You are not Black.
Lalaina Rackson

‘A Wound needs a Witness’

A heart felt and well written piece. Well done. The only thing I’ll say though, as a dark skinned black woman, is surely its good that we are talking about the experiences of dark skinned black people. I’ve had many negative experiences which have gone unspoken and unsaid, and this not just about me but countless others.

Last weekend, I watched Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant tackle the issue of ‘Colorism’ by talking to a young 19 year old black, dark skinned girl who felt she was not beautiful due to not just white racism but her own people, mainly light skinned black people, telling her that she was ‘ugly’. It was heart-breaking as well as toe cringing to watch. To make it worse, when the programme ended, after listening to other similar experiences, she was asked by Iyanla if she felt better about herself, about her looks, she said no. Perhaps it was a little naïve to expect her to shake off a lifetime of such experiences in just 60 minutes but she accepted that she was not alone in this. But clearly the matter for this young woman remains unresolved.

But my point is that as Oprah said, ‘a wound needs a witness’, in other words such experiences deserve to be validated, no matter how long we go on about it or how galling it is, it has to be heard. There is still so much stuff to sort out.