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A Ugly Black Girl

A Ugly Black Girl

Ugly Black Girl:

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I’ve been face-blind since I was born. I tried to hide my total inability to see anyone’s face with clothing. As a result, people didn’t know how to interact with me. That mattered a lot for my dating life but only limited my career opportunities. Because of that, I was a bitter, shut-in for decades.

Ugly

Working at a now-defunct magazine, I had heard that a high ranking member of the fashion team didn’t “use” black models because they were “ugly and fat.” That didn’t stop me from suggesting a conventionally attractive black friend of mine for a column that set everyday people up on blind dates. The photo editor, an often disheveled white woman, groused about having to shoot “these ugly people.” When I pointed out that one half of the supposedly unsightly duo was a close friend, she replied, “And?”

If you haven’t heard by now, a video of Atlanta-based hairstylist Shabria — aka Lil Wave Daddy — went viral this past weekend of her encouraging a little Black girl named Ariyonna to appreciate her beauty after calling herself ugly. You’ll see the video capture Ariyonna catching a glimpse of herself in the mirror nonchalantly saying “I’m ugly,” to which Shabria responds by wrapping the 4-year-old in her arms and showering her with love. (Source: afrotech.com)

White

By the time I got to college, I started trying to control my aesthetics: I struggled with my weight, and yo-yoed between very skinny (from occasional starving) or just shy of plump (from eating whatever I wanted all the time); my hair was a constant source of frustration and insecurity: keeping it long meant figuring out how to manage it (no one in my family had known), keeping it short meant an undeniable afro (pretty much the marker of blackness). I experimented with my (white) sister’s curling iron, straightening my hair and pulling it back. I obsessed about getting tan in the summer, because the more tan I was the more white-person tanned I looked, as opposed to just black. I kept trying on look after look, perfecting and discarding different versions of my blackness.

And when I came into contact with black boys – when I visited my birthmother – I was considered cute, but not cute enough to make up for the fact that I “talked like a white girl”. Before I became culturally bilingual and understood the power and impetus of code switching, I spoke like the white parents and family that raised me. I used “neat” instead of “fresh”, and “relax” instead of “chill”, and so on. My racial legitimacy was nascent, and it was revealed nowhere more clearly than in my spoken voice – a cross between Sarah Jessica Parker from Square Pegs and Julie McCoy from The Love Boat. Still, I always felt far more attractive in the company of black boys and girls; I might not have been gorgeous by their standards, but at least it wasn’t my skin that disqualified me from the competition. (Source: www.theguardian.com And when I came into contact with black boys – when I visited my birthmother – I was considered cute, but not cute enough to make up for the fact that I “talked like a white girl”. Before I became culturally bilingual and understood the power and impetus of code switching, I spoke like the white parents and family that raised me. I used “neat” instead of “fresh”, and “relax” instead of “chill”, and so on. My racial legitimacy was nascent, and it was revealed nowhere more clearly than in my spoken voice – a cross between Sarah Jessica Parker from Square Pegs and Julie McCoy from The Love Boat. Still, I always felt far more attractive in the company of black boys and girls; I might not have been gorgeous by their standards, but at least it wasn’t my skin that disqualified me from the competition. (Source:www.theguardian.com))

 

 

 

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