The dynamics of skin privilege and internalized racism is something that I often think about. My mother used to tell me stories about moments in her life when people told her she was light enough to “pass”. My Mom defied the idea out loud, always telling people she would never pretend to be something she was not. She is not white. Yet, throughout her whole life she has had to define herself as a woman of color: a mixed race African-American and Native woman. My mother and I share this constant process of identity reclamation in common. Even now I get asked questions about who I am, and where my people come from. And like my mother, I tell them, I am a Black-Native woman.
Toni Morrison’s short story Sweetness, an excerpt of her forthcoming novel God Help The Child, was recently published by The New Yorker, and addresses childhood trauma shaped by skin privilege and internalized racism. I am excited for this novel because I have witnessed how these issues play out in my own family. I hope to read this in tandem with my mother, and cousins this spring. We have been talking about a book club. Perhaps this could be our first book! If you have yet to read this, I encourage you to check it out. Happy Sunday! ♡ In Solidarity, Christian