I cannot tell you how often that phrase has been used to describe me. I also cannot tell you how much it pisses me off in a myriad of ways.
I am pretty certain I’ve blogged about this before but here we go again because it keeps fucking happening to me.
I am 33 years old, have a master’s degree in library science, work full time, and own my own house and car. In addition to working full time, I have a daughter, I write, and do anything I can to have a viable side hustle so I can pay off my mortgage before I put my little one through college. There is rarely a moment I have where I am not actively working on making money in some form or taking care of my home. I got these things by busting my ass in school and later busting my ass at work so my bosses respect me, my co-workers respect me, and my family respects me. Calling me spoiled because I worked hard in school and it paid off for me is moronic and teaches people that hard work in school doesn’t count as ‘work,’ and therefore shouldn’t be bothered with. Considering how many children these days are illiterate, perhaps this is a shitty message to send.
My ancestry is Bermudian and British. My skin is on the lighter side of the spectrum but my parents raised me to consider myself Black. I call myself Black. I have Black parents and extended family. I may LOOK White or Hispanic to you but I’m NOT. There is nothing wrong with being White or Hispanic and people who attempt to insult me by calling me those are fucking disgusting and should be ashamed of themselves. And what really sucks? I rarely get this from White people (although it does happen). I get this from Black people; people I consider a part of who I am. And this is not only hurtful to me, it perpetuates the same damn superficial bullshit that equates lighter skin with more attractiveness. It’s just flipping it and now, I get to be worth less than you because I’m lighter and you’re darker.
To tell the truth, I HATED my light skin for a long time. You hear all the time about dark skinned people wanting to be lighter because lighter skin has been associated with power, beauty, and status. This goes back to the bygone days of the Paper Bag Test; a test I would have HAPPILY FAILED. I wanted to be darker. I felt excluded by the African American community because I wasn’t dark enough, excluded by Whites because I’m not “all White,” and when I was a kid, I would have given ANYTHING to have the same dark skin as my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
I cannot tell you how pissed off I get when this happens. But I should thank them. So, to the people who have said and will probably continue to say this about me; I say thank you. Thank you for relegating four generations of hard work and sacrifice to the pity of others who see me as so pathetic, they need to do favors for me. Thank you for assuming I’m too stupid to get by on my own merit. Thank you for equating making frugal decisions with my money with being spoiled. Thank you for assuming all I have is effortless just because you weren’t there when the work was being done. Thank you for assuming it’s so easy just because you don’t have it and didn’t go through what I did. No, really; thank you.
Because you look like a fucking idiot when it comes out of your mouth and you set humanity – regardless of color – back every time you do it.