As a black girl, one of the most frustrating things to address is my race. Don’t get me wrong- it’s something I’m very proud of. There’s never been a time where I would have preferred to be a different shade, even if that meant that life would be easier. However, it’s highly annoying when people think that the problems that occur in my life due to my race aren’t my problems… just because they haven’t experienced it.
A good example would be boys. Now, I couldn’t care less about them; at the moment, I have no interest in having a boyfriend (or a partner of any sort). However, in the black community, it is fair to say that black girls can sometimes be the least respected. The boys will, 99% of the time, always prefer the “lightskin” girls with the long, curly hair. Don’t get me wrong- mixed race girls are the prettiest of people, and their hair is amazing. However, you can understand the frustration I feel when they specifically say “no dark skinned girls”, because they’re “ugly”. It’s true that it takes us longer for our hair to grow, and that curls and long length just don’t seem to go hand in hand. When boys of our own community call us ugly because we share the same skin tone, it can be upsetting and frustrating.
Despite this, people seem to disregard this issue. People who have never once experienced this issue (either because they’re the “lightskins with curly hair”, or because they’re lucky enough to find a boy within the community that doesn’t find fellow black girls ugly) simply say that it doesn’t exist, because it has never effected them.
Now, with this example, it matters less, because it’s just a typical teenaged problem. In fact, most boys grown out of it when they grow older and realise that there’s more to a girl than her looks. But when it becomes subjects like more severe racial abuse and racism in general, and people think it’s just “a myth”, there’s a serious problem. In all honesty, I don’t think racism will ever die. I just think it’s important to address it and come to terms with the fact that it is very much real. We cannot allow ourselves to be blinded by our own lifestyles, to the point where we can’t see how other people are living
Obviously, not only black people suffer from racial abuse. Anyone can. And so, if you’re dealing with a problem, speak up. You can always talk to a TWE member for support. Just don’t allow yourself to be silenced.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.