You’re pretty for a black girl.
Well I’ve heard that before… Nothing new.
The phrase that goes over your head as a girl and comes back to stab you in the gut later.
But you’re so pretty for a black girl… there must be something else there.
You could be white, native american, hawaiian or samoan … maybe middle eastern but that’s a stretch.
Why does it matter what else might be running through my veins?
Why after someone compliments my physical appearance and asks what race I am,
black isn’t a complete and acceptable answer?
Why is it assumed that I must belong to another race somewhere for me to be deemed as pretty?
Why is the black part of myself magnetized and overlooked in order to be seen as physically attractive?
Beauty standards in America are dominated by the White Women of America.
Pale skin, blonde hair, light colored eyes, a narrow nose, and smaller lips.
I don’t want to have to bleach or lighten my skin, dye my hair, get a nose job, or alter myself to fit a beauty standard that wasn’t intended for me in the first place.
A standard that was made to exclude and still excludes me.
I pick up a magazine WHITE.
I watch a movie on Netflix and the leading lady is WHITE.
I watch a fashion show on youtube and the models are all for the most part WHITE.
I search beautiful women on google and for rows and rows all I see is WHITE.
Wow, you’re pretty for a black girl.
As if beauty is subjective to the color of my skin.
As if beauty is determined by the amount of melanin that is present in my complexion.
As if I am viewed as conventionally beautiful by my undertones.
As if a the black barbie doll who is identical with the same physical features and  same outfit is deemed uglier or bad just based off of her skin and hair color.
Saying that I am pretty for a black girl is a backhanded compliment.
Elevating an aspect of my persona and stepping on the throat of another.
It depresses the air going into my lungs separating me into fragments.
Do you even know what you are?
Not entirely, but that you don’t need to know.
I don’t have to present anyone with the percentages of this, that and other for someone to pick out what it is that outweighs parts my blackness and therefore makes me attractive.
I’m pretty in spite of my blackness.
Feminine beauty is white dominated.
Women of color everyday contour their eyes, nose, and face to get more Eurocentric features.
Feminine beauty is white dominated.
Awareness of this marginalization has been brought to light.
And the magazine company will throw in a biracial black girl,
And the movie will throw in a fair skinned black girl,
And the fashion company will throw in a darker skinned black girl.
However, that is not enough to undo the damage of hearing the circulated phrase,
You’re pretty for a black girl.
How to contour black nose 593,000 results on google.
How to naturally lighten your skin 246,000 results on youtube
How to put in a weave 124,000 results on youtube.
Saying that I am pretty for a black girl is demeaning, degrading, and racist.
It’s insisting that I’m different or better than my other black counterparts discrediting the population of having or being able to have beauty.
You’re pretty for a black girl.
I’ve heard it before, nothing new.
And, quite frankly,
I’m done hearing it.
You’re Pretty for A Black Girl
by: Khamiya Terrell  Copyright 2016 Khamiya Terrell
Have your heard “you’re pretty for a black girl before? How do you feel about this question? Leave your comments below. 

Hello, my name is Khamiya Terrell. I recently graduated from Culver City High School and I will be attending Emerson College in the fall. Normally I’m acting but, my senior year was the year where I focused more so on writing and creating. With the freedom of being a senior my class schedule became more so molded to what found interesting. I took a class called Intercultural Literature that has changed my life for the better. Within the class you become hyper aware of your surroundings and the ways that you think because you’ve been conditioned to think that way. As a girl I’ve grew up my entire life understanding the significance of “being pretty” in our society. As a black woman I have taken notice to the lack of representation of black women in the media. I hardly ever see a black woman being labeled as beautiful unless she is of a lighter complexion or mixed raced. I was appalled by the “white is right” mentality when it came to the recognition of Beauty and decided to write a piece from my perspective on where I fit into a world dominated by Eurocentric standards.

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2 Comments

STACEY JOHNSON

This article I think resonates with so may of us at different stages at our lives – it makes me sad that in 2016 we are still not seen as enough as black women – especially the darker you are.
There is still an ‘obsession’ with women who are of lighter skin tones being regarded as more beautiful as their darker counterparts. It seems to be something that will never go away however I think it is important for all black girls regardless of their skin tone to appreciate their own beauty and love themselves so much so that they will not allow anyone to treat them any less.

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admin

Thank you for sharing sis. It’s true the black community is still suffering. esp. with colorism. Please subscribe to our blog- the next post specifically address this. Stay beautiful!

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