This weekend I went back to NY for my school's Alumni weekend, even though I just graduated. I really enjoyed hanging out with my friends, just being back in a familiar environment. I came out to two more friends, each in very funny awkward ways but hey at least I'm making steps. I gave myself a New Year's deadline to come out to those most important to me, like my family.
Before I flew back this morning I spent sometime with my grandmother, Aunt and lil Cousin. I slept in my cousin's bed, and when I walked in her room the wall was covered by white faces. My lil Black cousin had tons of pictures of White celebrities. My beautiful Black cousin, admired the beauty of those who looked nothing like her, and it really bothered me. This was the first time I had seen her in about 2 years, and she came bouncing up the stairs completely reflecting pop culture, she had her cornrows separated in to two ponytails, and she twirled them around, she had the very typical t shirt with whatever random message written on it, and my all time favorite mini skirt with leggings on. I looked at her and just wondered what was going on with her? I know she's 12 and every 12 year old gives in to pop culture, but this was a bit much for me. I could have overlooked her clothes if it wasn't for her wall. I wonder where is her identity? Did she see beauty in her natural brown skin? Or does she envy the race of orange people created by tanning machines. I was just so disturbed, to find 90% of the pictures of people on her wall to be White, it's not that she just had pictures of a particular White group that she loved, but it seemed like she picked any White celebrity and deemed them worthy to be on her wall, and to emulate. As I was trying to figure out what's going on, I see my Aunt and notice she has grey contacts in her eyes, and then it started to click. I realized that we are all guilty of giving in to White dominance in one way or another, while some of us actively try and work against this, others don't and this gets passed on, and we have children growing up to devalue their own beauty, and unfortunately my lil cousin is another victim. I was just so disturbed by walking in to her room and being greeted by these faces that don't represent my family or the majority of other families, it's disgusting! Because these images aren't only distorting lil Black girls, idea of beauty, but also lil White girls, and lil Latinas, and lil Asian girls and lil Native girls and so on and so on. No one is safe from their distorted image of beauty, but my question is if the parents fall prey to these images also, who will counteract their power?