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Yes, When I was younger I got bullied. People made fun of me because I was really dark and really tall. And as a result I use to brag a lot.
They’d be like “You black as hell” “You so black ugh”
Compare me to any black dog they saw walking by.
And I’d be like “Yeah well thats because I was in Jamaica on vacation for winter break while you were here freezing, where were you?” “Yeah well I was in miami at the Ritz Carlton, where were you?”
some people think its funny.. but you don’t know how many people there are out there HURTING because they just want to be beautiful… because they were told that light skin was beautiful.. because they see it EVERYWHERE that the lighter the better.
Its bad enough that racism is something that even exists .. but racism within your own race? how DUMB is that?
I didn’t always love my complexion.. Who likes being made fun of. But I learned and my mother taught me to love myself.. and as i grew up I stopped caring about those ignorant comments.
I’m more than proud to be the complexion i am .. don’t try to fit in.. STAND OUT.
- Justine Skye
The Issue of Skin Color in the Avatar Fandom
So, this has been bothering me for awhile, but I’ve mostly stayed away and kept my mouth shut. Not because the issue didn’t bother me, but I’m tired of explaining why I feel the way that I feel.
I feel like I went into this enough during the entire Plethora of Korra debacle, and that entire drama just made me tired.
I’m going to try to explain my feelings on this issue one more time. If you feel the need to debate me about this, please do it respectfully. If I receive comments like “WHY DOES HER SKIN COLOR MATTER? YOU’RE THE PROBLEM!!111” I will not hesitate to curse you out and dismiss everything that you have to say. If you disagree with me, please tell me. Talk to me, you probably will not get me to change my mind. But, I will not get defensive.
Yesterday, a post showed up on my dash board in which someone that I followed was attacked for feeling that it needed to be confirmed that Korra had brown skin, instead of tanned skin. “Why does everything have to be about race?” The person asked, “Her skin color shouldn’t matter, I’m tired of seeing this brought up all of the time!”
As an African-American woman, it matters to me. Now, I was born with dark brown skin, skin that I hated when I was younger, because I thought that it made me ugly. The light skin vs dark skin issue in the black community is a huge problem. I was called “Monkey,” and “Darkie,” when I was younger, and I constantly yearned to have lighter skin, like my cousins. You have to understand that most of the time that African-American women are portrayed in the media, it is only the lighter skinned women who are shown and considered beautiful. I’m not making this up, look at statistics of how many people in the U.K, India, and Africa who use skin bleaching agents to lighten their skin. These products are damaging, and yet people buy them in droves because they think lighter = better.
One of the things that I loved about Avatar: The Last Airbender, was Katara’s and Sokka’s brown skin. It made me happy because there was finally a cartoon aimed at children, an action cartoon, where there was a girl with brown skin who was portrayed as a role model, could handle herself in battle, and was considered beautiful. Katara and Sokka aren’t black, but I could relate to the color of their skin.
I loved Jasmine from Aladdin and Pocohantas as a child for these same reasons.
I can count on my fingers how many brown skinned women super heros I had growing up.
When people call Korra’s and Katara’s skin “tanned” it feels like erasure to me. Now, I know that tanned is a skin tone, however, the connotation of the word makes it seem like their skin is naturally lighter. Like they only got their brown skin from being in the sun, and without the “tan” they are actually lighter. Lighting their skin in art makes it seem like their skin is not naturally beautiful the way that it is, and that’s why it doesn’t sit well with me.
I’m not saying this the intention of people who lighten Katara and Korra’s skin in art or call them “tanned,” but this is how I perceive it. I don’t believe that people are always aware of their own prejudices, or how some of the things that they do or say are problematic. However, don’t feel attacked when people call you out on it. We’re attempting to educate you. I am definitely prejudiced, it is an unfortunate bi-product of being raised in American culture, probably in ways that I’m not even completely aware of. However, if I hurt someone with my prejudice, whether it is intentional or not (and it might not be) then I need to prepared for the back lash that I may receive.