Color Conscious…

“Brownings, Please” So exclaimed the headline of the Jamaica Gleaner, one Sunday, September last. Even before reading the article, and fully aware that I am still learning to fully comprehend variegate Jamaican vernacular, I felt quite secure in my determination that this was not about cooking. I was reminded of a TV programme I watched last year while flying back to Portland, Oregon from Montego Bay.

That show was CNN’s “Kids On Race: The Doll Study Revisited.” In a recreation of a 1947 experiment, a group of children were asked to choose the good, bad, ugly, pretty or “one that looks like me” doll from drawings ranging in hue from pale pink to dark chocolate, or, white to black. Almost across the board when asked to select the “doll” with positive traits the children chose the “white” one. When picking the negatives, yep you guessed it, they picked the darkest dolly, the “black” one.

Though not my first time observing this type of experiment and sadly, not surprised, my heart still ached as I questioned, again, how it was that, Anno Domini 2011, sixty plus years on, with the leader of the “free” world a milk-coffee-colored cousin, that the “barely out of diapers” future leaders of our world (and as current headlines imply, suit clad corporate leaders) continue to learn, and believe to the detriment of hue-manity, these putrid but persistent lessons? What are we adults teaching our children? And why are we adults perpetuating the madness? Obviously something is a miss. (Incredulous, I ask myself, and anyone who can hear, “Why are we still having this conversation?”) Something is not working, or then again, maybe that was the plan all along. But I digress.

It has shocked and saddened me during my journeys to the land of my parents, my ancestors; the home of my own vagabond, or wandering, soul, that the same self-hatred and disdain for one’s darkness, blackness, abundance of melanin, visibly evident African heritage, that reigns and rages, in the United States of America (and beyond) permeates this – rich, bounteous of spirit, heart and life – little island of Jamaica.

My mother had told stories of when as a child, being darker of hue and shackled with the twin shame of poverty, her “place” was in the back of the classroom at the “good” school she attended, and even that only because her mother washed its floors. Still, I say to myself that was then…

Will we, and I mean all of hue—manity, learn the truth of whom we truly are and what skin shade simply is at its core? Can we purge ourselves of the poisons we have been fed, disguised as lessons and learning; the blatantly illogical yet pernicious lies that corrupt us, our colors, our consciences, our compassion? Can we reclaim our power, take back our hearts, reaquaint with ourselves? Can we become the conquistadores of our own personal Freedom?

What if one knew that melanin is what colors us, what paints us uniquely in shades from milk to midnight; that technically, it is due either to abundance or deficiency, that we humans become black or white.

What if it was common knowledge that melanin is what darkens our skin, our hair, our eyes? Melanin helps us hear, colors our hearts, our blood, liver, the marrow in our bones, and gave “birth” to the stars.

What if you knew that melanin is protector, reflector, diviner, deflector, healer, highway-to-the-Divine; the almighty alchemist; the chemical of life? One-drop being sanctifier not stain – the key to life’s door?

What if you knew that billions of dollars of global government monies have been spent, and are continuing to be spent, studying melanin…and its magic?

Melanin is the most absorbent material known to man. It is melanin in a synthetic form that provided the insulation protecting the electrical wires of the now retired NASA Space Shuttle.

What if these truths were known to all human kind?
Imagine with me for a moment…

A rending of the cloak of inferiority, victim-hood, self-hatred, worn by the melanin-infused among us; this cloak woven and gifted “in the name of love, and God.”

The silencing, once and for all, of the perpetually repeated lies of white supremacy. The diminishing of the potency and power of color prejudice, and its big daddy racism.

We all, each one of us of every hue, have (are) melanin. What if we all knew and understood this?

What if commonsense/the universe/Sophia/wisdom/Goddess/God, whispered and we listened, really listened to her, “If you need a touch of melanin just to function, might that suggest the more you have, the greater thou can be?

Could humankind walk hand in hand, freed, no longer needing to run, hinder, hide, detach, crush, control, squelch, the “other;” able finally, to let go, relax and open to the unique foibles and fortes of each individual, no matter their skin tone?

Imagine knowing, deep in your heart, in the marrow of your bones, in your soul, in your melanin, that, like chlorophyll to plants, melanin to man, is the alpha and the omega?

No person, rule, wrong, “Doll Study” or “Brownings, Please” could ever take that away.

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4 Responses to “Color Conscious…”

  1. Spock Kris Says:

    I agree with you its rather unfortunate, but when you have a society people tend to discriminate in various aspect , either in terms of color, education, intelligence, pedigree, power , money etc . there is never equality in true sense. for if there is true equality then anarchy will prevail.
    As society evolves some form of discrimination become more acceptable than others though it doesn’t justify its existence from the moral aspect .
    Color other than sex being one of the most controversial and least acceptable form of discrimination in modern society though unfortunately the most prevalent one, I feel just like beauty is appreciated probably being fair/(less dark) is more pleasing to human eyes and other things being equal fairer skin is more appealing this has been expressed in phrases idioms of most languages which subconsciously associate goodness / purity with white and evil./ bad luck with black, this sense of color association is universally prevalent from ancient times even in societies which are predominately black / brown . SO its best to accept it as some frailty of human beings and carry on instead of fighting it within yourself as no law or punishment or logical reasoning can prevail over human proclivity for a certain color.

    • mummychatter Says:

      Dear Spock Kris,

      Thank you for taking the time to respond to my Color Conscious piece.

      Have you ever questioned why people discriminate based on color and sex? Have you ever considered that this discrimination, these stratifying beliefs are taught, so that we all might “know” the difference between “them” and “us,” and subsequently understand (if we are smart – not wise) the life defining consequences of fitting into either, or?

      The decision to accept the status quo then becomes the norm (the easy way,) for even if thou cannot belong to the “Right/Good/In” group one can be sure to be no trouble, bending low enough so that one might at least catch any surplus spoils of what one is not “entitled” to, due to level of darkness or the presence (or lack) of dangly bit.

      The problem with that is that our beings know that something is amiss, a crucial part of the story is missing – lost in space or maybe masticated by a malfunctioning copy machine.

      Yes, I agree one can choose to blinker one’s eyes, harden one’s hearts, and “accept” that the truths we are told/taught are simply the Truth, and not, in fact, lots and lots and lots of big fat Lies. However, I believe that doing this keeps humans divided, not only from “them” and “us,” but more importantly – and this is where the groundhog tragedy takes root – from ourselves.

      My aim is not to be contentious, quite the opposite, I am merely sharing information, information not nearly as accessible as the fiction masquerading as fact that we are raised on.

      The saying goes, “Knowledge is power” I agree wholeheartedly with this adage, as long as that knowledge is Truth.

      It is by speaking out; sharing hidden and oppressed Truths of which I am privy (naming the “pooping pachyderm” that some of us so often refuse to see even as we struggle to breath in its fumes,) that I alleviate the fight within and surrender to peace.

      It is said, “The Truth shall set you free.” I know the liberating effect gaining this knowledge has had on me. I want to live (and love) in a world where we all are free. (“Free your mind and the rest will follow.” This according to EnVogue.)

      And besides, when I release what I have been gifted with, I make room in my heart for whatever I next need to grace my soul.

      With love,

  2. Jon Says:

    Great article Sharon! I read a book called the science of melanin that spoke of us all having melanin in our organs as well as the skin. There are many cultures that worship the black madonna, the original isis, Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. In the book Moore (phd) said that melanin helps the nervous system as well. thanks for writing this, Jon

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