By Hakim Abdul-Ali
At this present time, our country and the rest of the world are going through some very difficult times. The dreaded COVID-19 virus, also known as coronavirus, is plaguing the earth and it, seemingly, has the world in its deadly, mystifying grip as of this column’s publication.
It’s also at this time when most sensible folk should (and would) heed the profound governmental warnings and the sound precautionary health and safety measures that have been voiced by responsible political leaders and knowledgeable medical personnel. Remember that responsible knowledge is maximum wisdom to the intelligent among us in “hue-manity.”
With that cautionary bit of advice passed on to you and others, I’d like to express to you now a little disturbing scenario from my worlds of existences that I witnessed recently. It seems as though the older I get, the more I learn depressingly about how much some of us really, really dislike the way we were created.
This very recent vibes comes from witnessing and hearing another older young lady of color tell another younger lady of color in a drug store that she was too dark, and that she should try a certain skin lightening cream to lighten, or enhance, her skin’s complexion. Can you believe that?
Well, I could hardly believe my ears, and if you know me by now, you know my brain was trying to process and recuperate at same time from what I was witnessing. So, when I heard that, I wistfully thought to myself how (today) some of us still hate the skin that we’re in, and that saddened me to no end.
This rap, message, or whatever you want to call it today, is only for the pridefully intelligent folk of color among us, who know that one’s wondrous skin tone, whatever shade, hue or tone it may be, is from the Creator Alone and no other. So, I, wholeheartedly, believe there’s no need to mess with perfection, if you get where I’m coming from.
Some demented and very bewildered folk may not get what I’m expressing, or feeling, because they are probably caught up in a very modernistic and fantasized “Hollyweird” type copycat syndrome. That’s what I believed I was experiencing when I witnessed what I heard that day in the drug store between the two aforementioned ladies of color.
Respectfully, I believe one of those ladies didn’t feel a natural sense of ethnic worthiness in her very own created uniqueness but probably (?) felt that beauty may only be skin deep, but “ugliness is to the bone.” I trust that I’m not being too transparent by saying what I’m saying today, because, truthfully speaking, some folk in the Afrikan, Afro-American and all other confused Afro-descendant worlds of existences, still really have a problem with being called or identified as Black, Afro or simply having anything to do with being of the Afrikan lineage.
From that local drug store scene that I witnessed here in the Lowcountry recently to certain the islands of the Caribbean, and even to many nations in the Motherland herself, the diseases of self-hatred and self-contempt are spreading like self-denigrating mental viruses. It’s with remorse that I have to utter that, but the current status of “our reality” is most certainly backing my assertions without legitimate denials.
If you are of color, living in the caldrons of ever-lasting colonialisms still has many so-called currently sophisticated, “educated” folk of color trying their darnedest to look like and imitate their colonial oppressors in norm after norm. Again, if you are of color, you know very well that the truth speaks volumes, especially, when I comes to seeing how so many Afro-descendant folk presently, who are preoccupied being, acting and looking like someone they obviously aren’t and never could be, are hidden behind myriads of stoic pretenses.
My discerning truth is that I believe in and honor the God Alone fact that each and “every” created soul should love, respect and cherish the skin that they’re born with. If infinite intelligence is the sign of pure spiritual wisdom and, hopefully, that’s recognized by one and all, then we all should know that the Most High Alone never errors in whatever He Alone does.
That should be an undeniable conclusive identification in every created soul’s spiritual consciousness because life is too short to allow flagrant racism towards others and wanton disrespect of one’s self to linger any longer. I have often felt that the denial of one’s true self lies in the glaring fact that self-respect, many times, is a missing part of those souls’ spiritual consciousnesses.
Maybe, that’s why so many absent-minded ebony souls of color are so psychologically uptight about their physical appearances, etc. Self-hatreds and the absenteeism of positive self-respect, I would assume, go hand-and-hand with the destruction of one’s overall mental and physical outlooks about feeling positive about who he or she is.
Poet and university professor Nikki Giovanni once said, “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” In my way of looking at how to assist anyone in learning how to stop hating themselves and others, including one’s skin tones and facial features, is what I think Sister Nikki is addressing.
While continuing on Sister Nikki’s vibes, I’m reminding myself of something that the philosopher Cornel West reiterated when he said, “Any time there is a self-loving, self-respecting, and self-determining Black man of woman, he or she is one of the most dangerous folk in America. Because it means you are free enough to speak your mind, you’re free enough to speak the truth.” Hmm! That’s deep.
Please think judiciously about that. And, in my wholesome view of what ails Afro-folk as a globally respected folk, I feel that it essentially comes down to what Brother West said. We have to stop hating ourselves collectively and, in order to accomplish that, it starts with each one of us stopping the hatred of ourselves individually. Again, please, please think about this too.
Finally, if you’re a consummate, intelligent thinker, as I feel that you are, remember that self-hatred is a debilitating virus for which there is a cure, and that cure is to earnestly love one’s self and others also. The viruses of racism and self-hatreds are nothing to play just like the COVID-19 pandemic that presently plagues the world is, so be aware and be safe—it could cost you very soul and life.
Please take care of yourself and your family members. For today and always, that’s, “As I See It.”