for what seems like all of my life i have been conscious of the history and stigma and marginalizing of my race through the light skin vs dark skin dynamic, dichotomy bullshit in the black community. as a long time member of team darkness who grew up in Chicago, a city with many different shades of black folk, you don’t go far before people let you know just how black you are. in my house, we have just as sketchy a family tree as the next black american, so there’s a range of hues, from high yellow, or what i call first born mulatto to cherry mahogany to deep ebony. when i shine you shine. while there might have been times when it irked me to be verbally abused for something i had no control over and really didn’t see as shameful, i had a strong foundation and common fucking sense to know that the bullshit was coming from a pack of haterz. i wish i could pin point a story but all i remember is being infused with black pride from an early age. i was recently transported from north chicago (east rogers park) to south chicago (englewood) and in a new school that had an entirely different budget and protocol. the neighborhood was 99.9% black and no one was fighting my 3rd grade teacher mr. al haskins on his curriculum, which was sort of like black history month all year round. i was a brain so he let me use the excess classroom time to work on projects and presentations (instead of disrupting the class with horseplay; probably why i’m so good at showing off now, so thanks Al!). often, those included research and review of books by malcolm x, martin luther king, howard zinn, and other’s id rather not name because it was a public school setting after all.. i didn’t know how important this would be for my self development when i moved to tulsa oklahoma, in the midsouth, or the southwest, or wherever the fuck you think it should be, but down there, niggas hated black people, and black people hated niggas. all my life, I had not known any difference. on the north side, in rogers park, my childhood best friends were polish, belizean, and puerto rican. on the south side, we hadn’t quite grown to the age where we used the colloquial “nigga” meant to endear one homey to thine homey brother friend, so its commonality in discussion in tulsa was off putting (and still is. and on that “who can use the N word?” anybody with lips and a working tongue, but its a degrading word, so why would anyone with any class want to use it in their vocabulary, whether that person is white, or black like me. we all gotta stay classy. white people who use it are usually lower class and thats why their lower class black friends accept it. black people who use it are usually lower class and that why their friends of every race accept it. you think barack obama can slide with a what up nigga? ever- then you are wrong. old black people wont forgive him for stooping to low class standards (sadly white people with class would assume its now a high brow word. nigga is cunt. why would a gentleman want to use those words in public or in private.)). i couldn’t really understand the importance of having indian hair or being of mixed heritage, unless that native american card and bloodline was going to save you from the gestapo (niggas bragged about being 1/128 Indian. I’m like no offense, but i think we are all 1/128 everything). people in reservations and native americans everywhere have their own shit and their own identity and trivializing the product of both our peoples shared history by judging a grade of hair (dead fucking hair) is like fucking me because the car my dad gave me has bucket leather seats. does the engine work? and the mileage? the conversation is not without merit – look at south africa apartheid and jim crow brown paper bag tests for judging skin tone. but i guess that’s what i get for expecting oklahoma to be more forward than apartheid south africa or mississippi in 1940. maybe its because i read about malcolm’s struggle with being a red tree in a forest full of whitakers that i just didn’t relate to the expected feelings of inferiority. i have always known we all bleed red, we are all tanned white meat, and eventually our veins stay blue when the skin gets old and gray. now when i hear people comment on how beautiful that particular actress is and how great her skin looks in that dress (for an african you mean eh? racist muthafuckas), i’m like duh muthafucka, didn’t you know, the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice (or the bigger the nuts – for her pleasure), the darker the berry the stronger the roots, the darker the berry, the better the shoop. i have never had one shred of hate or self doubt because of my skin tone. trust me, i have always had enough self doubt and regrets to develop a real hate for myself (thanks mom and dad), from the actions and things i could control (i’m sorry mom and dad). i actually loved the jokes that compared me to oil and night because they usually let me know what another persons weaknesses were, like the comic with 30 minutes of rape jokes, clearly triggers for past issues with women and racist society, respectively. and what of the black person with self doubts triggered by skin complexion? i’d say they haven’t been in the world enough to know that its so trivial, in business, in love, and in life…so mercy to them, but no pity. the only pity i have for my dark skin is not being able to put colorful ink on my arms, but thanks to the latin homies, we got the black ink down pat, so no worries. of course all of this is personal and doesn’t need to be said but I am starting to think that propaganda is working on some of you other darkies and well maybe some kid will read this and understand that its all a fucking game to build self doubt, because self doubt is where struggle and misfortune thrive. i never fell for this one. when you hear this propaganda about color wars in the black community and a light person preference, i’m like duh, because its light people in control of the media. why do you think we even have a drake? if you asked me, id think we all should want to look brazilan (all over) because those muthafuckas are pretty, like puerto ricans with flat stomachs and a classier language. but even if i shave my pubes ,the chances of me or say conan obrien or even jay z ever looking like we were born on the beach in rio, with 1/128 of every nationality in the old world is a waste of life and mind and love space (wait…this just in….sammy sosa just pinged me like “nigga watch this magic”). don’t waste time with self doubt. work with what you got to get what you want. in closing, i must say this. regardless of this dark vs light skinned debate in the black community and how much traction its given by those enamored with slave mentality, its always my fairer skinned friends who complain about their skin the most. And for good reason. The fucking sunburn.
– Ryan Mega
p.s. i make just over 40K a year, so the use of the N-Word in this essay was middle class at best.
edited: now with more bacon skin!!!