All black women are beautiful. Respect us.

by Jasmine Mouzon, Contributor

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I was raised to feel comfortable and beautiful in my own skin. My mother would always make it a point to remind me that I was a black queen.

So, by the time I got to college, my confidence was as high as it could possibly be.

And it was all thanks to the confidence my mother worked so hard to instill in me.

Still, even with my high self-esteem, there have been a number of different times where my confidence could’ve shattered.

During my freshman year of college, I remember someone coming up to me and asking me what I was mixed with. I responded to him and told him that I was black and Latina, but I couldn’t quite figure out why he automatically assumed I was mixed. So I asked him what might make him think this.

His response: “You’re way too pretty to just be black.”

I walked away.

I couldn’t get over the fact that he attempted to diminish my blackness. But sadly, experiences like this aren’t new to black women. This happens to us all the time.

About two years ago, I was working retail and a customer reached for my hair. She told me, “wow, you look Amazonian.Very beautiful for a black girl.”

For a black girl, I thought. Wow.

I was confused, embarrassed and extremely hurt.

Throughout history, black women have been taught that being just black doesn’t suffice. Unless we’re mixed, “exotic” with light skin, and loose curl patterns, we don’t fit society’s standard of beauty and we aren’t considered attractive.

In contrast, black men are glorified and fetishized for their dark skin and thick hair — the same characteristics black women are considered unattractive for.

From our big lips to our wide noses and hips, we’re routinely disrespected in ways that women of other racial groups are not.

Now, this is ironic considering the fact that non-black women spend thousands of dollars in an effort to emulate the very same features that are just so unflattering and unappealing on black women (i.e. the entire Kardashian family).

Some women even go as far as getting dark-spray tans to imitate the melanin we’re born with.

Clearly, the physical traits associated with blackness are acceptable when you’re not actually black.

Overall, whether we’re  dark skin, light skin with kinky, straight or curly hair, we’re beautiful. Regardless of our ethnic background.

Though it’s amazing to acknowledge the beauty of others, we need to make sure it’s done respectfully. If you’re telling a black woman that she is beautiful, end it at beautiful. Don’t follow it with, “for a black girl” or assume she’s mixed. Just know that her beauty goes beyond her racial identity or physical characteristics.

A message to black women: Don’t be discouraged by those who have yet to learn that black is beautiful. We don’t need to meet society’s standards, we are beautiful and we are more than good enough. Maya Angelou once said, “Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise?” Some believe that being black isn’t attractive, so our beauty does come as a surprise, but still we rise, and we will continue to.

 

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