If you had asked me 10 years ago if racism was still a thing, I probably would have nonchalantly said: “not really”. Growing up on the small island of Jamaica, more than 90% of the population identify as Black. Due to our colorful history involving colonialism and indentured laborers we have a myriad of complexions. This, without a doubt, is a breeding ground for colorism. Many times when we are privileged we do not realize the special treatment given to us until we are no longer in that position. This privilege may come from factors beyond our control such as hair texture, skin color or socioeconomic status. Being of a lighter complexion, gave me favor with teachers and family members. I do not have the same stories as many of my friends who are darker than I am. Never once was I called “ugly” or was I told I was “too dark”. I could not understand why people used skin lightening products. It was all just really crazy to me.
In 2015, I moved to China to attend medical school. China is a homogenous society. This means, the majority of the population share similar physical features, ethnicity, and culture. I did not look like them, I did not speak like them, I didn’t like the same food that they did. And, for the first time in my life, I was an outsider. I had lost the privilege I didn’t even know that I had. Suddenly, my skin was too dark, my hair was too coarse, my nose was too broad.
“Who am I really? I am still writing my story and editing bits and pieces along the way.”
“Who am I?” is possibly one of the most difficult questions to answer. I am a 23-year-old Black woman, studying medicine 14,000 miles from home. I am in limbo, not being entirely sure if I’m a full adult or I’m adult-ish. I live on my own and I do my own laundry but I also “leave the pot to soak overnight” and eat cereal for dinner. I am learning to love my natural hair for all its kinks and coils but sometimes I do regress and wish it was straighter. I am passionate about eating healthy and decreasing chronic health conditions in the Black community through education, diet and exercise, but I also struggle to not buy a 6 pc wings combo with extra fries.
So who am I really? I am still writing my story and editing bits and pieces along the way. I’m happy to share my journey with DRK Beauty with the hope that at least one person will feel a little less alone. Social media tends to put a time frame on everything; you should have your bachelor’s by 23, married by 25, a millionaire by 30. But, our journeys and destinations are not the same. We can all have the success and happiness we desire. My blog posts will be a weekly reminder to breathe, shatter the glass ceiling and take up space.