December 13, 2013

The Color of Your Skin Does Matter.

We will never live in a post racial world—it’s just not possible.

The color of our skin does matter.

People who say they don’t see the color of people’s skin are lying-mostly to themselves—we can’t help but see someone’s color. It is a big part of who they are.

People of color identify themselves through their culture and the color of their skin. It isn’t the only way we define ourselves but it is important to us. It is something to be proud of.

There is nothing wrong with that. People of color are survivors of a world where the deck was stacked against for them for so long.

I was born a person of color.

I am black and I love that about myself.

When I look in the mirror, I see a brown skinned woman looking back. I don’t want to see a world without color and diversity—I want to see everyone.

I don’t identify with the label African American; I am neither African nor American. I am simply me.

My people are from Barbados, United Kingdom, Canada and Africa. If I had to guess and by looking at a map, I would have assume that my people originated on the western coast of Africa. There is a direct path from Africa to Barbados. I can’t trace my lineage due to limited record keeping from slavery but I do know I am multicultural in the truest sense. Barbados is made up of everyone! I am just me navigating this crazy mixed world—it’s beautiful.

I think we fool ourselves into believing that one day, culture, color and gender won’t matter. There will always be prejudice and discrimination based on our differences. Color and gender will always matter because it’s a big part of how we define ourselves.

It’s something that is ingrained in us.

I took my boys to see the movie Frozen and found it disappointing on so many levels. Disney movies make me acutely aware that color and gender matter—we plant an unconscious message in our children’s heads.

My awareness of who I am and how the world sees me is always amplified in a Disney movie. Frozen reminded me that fairy tales are not reality. We are setting up unrealistic expectations for people through this form of storytelling.

The Princess’ in the movie had fair hair and blue eyes as did all royalty.

The commoners in the movie all had dark hair and dark eyes and not a single person of color to been anywhere.

How does this reflect real life? What does this tell children of color? You can never be a princess?

They are very few Disney Princesses who culturally diverse—I can think of only three.

I will teach my boys about fairy tales and a world where color and gender don’t matter. I will teach my boys about the color of their skin. I will tell them that the color of your skin is important. I will teach them that color is not the only way that people will define you, but it is one way.

I will teach them that diversity is good.

The color of our skin doesn’t make us better or less than anyone else. It just makes you, you. I will teach them that all colors are beautiful and it is important to accept all parts of we you are.

As for Disney it’s time to look around, see the world and create new fairy tales that are more inclusive.

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

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