the race and you're bettering the island, versus if you're just being you.

  • - I would get called the blackness.

  • One joke that really stuck with me was like, oh, Edgar's so black that when he leaves a car, the check engine light turns on.

  • That was a reference to my skin being as dark as oil.

  • I felt ugly being of a darker skin tone, so I tried to gel my hair, or I started listening to skater punk music.

  • So I tried, culturally, to lighten myself, if that makes sense.

  • - I went on a trip to Korea with my mom.

  • Some woman walked up to my mom, and she asked, "Why is your daughter so dark?"

  • In Korea, you have to be pale, and I almost felt like a foreigner and not so much Korean anymore.

  • - When we turn off the lights, they say, "Oh, Selorm, where did you go?"

  • Or, "Oh, you're really pretty for a dark-skinned girl."

  • Are you saying that my race and just the fact that I am black, is that not attractive in general?

  • - I remember one time that I wanted to be an angel in a parade.

  • At that time, they were like kind of racist, you know.

  • They didn't like black people to be angels, and my mommy got kind of freak out.

  • She was going like, "Please don't, you cannot be an angel because they gonna laugh at you."

  • I said, "But mommy, I am an angel."

  • And finally, I was an angel.

  • And I was the only black angel walking in the street.

  • And my mommy was so proud about it, and I was proud too.

  • - My mom started buying me a cream called Fair & Lovely.

  • I was in third grade when I started using (laughs) bleaching creams.

  • And the whole general idea was, if I'm lighter, I'll have a better life.

  • I'll find somebody that's gonna love me. (laughs)

  • There'd still be light and dark patches on my body and my face. (sighs)

  • It was painful, it would hurt, and I started breaking out in bad rashes, and no one said anything.

  • I had to stop it myself.

  • - How do we fix this?

  • We think critically about colorism.

  • We think about where it began, and where it begins and ends with us.

  • - I think change starts with providing more diversity.

  • You know, providing more examples of people that look like you.

  • - If you look at telenovelas, they usually cast the dark-skinned person as the villain, and if you never met a Latino before, you're gonna somewhat think that.

  • - So in Japanese media, I honestly don't think I've ever seen a darker-skinned female.

  • I feel it would be nice to see a change.

  • - It needs to start within our own culture, where we can't have Will Smith filling in every slot for black people.

  • Giving dark-skinned people roles that are not only supporting roles but leading roles.

  • - I mean a legit, badass, 007 Latino James Bond, that'd be pretty dope, I'm just sayin'.

  • - If I could give a message to someone like me,

  • - who's kind of looking at himself and feeling insecure,

  • - just know, baby, you beautiful.

  • - Believe in yourself.

  • - Just be you.

  • - You are perfect just the way you are.

  • That's something that no one has ever told me.

  • - And your skin color is a gift.

  • It's never been a blemish or a problem.

  • - When you grow up and you look in the mirror, and you're proud of who you are, it will make sense, and all the other voices will go away.

  • And all that's gonna be left is you.

  • (gentle pleasant music)

  • (whooshing)

  • (hinges creak)

- It's something that I don't usually talk about because I'm afraid that I'm making people uncomfortable.

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B1 US BuzzFeed skinned dark angel skin mommy

What Dark-Skinned People Will Never Tell You

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    Emily posted on 2018/09/26
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