These are just a few of the ideas brought to light in the upcoming film Dark Girls. Please, pretty puh-lease watch this preview of the film:
Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.
There are people out there who don't understand why some people - people like me! - keep preaching about the need for black people to love the way they look and to teach their children to do the same. There are people who don't see this as an issue any more. People don't still bleach their skin! Darkness isn't even an issue any more! Think again. The females in this video represent a tiny drop of black females who are made to feel lesser because of their complexions. As someone with caramel-type coloring, I haven't experienced this personally, but I've seen its effects on close relatives and on some of my dearest friends. It's real, and it doesn't seem to be going away.
And while I am very passionate about the effects of these racist ideas (both extrinsic and internalized) on black females' emotional well-being and self-esteem, I've seen these effects on black males too. I personally know little black boys who wish they had been born with lighter skin and lighter eyes, who hate to see photos of themselves because they look "too dark." Many of these boys grow up to be dark-skinned men who will never date or marry dark-skinned women, who won't hang out at the beach because they don't want to become "blacker" (carcenogic UV rays notwithstanding).
Black children's equations of darkness with all things negative has been proven time and time again throughout the years in recreations of and variations on the famous doll experiment conducted by psychologists Kenneth and Mamie Clark in the 1940s, an experiment so influential that it helped to secure the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954. I encourage you to look up videos on contemporary versions of this experiment - maybe have a box of tissues handy, too.
How do these ideas continue to exist, though? I imagine it's a combination of various media - that continue to hold up light skin (and other features) as ideally beautiful while relegating darkness to the margins through virtual absence - and the passing on of internalized racism. In other words, these ideas continue to be taught. Education, then, about the seemingly simple idea of self-love is essential to reversing the centuries-old stigmas placed on dark skin. It's a task I'm engaged in right now, and I hope more and more parents, teachers, siblings, aunties, and uncles will take up the task as well.