The thing with racism and insecurities is that they’re learned behaviours. So, if you get ‘em young, you’re on to a winner.
This week, I was merrily scrolling through my Instagram timeline when I came across a post shared by someone I follow https://www.instagram.com/p/B0TF_Q5lJ5W/. The post essentially expresses her anger with a cartoon she came across. To give a quick overview, in the cartoon a young angel is cursed, she’s not allowed to speak to her husband otherwise she loses her youth and beauty. Long story short, she does speak to her husband, which means she does lose her beauty. You may be thinking so what’s the big deal? The big deal is that when the angel is turned “ugly”, she’s turned into a black woman. Exhibit A below:
I don’t know if I can honestly say I was shocked when I saw this video for the first time because the reality is racism still exists. It is rife in many countries including the UK. This cartoon has brought to the forefront something that has long since been subliminally passed on to children and adults alike, through the media… and that is white is right and black is ugly.
This cartoon has since been taken down/ adapted but removing the video doesn’t negate the fact that this “faux pas” happened. There comes a point where we have to ask ourselves are these even faux pas’ at all? How many “slip ups” does it take before we say enough is enough? How many “misunderstandings” does it take before a diverse workforce is actually a reality? How many times will there be an eruption of outrage across social media before these things stop all together?
In the past few years, there has been a number of ridiculous “slip ups” like this. Read more about these in The Blackface Controversy. However, what really makes this one so crucial, is the fact that this is a children’s cartoon. As many of you know, children’s minds are so susceptible to images such as the above. These are the seeds that are planted in young black girls, telling them that they’re ugly. They grow up into a society that nurtures these seeds through Eurocentric beauty standards, through men that don’t appreciate their beauty, through laws and rules that won’t even allow them to wear their natural hair to work for goodness sake. And this is why movements like #blackgirlmagic, #blacklivesmatter and even the recent release of Beyonce’s Brown Skin Girl are so so important. They’re disrupting the current narrative and this is what we as people need to continue doing, especially for the future generation.
So, with that being said, I think it’s important that as black people not only are we relishing in self love but that we’re teaching our children, younger brothers, sisters, cousins etc. to do the same. Because ultimately, if we continue to rely on a system that never thought we were beautiful, never wanted us to be included, never wanted us to excel to teach them that, then who’s really to blame?