CNN and AC360° did a special show on Black or White: Kids on Race. Kids’ views about race were conducted through a doll bias study to determine their racial beliefs, attitudes, and skin tone preferences. This segment brought back memories of the negative biases I experienced growing up as a dark skinned girl in the Washington region – biases I thought were diminished. And, I was shocked to see the percentage of negative connotations (e.g., dumb or mean child) associated with a darker hue and positive connotations (e.g., smart or nice child) associated with lighter skin tones.
Every day kids teased me of my blackness and I was confused because I didn’t realize they were teasing me about my skin color. The teases became unbearable; and I would go home and look in the bathroom mirror, pray to God to make me lighter. When I opened my eyes and saw I was still dark, I cried even more and my self-esteem plummeted.
My view of myself and skin color had a direct correlation to my family. The pride I had about my skin color also diminished when I wasn’t affirmed by them. And, I believe the views and attitudes of the doll bias study participants were shaped by their parents or environment.
Racial bias can be eradicated when race is viewed through the eyes of God and not man. When I gave my life to Christ, I discovered in His word, God created me just I am (i.e., skin color, height, and size) for His glory! My spirit and soul are filled with confidence and joy because my creation in God isn’t a mistake. I affirm my daughters their beauty is one of God’s greatest creations and I pray more people will embrace God and His creation of humankind too and stop allowing society to define our beauty because the next generation depends on it! Psalm 139:14
Deborah M. Avens