"Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? To such extent you bleach, to get like the white man. Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don't want to be around each other? No... Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you." - Malcolm X
These powerful words spoken by Malcolm X on May 22 1962, still hold true to this day.
My sister and I have this on-going joke that if we were both white, we would be considered much hotter or attractive than we are now. On many occasions we have caught ourselves making jokes about how black women might be a 10 around other black people, but as soon as you put yourself in a white environment subtract 5. And even though we laugh and joke, we both know that deep down we really do believe what we are saying.
For the past 2-3 years we have spent the summer in Senegal, and to say that I am shocked by the attention that I have gotten by men there is an absolute understatement. To be admired for the features that I have been told for many years are ugly is unbelievable to me.
What do you mean you like my wide nose, and big lips? AM I BEING PUNK’D?
It is extremely easy to answer the question.. who taught me to hate myself? I can write you a whole list, and I’m sure that I’m not the only one.
Anywhere and everywhere you look there’s something or someone telling some type of black woman that they aren’t good enough, that they don’t measure up. When you get on Instagram you are bombarded with the perfect woman, the “Instagram baddie”. When you flip through magazines, you see models like Chanel Iman or Jourdan Dunn… but what if I’m not 5’10, skinny, with borderline “white” features? Am I ugly?
We can’t sit here and put all of the blame on other people and things. Yes, social media and all of these other outlets play a role but black people need to admit that we are also a part of the problem, a major part of the problem. Rather than fight to change these constructs and create our own standards of beauty, some of us choose to accept what we’ve been told and we INSIST on pushing this onto others.
You would think that since we all share the same emotionally tiring experience of being black we would all be 100% ready to uplift each other. That is not the case. A lot of the hate that black women receive comes from black men and other women.
Like Malcolm X said, “The most disrespected woman in America is the black woman.”