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+  Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum
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| | |-+  Don't Play in the Sun - Marita Golden
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Author Topic: Don't Play in the Sun - Marita Golden  (Read 14405 times)
Posts: 435

« on: May 06, 2009, 04:57:54 PM »

Don't Play in the Sun  by Marita Golden

I have not even finished this book and would like to recommend it on the forum. I have been eyeing it, on this website, for two years and finally! Thank you! Light, good reflections, a meditation even, sit by the bus stop and smiling, saying, hmm, hmm. A classmate, a white guys says, why do you always read these sad books, he means black as well, because he has asked the question using the description black previously (so I don't know why he needs to ask again, my answer won't change). I say, why do you always read all these white books? This dichotomy, disparity... 

Here is an excerpt. Don't feel like she is talking about the Black Power movement, feel like last week, yesterday.

'''I was angry, and my parents and relatives were afraid. I was angry at my mother for her colorist warnings. At all the teachers I'd had who taught me from books that never showed my face. At white people and the world they seemed to dominate and control. I was angry, but inside I was fragile and wanted more than anything for my parents, my elders, and my family to embrace and accept the new me.

But they were afraid. Very afraid. It was as though by saying that Black was beautiful I had violated a law of nature. And in a way I had. We were tunring the world and all its conventional assumptions upside down. At some point in our racial past we knew in our blackness we were merely and gloriously human. In our blackness we were children of God. In our blackness we were no more and no less than anyone else. But slavery, peonage, lynchings, and Jim Crow segregation had imposed the most abiding and wrenching amnesia. For a long and quite lonely time, I was an outsider in my family because I adhered to a new gospel.

And yet because we never addressed or dared to talk about the insidious ways in which colourism had divided and conquered us, even while focusing on the sins of 'The Man' and 'The System' and 'White Racism', my generation squandered a precious, perfect moment that could have allowed us to move from a theorectical assertion that Black is Beautiful, to the first neccessary, halting acceptance that it really is beautiful in fact. That black skin possesses a radiance and a depth that is regal and stunning. That full lips are just that, full lips. They are not watermelon or banana lips or any of the racist sterotypes propagated and encouraged by the larger culture even by Black people. They are just lips! And that a broad nose is a nose. A nose that fits our phenotype. White people's lips don't speak pearls of wisdom because they are thin. They are body parts. Anatomy. But the activists of my generation, for all of our considerable and laudable courage, failed to divest these images of their cultural definitions. Because then we would have had to look into our own tattered souls and trembling hearts and see how little love we possessed for ourselves. But until we fessed up to the self-hatred rooted in colorism, we would always be held hostage to it. The Black community was a huge dysfunctional family made up of thousands of dysfunctional families, most of whom were in deep denial about the persistance of the color comples even in the age of 'Black is Beautiful'. Oh, if just saying it made it so. And so in the sixties we rattled the bars on the cage. We saw the keys to the door. But we were content to remain inside...''

- M -
Posts: 435

« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2009, 07:37:54 PM »

I feel in two minds about this book, on one hand it is a revelation, for true, indeed, agreed, yea hoss but then on the other hand it is rhetoric, heard this, called out that before. I don't know when to push the issue or when to just say, you not ready to take in what you just said, what i just do dey. And also I know I still have some things to sort out along the way. But all in all you get more aware, more concious and you grow.

I take a few things from this book with me, and one of them is about how often we tell our people we are beautiful, our dark-skinned selves, true as some on this board say, our dark skinned, kinky haired african selves. My co-worker of last year, with her 10 plus years british accent and 'fair'/high coloured east indian self used to say, ''hello gorgeous, how are you..'', or ''Makini you are such a doll.'' I can say the first time I heard her say such things, I felt truly like she was mocking me, why would she need to say I am gorgeous, its like flattering to deceive, it was a reflex arc to discomfort. Then I checked myself and said, ok, she just come from the UK, they have their own style, along with saying stuff like 'what a palava' and ''oh, what a cock up''.

I am (not sure what defines 'brown' skin and differenciates it from 'dark' skinned -the author classes herself as brown skin, can amazon-search it, her face is on the cover - am darker than her) dark skinned and any compliment given to me has to do with my hair, which by some thing and some odder thing and ah next thing there, is curly (de nice hair complex), when I want it to be/plait it up and kinky-3-hr-coaxing-wrangling-rip-out-enough-hair-to-cover-two-bald-men-head when i want it to be. If i get any physical compliments of any other kind, they are to do with my atlethesism or with my slim built.

Now my scene is why we don't call each other beautiful or handsome some more. Hey, for sure some times it feels real superficial, 'leave that to the white folks', cuz goin down that road leads to all these obsessive ills of implants and so on or the whole video 'hoe' image and ideals. But I live somewhere where even like yesterday, a four year old girl calls me beautiful and I am liking it, because someone told her something that she will grow with and be a different person because of and will see other people differently for it. But then I can't drop that comment dry so, I am a tourist where I am, an outsider, that is not how it works if I take in this closer or were to see her 5 years from now interacting with her peers, but would it not be nice. I was not dressed any special way, no make up, no shiny hand bag, just me to take in. Not acknowledging what beauty there is in another black person, is equal to them being invisible to you, and I have had many invisible years of that.

Something Golden says in the book is, 'this is not a smile test'..you are not being tested on if you truly just find a Rhianna or Beyonce or Alicia Keys drop dead gorgeorus and some average dark skinned kinky haired girl not. Don't get me wrong, I do have friends who compliment me, but on the skirt I buy, or the shoes I wear, or my accessories, forget the accessories...as I say what do we see when we look at each other?


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