The Stigma Of My Skin

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

My skin is black. It feels like the world has turned it back on me, but to say that would be incorrect not just me us. I feel the weight of my skin from the time I wake up in the morning until I lay back down in my bed to rest. I see the eyes that look down at me in disdain because of my pigmentation, and I turn away. I’m not what they want me to be. Because I’m not loud, angry, or spend hundreds of dollars on fixing my hair because it has been instilled in us since we were little that our natural hair is ugly- nappy, kinky and coarse and must be fixed.

Because of the way I speak and present myself- even because my name I am told I am black on the outside and white on the inside. Because of the ignorant generalizations of people because of their skin color, I am not black. Because of this I sometimes think what a strange world we live in where people aren’t judged on their character but judged and discriminated against because of their pigmentation,sexuality orientation,religious beliefs and where they came from.

My skin is black. I’ve grown up in a world where light skin is idolized, and dark skin is considered unattractive. I feel the stigma of my existence, even the ones who look like us don’t want us- they say “she’s too dark” and her beauty is seen as inferior to the lighter women.

Today, I see my fellow brothers being shot down with no justice from the ones who are supposed to make us safe. But there is no place safe, not when the skin I carry on my back is seen as a weapon itself.

My skin is black, and I am not a thug or a criminal. I hear the people who don’t know what it is like to be us delude themselves and say that it is us. That we are the problem. And I laugh Because the hate they gave us has stuck with us and is being thrown back into their face. I see the fear in them, they fear that what happens to people of color will happen to them. And I’m left appalled because it’s clear they see the struggles that we face but choose to ignore them until we refuse to remain silent anymore and stand up. We say that our life matters and they will try to silence us once more and say “all lives matter.” But it is true they do, but they won’t until ours are considered just as important as theirs. My skin is black, and I am a girl who won’t be silenced, told how I am supposed to be. Because I refuse to let, their stigma control me.

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