The desk of Savannah J


Posted by Author Savannah Jackson on November 20, 2011 at 7:30 PM

From the desk of Savanna J.

I recently attended a conference for health care professionals. There were several persons of color in attendance. There was one young lady who was very attractive and "Dressed to the 9's" as my mother used to say. During one of the breaks, I caught her eye and complimented her look. Her reaction surprised me although looking back, I don't know why. She left me feeling and as though my compliment as well as I were insignificant, if you will.

Now, I'm not judging her but after speaking to her, I couldn't help but feel as though I'd been a victim of sistah-hate. You are probably wondering, what is sistah-hate? It's when one black woman snubs or mistreats another black woman for no apparent reason.  For years we have struggled with the color line. The honey hued women don't like the mahogany hued women. The ladies with kinky hair look down their noses at the ladies with wavy hair. The saddest part of all is, this has been going on for decades. 

When will we as a people stop this behavior and realize God made our race this way. He obviously appreciates art because He uses a pallet with a rainbow in the shades of brown from skin the color of butter to almond to pecan to sweet molasses. And then, there are the mahoganies; burnt, bronzed and polished, like me.

As I think about all of this, I praise God I had a mother who was wise enough to teach me self love and who also helped me develop a love for my complexion. (But more about that later.) I remember as a child being told I would never be accepted into the sorority I wanted to pledge because, I'd never pass the "Paper Bag test." Obviously, my skin is darker than a paper bag.

My sisters, we have to stop with this snubbing and mistreating and back-biting amongst ourselves. Brothers you need to stop as well. I once had a young man tell me to my face, he only dated "Light skinned women." Another after meeting my ex, called me to say, "You like them red like me, huh?" Do you realize the impact statements like that would have on a woman's (or man's for that matter) self esteem who isn't grounded?

When I was a little girl, my mother would stand me in the mirror and say to me "You are Mommy's little brownie." She only bought me dolls who looked like me, and this was in the '60's when it wasn't easy to find Black dolls. She was wise enough to know that I was a dark skinned woman who was going to go through some things because of the color of my skin. 

Today as an adult, I love the skin I'm in. Each morning and night, when I spread lotion on  my mahogany hued skin, I marvel at it's beauty and thank God He made me who I am. Perhaps today you are struggling with the color-line issue. Maybe you're a victim or maybe you've been guilty of snubbing. Whatever the case, try this with me. As you go about your business, whenever you encounter another sister of color, smile and say hello. Compliment her hair or nails or outfit, even if you get nothing in return. If we all begin in our own circles no matter how small to love on each other, eventually, great things will take place. 

Our young ladies will walk with their heads held a little higher. They will know beyond a shadow of doubt that they are worth more than their breasts, hips and thighs. Our men will begin to hold us in the place that we deserve because we hold ourselves there. We will have the love and respect we should have from them, instead of settling. Above all, ladies, the world will see that we are sisters. Remember it starts with a single person.


Savannah J

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