Sometimes I look at my little sister and wish I had the power to filter out all what’s wrong with the world. She is a dark skinned, young lady with a shy smile and short curls. She just entered her teenage years and will learn the ways of the world. I hope it makes her stronger. I hope the pressure turns her into a diamond.

Ever since she was an infant, I told her that she’s beautiful. We’d look in the mirror and take pictures. Children need to be told they are marvelous beings because the world will not be merciful. They will not care that they’re just children and they will crush the very idea of themselves. She’s dark skinned. She’s a girl. And she will learn about the ways some of the Black men in our community think.

She will look at my skin color and hers and realize although we are Black, we are both different and may be treated that way. She may question her own beauty because of what she sees and hears. And I hope that despite what she sees and hears, she remembers my words. That she is beautiful.

Unlike Black women, who most I hear love a dark skinned Black man, or Black men entirely, I can’t help but to hear the noise of some of the Black men in my community and on screen expressing their disdain for dark skinned women. Sugar coat is as a “preference” if you will, but I heard of the brown paper bag rule and I know who you are referring to when you say “dark butts.” Admiring a woman who is “foreign” or is a “redbone” all are expressed thoughts of colorism and even racism. It is one thing to have a preference, it is another when your preference exudes disdain and devalues.

Having personally witnessed and felt the sting of a group of young Black men calling every Black woman they saw “U.B.” which meant “ugly bitch,” it made me angry and sad at the same time. It made me think of mothers and fathers that are raising these self-hating souls.

Black women are in the cross fire of so much hate and discrimination. We are in the fight, trying to encourage and push each other on, especially Black men, and yet we are backstabbed when we are told by the men we raise, love, and aid that we are not beautiful. A woman is often regarded first by her beauty. Outside of the need to ignore the European standards of beauty, you have within the Black community standards of beauty that loathe you for appearing to be look “too Black.” From hair grade discrimination to skin complexion, we either succumb to other’s standards or rebel against it with a vengeance.

I wrote a blog last year about my experience with colorism, being seen as either too light or too dark by Black men. And the funny thing is, they express their “preferences” as if I offered myself to them. What can you turn away that has never been offered to you in the first place? What are you really rejecting? A part of yourself? I can’t help but to wonder if these men who don’t like Black women or dark skinned Black women ever think of the women they date. Have they ever wondered that these women had to like THEM and the way THEY LOOK?

Until people can see pass color, it is very important we promote the importance of loving dark skin. It is very important to have celebrities like Grace Jones and Lupita Nyongo who are extraordinary representations of the underrepresented women in Hollywood.

Every woman, but especially every Black woman, and most of all of the darkest rose needs to know she is cherished. Her beauty shines with the rest of us. She is everything and more. You can’t love others who do not love themselves. You cannot see beauty through anyone’s eyes. See it through your own, and there you will find the love you need.