Don’t Play in the Sun : One Woman’s Journey Through the Color Complex by Marita Golden
Marita Golden authors ‘Don’t Play in the Sun’ effectively sharing her inspiration as a writer whose fortitude brings forward the intricacies of the Color Complex.
“To be sure, this book is not a pity party-but, rather a nuanced look at identity, and the irrepressible and graceful will of the human spirit. Peppering her narrative with “Postcards from the Color Complex,” reminiscences of some the author’s most powerful experiences, Golden takes us inside her world, and inside her heart, to show what a half century of intraracial and inter racial personal politics looks like. We come to see the world through the eyes of the young Marita, and the dualism that existed in her own home: the ebony-hued father who cherished her and taught her to be “black and proud,’ and the lighter skinned mother, who one summer afternoon admonished Marita while she was outside, “Come on in the house-it’s too hot to be playing out here. I’ve told you don’t play in the sun, ‘cause as it is, you gonna have to get a light-skinned husband for the sake of your children.”
At every turn in her life-in high school, her black power college days, as a young married woman in Africa, as a college professor, as an accomplished author, and even today-race and color are the inescapable veils through which Golden has been viewed.”
As a white Woman, I read ‘Don’t Play in the Sun’ with the vested desire to strengthen my awareness of the complexities of Colorism (in this book Colorism is referred to as the Color Complex.) The recommendation to read this came from Ayinde, so instinctively I knew this book would be beneficial in assisting me to a better understanding of this insidious institution.
For other whites who choose to read this book, I would suggest to keep in mind that all white people are directly tied to the Color Complex as it is part and parcel within the white institution of White Supremacy. White people cannot honestly deny their white privilege in the system, and to accommodate white privilege the Color Complex was manufactured, on the grounds that whites, without merit and through exclusion, rank human value on the basis of skin color and perpetuated biases about the human physical constructs. To White Supremacy’s victims this has played out in the skewed and cruel establishment known as the Color Complex.
“Perhaps I began scribbling the first lines of this book on the slate of my unconscious on the near-tropical summer day that my mother told me not to play in the sun.
I don’t remember my response to my mother’s suggestion. Memory is at best a mere suggestion, at worst a fiction we would bet our lives on. No, I don’t remember everything about the day my mother spoke a series of words that were both edict and verdict. Words that nested beneath the tender flesh of my heart and that grew like the hardiest kudzu, impervious and confident, with a will entirely their own.”
The author has contributed a valuable work to further open the lines of discourse about Colorism.
“In a hard-hitting meditation on the role that color plays among African Americans and in wider society, Marita Golden dares to put herself on the line, expressing her fears and rage about how she has navigated through the color complex.”