The Response: The Skin were in
I had every intention of breaking up “The Skin were in” into a three-part blog series. The series would address Big and Hezekiah’s response as well as their reaction to Little’s questions regarding the multiple shades of brown represented by our family. Instead, the efforts of our family truly encouraged me as a parent. The replies that came from my mom, my father in love, Hezlo, and Big showed what the world should see from black families; strength, pride, value, support, and unity.
As my mother’s eyes swelled, with tears, she rose and showed strength. Her strength came out when she shared her interaction with Little. She wanted the situation to be addressed because she remembered having the same conversations. Teaching us to walk in the world with our heads held high, no matter our shade. She wanted this pride to not be diminished from our young king.
Our upbringing, our overcoming, and our ability to empower others can be a perpetual cycle for parents of color, who are raising children to be more than enough. Whether these narratives are positive or negative, being able to reflect and utilize past experiences guide and direct our children to walk proud. Our community has begun embracing the melanin in our skin, natural hairstyles, and using the terms king and queen, it is because those before us we can also rise.
As my father in love described generations before him, working hard to be accepted, fighting for equality, as well as, the separation created based on being light or dark skinned. He then led with coining the term, “crowned dark brown” for Little (I know its catchy, don’t steal it). He wanted to instill a sense of pride and value. As a community we must turn from the division created based on being light or dark skinned but coming together as one proud people.
Proud like Hezekiah. Hezekiah’s immediate response, “what do you mean he wants his skin to look like mine?” “He is our Little Chocolate Drop.” I agreed. He then went deep, lecturing me about dominant genes and genotypes. I listened. Hezekiah then said with confidence “but who wouldn’t want to look like this?” As he sized himself up. He wanted to know why he would want to change. So, we discussed Little wanting to see himself in the people around him, the friends he played and went to school with, and in the media. He never had thought about it from that perspective and he was impacted. He wanted to know what he could do to support his brother.
Support is the only thing Big could think of as I explained the conversation I had with Little. His eyes went empty. I cannot give you the context of his thoughts and feelings in that moment. Because that is his story. What I can give you, is how his reaction impacted our next steps in supporting our King. He went silent, into deep thought, he asked, “where these feelings came from?” I answered, based on my perspective. I can also tell you that sitting there looking at my husband, I felt for him, I felt every moment that anyone may have treated him different because of the color of his skin, I could feel the pain he was feeling for his king. I could see the contemplation of action and the wheels of pinning in his mind. We discussed the ramifications of this world, the struggles of darker skinned blacks, how we needed to surround Little with children that understood what he may go through. We became unified in ensuring he was never left to feeling less then or othered.
As a family, we understood the way in which this world could dehumanize Little and we all took a stand to change his narrative, to build him up, to respond appropriately so he could feel the strength, the pride, the value within himself to be what God called him to be, “Crowned Dark Brown.” #fixsomeonescrowntoday