As silly and crazy as this sounds, while I was a student in college, I inquired about pledging a certain sorority that was founded on my campus to become more active in my college community. Under no un-certatin terms I was informed that I was too dark to pledge. What???!!! Who says such an ignorant thing and who still does THAT??!!! Apparently THEY did and I decided to not pledge with them or anyone else. Clearly, their objectives and requirements for being a soror were extremely different than I could’ve ever imagined.
Unfortunately, this ideology goes all the way back to slavery when the lighter skinned slaves worked in the house and the dark skinned ones were made to do hard labor in the fields. The only exception usually being is if the master favored you for a special skill (driving, cooking, housework, mistress). Sad, but true.
In Lisa Raye McCoy’s directorial debut this very subject is dealt with through the subject of skin bleaching. Sad as it is, many people of color resort using bleaching creams to lighten their skin because they somehow think this will make them look better. I have to admit, I have used Retin-A to lighten up some dark spots from pimple scars…but NEVER would I bleach my skin to become a completely different skin tone. I am perfectly content with my caramel hue…Thank you very much
In Skinned, supermodel Jolie bleaches her skin to the point of being nearly unrecognizable as the beautiful chocolate princess she once was. Born to a Nigerian father and light-skinned mother, even though her beauty was constantly re-enforced by her parents, the taunting she would receive from her peers in school made her feel inadequate (such as doing the brown paper bag test as entry to a college party).
For those of you reading this and don’t know what the “brown paper bag” test is…it was used back in the day to determine whether you were dark or light skinned compared to a brown paper bag. Ridiculous…I know…but true.
One of my favorite quotes from the film is “A mother’s love is not like the rain that comes and goes, but like the sky…it will always be there.” Mommy will always love you no matter what shade of black or brown you are because her love is unconditional.
Skinned was based on premises from this book written by Queen Blessing Odegua Itua called Dying Inside – Loving Your True Skin.