Over the last week or so, I’ve felt compelled to write about the Internet buzz surrounding racist comments about Black women (see http://tropie7189.blogspot.com/2011/05/objective-beauty-ladies-embrace-your.html) and a fantastic movie by Bill Duke (Duke Media) and D Channsin Berry (Urban Winter Entertainment) called Dark Girls which explores colorism (http://vimeo.com/24155797). These conversations have further illuminated the importance of evaluating how we perceive our beauty and recognizing that the value we affix to hair texture, color, etc. are in part determined by how we think (and sometimes know) others perceive us. So what do you do when there are negative perceptions of you? When people invalidate you? Obviously, I don’t have all of the answers. However, I can say for myself that, as a Christian woman my self-concept has to be tied to who Jesus says I am. When I stray from that, I find myself depressed and worried about the opinions of others, constantly chasing external validation and affirmation. You may not believe in Christ but what do you believe in? What anchors your self-concept? What stable source provides you with guidance to withstand the constant barrage of messages that we are not good enough? Please comment on how you withstand negative messages about your beauty, about your self-worth more generally?
Back when I was a consultant, wearing my hair in locs was empowering and challenging at the same time. I remember a time when I was told that I needed to better reflect the appearance of the client executives who’d engaged our consulting team. Thank God for Jesus (both for anchoring me and preventing me from punching homegirl out)! I was able to say, wait a minute, God made my hair like this, my color like this and God doesn’t make junk! This girl is just straight crazy! Yes, it was still hard to accept that some people don’t think I’m beautiful. However, the more important message that I took away was that I wanted to represent who I am not only for me but for the other people I encountered who were strengthened by my willingness to uncover, reveal and CELEBRATE my natural state.