Distraction in Division: Self- Love is for the Beautiful


Perhaps it is performing within a racial society for those who encompass a certain kind of beauty to feel beautiful. Perhaps it’s easier to say that black is beautiful when your skin isn’t the blackest and your hair isn’t the coarsest. Perhaps it’s easy to shout from the mountain tops that black is beautiful when you have been made to believe that you’re an exception. So when you say “black is beautiful” what you mean to say is that your black is beautiful.

The challenge is placed on the sun-kissed sister who hair does not hang below her chin. The girl who only sees images of herself in the role of a slave or some woman down on her luck because of her appearance. The inevitable challenge is for this sun-kissed sister, with short coarse hair and a body as big as the continent that bred her, to raise her head in a country established on it’s bowed state. The challenge is to see the beauty in her fair skinned, long haired, light eyed counterpart-not because of her similarities with the majority but because she represent the diversity of the black diaspora. For, the oppressor has created an illusion of difference in the characteristics that mirror themselves, further down-casting the beauty of blackness. To see through these illusions at either side of spectrum is essential, as division has caused blacks to become their own worst enemy.

A similar dynamic is seen in the Afro- Latino, Caribbean, and African divisions of blackness. Due to different cultural exposure, many not only fail to align with American blacks, but place themselves in a position of superiority. This position of superiority allows for those outside the African- American experience to cast a scrutinizing gaze on the African-American body. This gaze often casts the African American as less beautiful and lazy for not taking advantage of the resources made available to them. Perhaps it is easier to case a scrutinizing gaze when you haven’t had to deal with the racism of the United States. Perhaps it is also easy to reap the benefits of these ugly and lazy people, only to cast a scrutinizing gaze upon them.

Scrutiny further divides an already divided race. Those placed on various ends of westernized beauty have been conditioned to antagonize those who embody the antithesis of their beauty, as are the various factions of the black diaspora. The commonality of being from the motherland should triumph all divisions set forth to distract us from the beauty of blackness in its entirety. This distraction is essential in the wish to maintain the positioning of the oppressed, as the most beautiful form of human beauty is the strength seen through unity. After all, a fist is always stronger than a finger.

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