How do I tell my little sisters that they don’t have to be fair to be pretty?
Two little cousins, living in two different parts of the country
Same age, very similar schooling
Fairness in skin
Problem? Issue? Flaw?
One is dark-skinned, the other tan
At the age of 10
My aunt tells me
“She gets so upset when anyone tells her she is tan”
Scrunches her face on the webcam
“Puts on the powder so often”
The little one passively denies
As her mom mocks her
And as she tells her
“You’ll be fair when you grow up”
My aunt points at me and says
“She was darker than you as a kid.”
“You will be much fairer, don’t worry.”
Fair and Lovely?
Fair and Handsome?
How can you say there is no racism when little girls are being racist towards themselves?
How do I reassure them that they are marvelous power packs while the society constantly tells them the opposite?
How do I tell them that their skin color doesn’t define them when their school teachers constantly pick fairer girls for school plays?
How do I make sure that they don’t lose themselves and their self-esteem in the battle against fairness?
How do I tell my little sisters that they don’t have to be fair to be pretty, to be smart, to be confident when they are constantly judged for their looks?