Living a Lie: A Deal Worth $3000, Jay Wilds and Neighbor Boy

If you haven’t heard season 1 of the Serial podcast,  the follow-up podcast Undisclosed: The State vs. Adnan Syed, or my previous post this post will not make much sense.

For the last several months now I’ve been mildly obsessed with the case surrounding the disappearance and murder of Hae Min Lee in Baltimore City/County in 1999.  I pray that her family and Adnan’s gets real justice.

After I finished the Undisclosed podcast I discovered the Truth & Justice with Bob Ruff podcast. Somewhere around the middle of the season Bob rebranded the podcast from its original name of Serial Dynasty.

Episode 18 of the “Truth & Justice” Podcast was shocking! Halfway thru Bob drops a bombshell… that he had been communicating with Jay Wilds for weeks.  My mouth dropped open and my heart skipped a beat!

Bob appealed to Jay by professing his belief that Jay was innocent in the murder case of Hae Min Lee.  Bob disclosed that he was sure that Jay had essentially been puppeteered by the police and coerced into confessing any involvement in the case.  Although Jay did not confirm Bob’s suspicions, surprisingly, he did not deny them either.

Ultimately, this just confirmed one of my theories in this case.  That Jay really was not involved in the disappearance and ultimately the murder of Hae.

Bob mentioned that he actually felt bad for Jay.  And I can understand Bob’s feelings.  I think that once Jay got involved he quickly got in over his head and before he could realize what was happening he had potentially just screwed himself.  And all for what may have seemed like a deal he couldn’t pass up, when it was all said and done, he really had just offered his friend or close associate up for something Jay had no actual knowledge of.

Let’s examine this…in my opinion, the cops probably had a small drug charge on Jay that they were using against him.  Claiming to file charges and arrest him on possession charges if he didn’t give them information on who they suspected was involved which was Adnan.

The cops, like Bob hypothesized, likely told Jay that they knew Adnan was guilty of murdering Hae, and that Jay needed to cooperate and provide additional details.  I’m convinced that Jay didn’t believe them at first, but they were probably very persuasive.  Convinced at some point that the cops did actually have some real evidence of Adnan’s involvement in Hae’s murder, Jay likely began painting a picture of the last few weeks he had spent with Adnan.

The first thing that probably came out was that his girlfriend Stephanie’s birthday was January 13th.  It was a significant date not just because it was the day that Hae went missing but because it was also Stephanie’s birthday.  So that had to be part of the narrative, because clearly if Adnan was really close friends with Stephanie, Jay’s girlfriend, and had gotten her a birthday gift, and advised Jay to do the same.  So I suspect the narrative that was heard at trial was built around the mall trip etc. and Stephanie’s birthday.  But at this point Jay is already singing. Painting a picture of Adnan that the cops wanted and needed in order to frame the state’s case.

At some point during the many chats with the police and interrogations, Jay had to realize that his lies and claims had gotten him far deeper than he had ever imagined his Crimestoppers “anonymous tip” would get him.  He just wanted to collect $2500 well $3000 when it was all said and done.

The thing is most people probably know that the tip you provide to Crimestoppers is only paid out if it results in the solving or conviction of the case. So unless you have some guilty knowledge or real awareness of the facts surrounding a case, it’s not a very lucrative decision.

Knowing what he knows now, I’m almost certain Jay would have made much different choices when it comes to his claims and involvement in this case altogether. I can probably bet that if he had the chance to do it all over again:

  • he would have kept his mouth shut and taken his chances with the ‘probably’ minor drug charge he was facing, rather than be intimidated by the Baltimore Police
  • send an associate to jail,
  • involve his best friend Jen in a crazy mess
  • and essentially be at the mercy of the prosecutor and charging officers for years and years to come.

Looking back now that Jay has moved away and has a wife and family of his own he wants to protect, who wouldn’t choose a few days or weeks in jail over a lifetime of harassment and accusatory claims against themselves.

Photo of now 35-year old Adnan Syed at his PCR hearing in Baltimore, February 2016.

It’s really a shame that Jay was so selfish in this, because it was certainly not worth sending an innocent man to jail.  Who knows whether he knew it from the beginning, sometime after Adnan’s arrest, or if it wasn’t until he was at the trial that he became aware his actions had sent a close associate to jail for a crime he had not committed.

Can you imagine being Adnan…being arrested for the murder of your ex-girlfriend whom you loved and not knowing why you were being targeted as her murderer? And then learning that someone you thought was your friend had actually gone to the cops and accused you of the heinous act, and having absolutely no idea why this guy would make up this lie. And more so, how this huge misunderstanding wasn’t cleared up, then you end up being tried and convicted.  I’d be dumbfounded and blaming myself for even being in the same social circle as someone who could do something like that.

Neighbor Boy

The neighbor boy portion was also very interesting…I actually believe that what we’ve heard on Serial and Undisclosed about the personality and character traits of Neighbor boy is probably a combination of both Neighbor Boy and Jay Wilds.

My assessment was that Jay possessed more of the “blabbermouth” quality that was pinned on Neighbor boy than Neighbor Boy (NB) actually did.  NB seemed like a guy that sorta wanted to be liked by people so he would just share interesting info and stories he had heard or experienced. But not in a ‘I’ve got a secret’ type of way, more of a social conversation… ‘Did you hear about …’ kind of way.

According to NB, Jay told him that Adnan had murdered Hae and showed him (Jay) Hae’s body in the trunk of a car.  NB also stated to Bob Ruff that according to Jay, because Adnan was Jay’s weed supplier that Jay had expected to see a large amount of weed in the trunk when Adnan supposedly went to ‘pop the trunk’ but was surprised to see a dead body instead.  Which to me is hardly believable that Adnan was Jay’s supplier.

The cast of characters in this story is just unbelievable. If Hollywood doesn’t take this real life drama and turn it into a movie, they’re losing out on a huge pay day! I don’t want to make light of a serious situation but I could come up with a great cast….maybe my next post?

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Serially Obsessed!

IMG_9276The story of a missing high school honor student who was later found dead and her recent ex-boyfriend who was charged with her murder in Maryland back in 1999 has been my latest obsession for the last few weeks. If by now, you have not heard about the SERIAL podcast that began in October of 2014, then you must be living in a cave.

I first learned about this podcast about a year ago when the Today Show did a segment on it as the last episode was preparing to be released for season 1.  I have never really got into the whole “podcast” thing so I didn’t pay it too much attention then. But for whatever reason I recently heard the first episode of Serial’s season 1 and was immediately hooked. It is great for traveling so I binged through it quickly.

For quick background information on the case, SSerialerial provides a “partially unbiased” look into what happened on the afternoon of January 13th 1999, and the events that followed.  Essentially, a Korean-American female high school senior, Hae Min Lee, went missing on January 13 in 1999.  Her body was found a few weeks later in the city of Baltimore and her recent Pakistani-American ex-boyfriend and classmate, Adnan Syed, was charged with her murder.

The thing that makes this case so interesting is the cast of characters involved in the resulting trial, but more than anything it is the lack of real evidence against Adnan that somehow got him convicted and the fact that he very much seems like the most unluckiest person alive.

After I finished listening to SERIAL, I had my own theory, which I’ll share in a later post, on the case but was still a bit hesitant to make a firm assertion as to who I thought was guilty/involved etc.  So as many others have stated, Serial left me with more questions than I was comfortable with.

Luckily I immediately began listening to what I’ll call the sister podcast series entitled “Undisclosed: The State vs. Adnan Syed” which unlike SERIAL was very biased towards the innocence of Adnan.  But after episode 10 of Undisclosed, which I had to listen to at least 4 times to understand what they were trying to explain, I was convinced that Adnan was the lead character in a series of very unfortunate events, and that he was wrongfully convicted.

For me this case is even more interesting because 10 years ago I lived in Baltimore county not too far from Woodlawn high school, the school the victim and her boyfriend attended, and I’m familiar with several of the locations mentioned in the case.

But for me this is/was a case of more than just guilt or innocence. It is a case of justice and our very flawed legal system and our even more flawed prison and reform system. Whether you believe Adnan is guilty or not, one thing that is certain is that his court case was a complete circus and undoubtedly should not have led to his conviction.

Because of my past career plans to complete law school and pursue a career in the legal system, this case and all of the hoopla surrounding it have made me strongly reconsider my decision against going to law school.  I’m excited about a few things I have in the works that will allow me to explore an old and now refreshed passion of mine. And I’m also excited to see what will happen with this ongoing case, as recently a Baltimore City judge granted Adnan’s request for a post conviction hearing relief to reopen his case.

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Dear Hotels,

Dear Hotels,

Black people want wash cloths for their hotel rooms. No not a hand towel… no…not a body towel.  A WASH CLOTH!

washclothsWashcloths are little square sized cloths about 5 inches by 5 inches.  We typically like two per person. One for our face and one for the rest of our body.

We use them in conjunction with the soap or body wash. We don’t apply the soap directly on the skin, because someone else may be sharing that same bar of soap. (And that is nasty!)  So we suds the cloth with soap and water and use the cloth to wash.

Also, the cloth acts as a light exfoliant, which is probably why you always compliment us on the smoothness of our skin.  Now you’ve been informed why #blackdontcrack.

I’ve never been to another black persons home where they did not offer me a wash cloth and a full body towel. It is just how we roll. So please do not come back with every kind of towel BUT a wash cloth the next time we ask. I know you have them in your inventory. Because Susan gave me one two days ago.  Now why the housekeeper took it and didn’t replace it with another washcloth, is a whole other post.

-Sincerely annoyed hotel guest

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Use Your Words

useyourwords Friend, foe, man, homie, ex, lover, and pronouns are all words that can just as easily be used to describe the person in question. There are a myriad of words that can be used to address or describe a person.  So why promulgate a word with such a negative history.  No matter how you try and skin the cat, it’s still a cat.

You often hear parents scold their youth when they whine or fail to accurately articulate their wants or needs, using the phrase “Use your words”.  That is what words are for, to help us communicate the thoughts in our minds. So we use our words to translate those thoughts into intelligible phrases that can be understood by others.

This post has been in my mind for years. If you know me personally, then you know how I loathe the “N” word.  Let’s be clear. I’m referring to the word “Nigga” or “Nigger” or any variant of the word.  I don’t even use the word when reciting lyrics that are littered with the word.

Nword

How can we continually expect others to refrain from using a word that is so heavily embedded in our own vocabularies.  I hear the “N” word far to regularly, from friends and family.  Incessantly I’ll ask the individual or individuals to refrain from using it.   It bothers me.

I’ve been ‘affectionately’ called the “N” word. But let’s be clear about something else. I am not now, nor have I ever been a nigga or anybody’s nigga.  So I will not allow you to call me or refer to me as such.

I have a friend who must have the “N” word as his most frequently used word. And I’ve questioned him on why he chooses to use that word so often.   Although I know he does not have any children, I’ve asked, “Would you call your daughter or mother a Nigga?”  His response was, “Yea, I call my nieces that”.  All I could do at that point was shake my head, as we have had several conversations about the “N-word” in length.

If you can’t comfortably use a word in the presence of your parents, your youthful children, the president of the United States, your boss, a mixed crowd, or any group of people for that matter, perhaps you shouldn’t use it.  It just shouldn’t be in your vocabulary, and especially not in heavy rotation.

Some argue that the word should just be removed altogether, and I agree with that to some degree. But you can’t completely remove a word from any language.  Just as you can’t remove the history of those who fought so hard for our freedoms and equality that were challenged each time that nefarious word was used. Especially not this word, with such a complex history. But just as you will seldom hear a gay man call another gay man a “faggot”, it’s just as absurd to me for a black person to call another black person a “nigga”.

It’s disrespectful!  By eliminating or reducing its use we begin moving towards the right direction, and hopefully those of African descent will be closer to being regarded equally in our global society.  We disrespect and harm our own kind at a disproportionate rate compared to any other group.  So how can we expect everyone else to respect us if we blatantly disrespect ourselves and our ancestors.

I promise you that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would never utter the word Nigga to greet a friend, or refer to anyone. And if he was alive today he would be disheartened by the prevalence of the word.

The word Nigger was used very negatively in the past to defame, devalue, and define a group of people simple based on the color of their skin.  Just because one has a certain level of natural melanin in their skin, they were angrily called a Nigger.  In the same token, they were beat, raped, killed, falsely accused, unjustly targeted and in many cases this is still continuing today.

So many people have become desensitized by the words’ usage. You can hear it on a daily basis if you listen to the radio, watch television or movies or have casual interactions with people.  Which in my opinion is also part of the problem.  As a black woman, I know the history of the word Nigga or Nigger, it’s affected my parents and grandparents and their parents in a negative way. So I know the history associated with it and it is very negative.  I know it because in a sense I’ve lived it.

Especially when I hear stories from my grandparents about using a “whites only” water fountain or movie theater section.  I can sense the pain emoted from this era and its biased societal norms.

If I was Jewish I’m sure the sensitivities associated with Germany during the Holocaust, or concentration camps or genocide of my people would be a sore subject.  Particularly if a word once used derogatorily to describe my people was rebranded and used matter-of-factly to address or describe those same people but more importantly used by those same people.  This concept as it is applied to another group of people, in this case those who follow Judaism, is so foreign to me that it is hard to compare and associate it in a fashion similar to blacks and the “N” word.

But you’d be hard pressed to find another group of people who have adapted a negative word into their daily vocabulary to describe themselves.

I’ve posed this question to two black men “How would you feel if you heard a white man use the N word?” One told me he wouldn’t like it, and the other said he wouldn’t really care. I would personally rather that nobody used it regardless of their skin color. If a white or non-black person sings along with the word in a song, although it may have no malicious intent, subconsciously it gives them permission and condones the use of the word. They become comfortable with the word and sometimes have no concept of what the word means to a lot of black Americans. To quote Piers Morgan, “Teach the youth of today the N-word is so heinous that even to repeat it ironically is to perpetuate its poison.”

If we want society/Americans/non-blacks to appreciate us, to recognize us as successful, contributing members of society and not nuisances, or terrorists, or animals, we must stop using a word that embodies those exact sentiments.

In the end, the mainstream use of the N-word is something that may be debated for years to come. But my hope is that it is replaced with something non-controversial or as previously stated a pronoun or specific word that denotes the intended meaning.

If you have to debate over whether or not to use a word in hopes of not offending someone or some group of people, err on the side of caution and refrain from using it at all or USE YOUR WORDS to describe or explain the message you are trying to convey.

 

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What’s it Like to be with a Black Woman?…My First Solicitation in Frankfurt: The Serbian

So I get a call from Nicola, the Serbian here in Frankfurt. He asks if we can meet and I oblige. We meet close to downtown at a popular cafe chain.  We talk more about the car I want to purchase and he provides me some information on dealerships etc. I ordered sweet potato fries and water because I was starving and he order ginger ale.  We stay and chat for about an hour before he walks me across the street to the U-bahn station.

As we’re about to depart he confides that he wanted to be honest with me.  He asks what I thought about him, adding that he was curious to know how I felt about men seducing me.  Confused, I asked what he meant by seducing me. He stammered a bit before sharing that in this context he was referring to having sex.  He went on to say that he’s attracted to me, and that he think’s it a huge curiosity for European men to want to be with an African or African-American women, in particular, because the European women that the European men tend to date are physically much different. Black women have big butts and boobs and it’s enticing for him and other men like him to want to know what it’s like to be with a black women.

He asked me how men in America approach me or other women with the same intention. I said honestly, they’re usually not very upfront about their sexual intentions and will date a girl as long as it takes to get sex out of it.  It’s not always the case but it can be many times.  He asked me what my thoughts were on all of what he had asked and shared, hoping I wasn’t offended.

I assured him that I wasn’t offended, mainly because he was respectful, and I could understand his curiosity.  But I let him know that I wasn’t interested in being his science project or open to charity sex.  Maybe if I was 5 years younger I may have been down to test the waters. But at this point I’d rather not waste my time entertaining someone who has no intention of getting to know me or any intentions of building a real relationship.

We talked a bit more and I learned that ultimately he wanted to marry a woman like him, Serbian. I completely understood that. While I don’t know what my future holds I typically picture my husband to be a reflection of me.  In the sense that he’ll look like me and we’ll share the same understanding of what it means to be an African American.  So I understood his desire to marry a Serbian woman.  For many minorities, I think it not only is easier to date and marry someone with the same ethnic background, but it many cases is just who you happened to be most attracted to. The same goes for religious affiliation.

We ultimately agreed that we’d likely not see each other again but I was happy to have met him and understand his perspective of interracial dating, and curiosity about black women.  Luckily he was respectful about it, as I’m sure that is not always the case with other people I may meet.

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My Second Solicitation in Frankfurt

So im waiting at the bus stop on Sunday to go downtown. I see this older man crossing the street towards me in a Shalwar Kamize. I acknowledge him and he sits a seat away from me. After a few seconds he acknowledges me  back and says something in German. I reply “English?”.

He asks where im from and I tell him American. He tells me I’m  beautiful a few times before asking if I liked him. Confused on how to reply to that, I shrug and say I dont know.
Then he makes his request clear asking if I like sex? 

Im thinking oh boy here we go…
I didn’t respond so he continues.  Do you like sex outside?I said no!

You don’t like sex outside? And proceeds to point to the park behind us.  Only 2 or 5 minutes he adds, as if that was suposed to entice me to take him up on his offer. 

I just ignored him
                                                    
He asks if I have kids I say no. And adds you dont have kids, and you don’t like sex? Im not following his logic.  Does the fact that I’m a single woman traveling alone mean that I’m open for sex with any random, or that I’m a prostitute?

Oh did I forget to mention that he asked me how much? As in how much it would cost him to get with me.

Then he starts with the are you from africa?  I mean the fact that I consider myself an African American suggests that im of African descent. But I had to explain once again that my parents are american as are my grandparents and their parents.

I found out that he was Indian.  
He noticed my tattoo. And asked if I liked music.

And somehow he ended up          asking me about terrorists and the twin towers in NYC. I WASNT sure what exactly he was asking me at that point though. It seemed like a series of separate and seemingly unrelated questions. 

Finally the bus came and I was hoping he didn’t try and sit near me.

image

I waited too late to try and snap a picture of him. But that’s him getting onto the elevator.

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“Your Skin is Not Like Mine”

One day last week I stopped at a nearby travel agency. I wanted to see if they could find me a good deal for my upcoming trip to Italy.  I walked in and sat down in front of the other available agent as there was a gentleman occupying the other agent’s desk. I explained to the agent what I was looking for.

We chatted briefly before she got up to find a brochure.  I smiled at the gentleman sitting who was being helped by the other agent, and said “Hi”.  But he turned his head without responding. I started to get indignant because I was frustrated that Germans rarely speak back, after I greet them.  I had been told and forewarned about their temperament but thought surely they can’t all be that snobbish to not speak when spoken to.  I wanted to say hello to him again in an even louder voice than before just to ensure that he had heard me.  Surely he would respond this time.

My agent returned and I ultimately decided to ignore him. He left about 5 minutes later. And I left about 10 minutes  later.  As I’m crossing the street I see him approaching me on his bicycle.  He stops me and asks if I speak German. I replied “ein bisschen” “only a little”.  Then he asks if I spoke English, when he clearly heard me speaking English to the travel agent. But I responded positively. So he proceeded to ask me if I had time to talk over coffee.

In my mind I’m thinking “Is this the same guy who just snubbed me 20 minutes ago?”  Clearly, I was confused.  So I agreed to go to the cafe across the street.  As he locked up his bike he begins with the questions…

Him: Are you African?
Me: No
Him: Are you Haitian?
Me: No
Him: Are you Brazilian?
Me: No
Him: Dominican?
Me: I’m American
Him: Afro… American?

With every negative response I supplied him, he grew more and more confused. We sat down and I explained to him that I’m American, yes, African-American.  He then asks where my parents are from.  I said America so he proceeds to ask about my grandparents. Yup they’re American too.  I explained that at least 4 or 5 generations of my parents are all American.  But of course he follows that with “So where in Africa is your family originally from” I said to be honest I couldn’t tell you.  (I spared him the details of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, a little to heavy for me after work and over coffee at the cafe.)

Finally, it was my turn to ask the questions.  I found out that he was a Serbian living in Germany named Nicola. (It sounds really sexy when says it, compared to how it looks on the screen. )  Then I asked why he ignored me when I greeted him in the travel agency. His response was that it is atypical for Germans to speak to people they don’t know.  “But you’re not German”, I say.  And he gives me a sly smile.   He went on about how he doesn’t like German women, because they’re “hearts are cold” and his people i.e. the Serbs (is that even politically correct –the Serbs) are not like that.

I ordered a cappuccino and he ordered water.  And then we start talking about race, and color, and interracial relationships. He said it was an uncommon thing in Germany, but I disagree. I see a lot of black, mostly African, women with white, European men. Additionally, Germany has a huge U.S. military population and a great percentage of military families are biracial especially ones living overseas. So I see a lot of biracial couples and children here in Germany.  I have only seen one biracial couple where the woman was black here in Germany and the man was white.

I asked him if he had ever dated a black girl or an African girls to which he replied that he hadn’t but would like to. Adding that it’s not easy to meet them. I said for starters you can speak back, if they speak to you. He attempted to gauge my interest in dating white guys, I told him that I don’t discriminate.

He noticed the tattoo on my arm and touched it, asking if I had only one.  Then he rubbed my arm and hand, stating that “It’s so nice…your skin is beautiful, not like mine”.  As he’s rubbing his skin and rubbing mine trying to compare, I assure him that there really is no difference. But he rubbing, turned into a petting, so I removed my hand from the table. I’m nobody’s pet!

After paying for our beverages we left and began walking. He looked older but not too old, so I asked him his age.  His response was, “How old do I look?” Everyone knows that that response really means  “I’m older than I think you’ll care to entertain” OR “I’m younger than I want to share with you”.  I knew it was the former and he finally told me that he was 40-years old.  I told him my age, right before telling him that we needed to part ways. (I didn’t want him knowing where I lived, so I didn’t want to get too close to my house/neighborhood).   He asked for my number and I obliged but giving him the spelling of my name was a chore.  I spelled it in English AND in German and finally he got it right but not before pointing to signs that contained the letters in my name.  I guess I shouldn’t complain his English was way better than my German.

Of course he sent me a good morning text the following day, but managed to spell my name wrong.  I’ll never understand why people insist on spelling your name wrong when they send you a Facebook message or an email at work when my name is clearly in the address. It’s annoying as hell.

Subscribe to my blog and click here for Part II, the follow-up meeting with the Serbian.

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Dark Skin vs. Light Skin: The Color Complex

Color classification is a still a huge deal around the world and seen more prevalent in the African-American, Indian, and Asian communities. The color of one’s skin can be linked to social status in the community.

While many people of non-European decent typically think of  their own culture as being plagued by the stereotypes and negative connotations associated with darker vs. lighter skin, the truth is you can find it in almost every culture or group of people.

The Indian community has long suffered from the caste system and connections to skin color. It’s still typical to see fairer skin Indians marry each other and darker skin Indians marry each other, than to see a darker and fairer skin Indian couple marry; it’s frowned upon by the couples’ families.

Additionally, many Asians, women in particular, invest in bleaching and lightening products to make their skin fairer or whiter. If you’ve ever spent time in any Asian country you’ll notice television commercials and advertisements cast with the lightest skin women.

In the African-American community, stereotypes continue to perpetuate the idea of lighter skin being better than darker skin.  Just recently on an episode of  VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop, the rapper Consequence defended his lyrics in a song referring to the skin tone of women.

Light skin is the right skin, so you, you, you and your white friend

Maybe lighter complected skin is most attractive to him, which is fine to have a preference but to say one is right denotes that anything else is not.

One of the problems I see is that this conversation seems to evoke a feeling of black or white. Not in the sense of African-American or Caucasian but in the sense of one extreme or the other. What happens if your skin tone falls somewhere in the middle? How should you be classified? I don’t think that in the black community light skin or dark skin are sufficient adjectives to describe the many shades and hues that we bless the world with. Chocolate, latte, mocha, caramel ..we’ve relegated our color to coffee flavors. I don’t think it’s a bad thing because you actually get a better understanding of a person’s hue with those descriptors.

Color and complexion distinctions are made clear for most during childhood years. Hollywood actress Gabrielle Union depicts an all too similar experience as a ‘brown girl’ growing up  in her letter to her younger self displayed beautifully in the October 2012 issue of Ebony magazine. I read it when the issue was released and thought that it was so wonderfully and beautifully written that I cut it out, added it to my journal and was inspired to write my own letter to my younger self.

In the letter Union wrote:

Your deep Mahogany skin may not resemble that of the others in your family, but it’s just as gorgeous and you’re just as worthy….One day you’ll appreciate how much your brown skin shines in the moonlight, glistens in the sun and ages ever so slowly.

This resonating with me so strongly because I too had feelings of inferiority due to the images on television and personal experiences. As I got older I learned to accept and embrace my chocolateness. But those images that portray lighter skin as perpetually equaling beautiful still exist, so it becomes even more necessary to be confirmed in who you are, as to not compare yourself to anyone.

Through every example of skin tone revealed above and others not mentioned here, it is obvious to see that the underlying factor in the skin color debate is the lack of self-love and acceptance. No matter who you are, where you were born, how you were raised,  every person has some complex with themselves that either they don’t like, want to change or are just not comfortable with. If you find the love for yourself from within, and don’t allow other people’s opinions or judgement to dictate your beauty, stereotypes will not be an issue for you.

ETA:

Oprah’s OWN network recently aired a documentary entitled “Dark Girls” highlighting the degradation of darker skin [black] women. It depicts to a broad audience something that so many suffer from silently. I think it was pretty well done and honest. The documentary can be viewed here.

ETA:

This upcoming January 2015 Oprah’s OWN network will be airing a follow-up to the Dark Girls documentary entitled Light Girls.  I’m interested to see the juxtaposition of these two points of views.  Here is the preview:

Now that Light Girls has aired, stay tuned for my thoughts on the similarities, differences and perception.

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