Our Black Girls…
If it’s not their skin pigment, it’s their hair, or their self-awareness of what society identifies as beautiful or not. Our black girls feel that their hair is never quite long enough or their skin not quite fair enough to identify themselves as beautiful; therefore, as parents of young girls, it is imperative that we tell our young women how beautiful they are and how wonderful they are just as they are! Although, we hint or allude our thoughts to our young women, saying it regularly is a necessity that our young women should hear daily.
When is the last time, you told a young black girl that she was absolutely beautiful? If we don’t tell them and reinforce it, we can’t wait for society to step up and do it. It’s obvious that we’ll never make black beauty an important enough topic world-wide because what is viewed and accepted as beautiful in America is white. Our girls are told through movies, videos, commercials, and beauty pageants that black women have a difficult time appealing to this invisible man-made societal belief that black women aren’t in the rankings of being the Most Beautiful Women Alive! Yet we are!
Our skin tones vary in such that we fall between Praline Cream to Chocolate Velvet, but all we see is light skin and black. We have the body shape that all women from Brazilians to Irish go under the knife to achieve! We have strong dominated features that pronounce our presence in this world as Queens. Along with our outstanding attributes, we hold a strength that only we as Black women possess and can never be reproduced by any other.
All this is true, yet so very few gravitate towards the belief that they are beautiful. What is seen instead is what society has labeled as beautiful. We have been taught to undermine those features that make us beautiful in order to suppress our security and confidence. Imagine if all black women knew the secret that they are absolutely beautiful? Degrading oneself would stop, chasing men would stop, feeling insecure or needy would stop, and most of all, we’d stop looking for a man to validate or ensure that we exist because everything we need is already embedded within ourselves.
And little black girls would feel confident enough to walk around understanding that their skin is marvelous, their presence is intimidating, and that other women study their very being in an attempt to clone something that is either innate or not.
Little white girls are told they are beautiful everyday just by turning on the television or watching a movie, while our girls are rarely and scarcely ever portrayed as beautiful! So the charge for today and everyday henceforth, is to remind every black girl contacted that she is absolutely gorgeous and to be proud and confident enough to show it!
Helen Keller said, “Being Blind is bad, but having eyes and not seeing is worse.”
I recently read “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson, which is probably one of the most situational ironic stories I have ever read. As I was reading the story and began to analyze the overall hypocrisy and theme attached, I realized how quickly we as people are to grasp an idea or concept and accept it to no end and without consequence.
Man. vs. Society conflict is present in everyday living; Jackson outlines the sneaky or subliminal ideas that our government, media, and social leaders program our brains to receive with zero questions.
In the short story, Jackson titles “The Lottery,” to create an idea in the readers mind that someone will gain or win something valuable; therefore, as the reader reads on, Jackson carefully, but knowingly adds symbolic references to death and bad luck as presented by the following: black spot and box, three legged stool, perfect setting, and she even plays with the characters names, such as, Mr. Graves, and Mrs. Hutchinson.
I thought of Helen Keller’s quote after reading the story and began to realize her overall theme or message to the world. Because the story has no original setting or set location, the story is referencing society as a whole and the various ideas we as citizens adopt without challenge or cause.
I thought of a few beliefs that are pressed upon us that could very well serve as an example of thinking we are winning, but actually winning to lose:
Student Loans are required for any student who has not received a scholarship or award based off their educational achievements in high school; therefore, majority of minority students rank in the latter. We are segregated by bias test, of course, the obvious race segregation has been banned, yet most parents of minority students push the college and higher educational spoon into our mouths not knowing that the acceptance into the college also means higher debt for that child. But most minority students and graduates enjoy boasting about their educational achievements. Yet, fail to mention the debt accumulated from trying to win a “lottery ticket.” Winning but losing.
The belief that success is measured by the amount of money, the size of your home, bank account, credit score, social life, personal life, family, and overall our socioeconomic status is false. Yet, those of us who purchase those homes purchase them not from need, but for image. Those of us who purchase the cars we know others want to see, don’t purchase it for us, we purchase it for them. While, success is not measured externally, our society, especially the media, does exactly what Jackson and Keller display throughout their writings as believing we are winning when the win is actually a lose!
Although, at the end of Jackson’s short story, Mrs. Hutchinson’s family received the black dot and therefore, won the Lottery for that year. I can’t help but notice the allusion created by having the husbands draw the ticket as representing the curses and cycles created by families that become difficult for other family members to break out of or even notice for that matter; if the husbands win the first round, he will then have to subject his family to another risk. I see this as Nathaniel Hawthorne represented Hester Prynne in the Scarlet Letter; it becomes a scar of shame.
Winning the Lottery, in Jackson’s story delivers the message that a family would be scarred for life. Winning meant never being the same again. Even though, society has created multiple ideas and beliefs from religion to education that set us up for the black spot, we are unable to recognize them because challenging a tradition or belief is seen as radical and most of us would rather conform than fight regardless of the ridiculous nature for which the ideas present.
And in order to not be a spoiler, I will not proceed with the ending, but I do recommend it for a good read.