I’m looking forward to Bradinn French’s new documentary “Dark Girls,” which covers issues of skin-color bias and pain amongst Black women.
While many people would love to believe that color is no longer an issue, and that we are post-racial, post-color struck–post-anything that forces them to admit that all things are not even in this world, and that we have much work to do–the many subjects interviewed for the film sing a very different tune. One of the most heart-wrenching anecdotes comes from a woman who talks about hearing her mother describe her features to a friend; she felt proud of her mom’s adoration of how beautiful she was, until she added “If she had any lightness in her skin at all, she’d be gorgeous!” There is also footage of an adorable dark-skinned girl taking the famed Doll Test, in which she is shown pictures of identical little dolls varying only in complexion. She assigns “dumb” and “ugly” to the darkest doll, “because she black” and describes the lightest doll as “smart” and “good looking,” explaining to the interviewer “because she light-skinned.”
Though we know that not all darker sisters suffer great indignities or issues with self image, nor is life a crystal stair for those of us who are lighter, this film continues a long conversation that is still very important. So long as we have people amongst us who gladly uphold the damning “White is right” standard–assigning favor to people based upon their proximity to it, we can’t let this one go. This is something we can get past, this does not have to continue. As one of the comments on the director’s Vimeo page says “It was (White) people who started this and it’s up to my people to end it.”