As we watch “Black Lives Matter” slogans being chanted all over the world from the comfort of our living rooms and say things like “Innocent people are being killed only because of their skin color tut-tut”, I couldn’t help but think how we are failing as communities on a micro-level. “How?”, you may ask. Well, ever heard stuff like this before?
“She’s not that fair.”
“He’s so black.”
“Don’t go too much into the sun, you will become black.”
“She’s so much darker than her husband.”
“If only he was a little fairer.”
“Wear more foundation, that’ll do the trick.”
“But she’s fair! How can she marry someone darker?”
“He’s black. Get him married to someone fair so that the kids will turn out fine.”
“OMG! The sister is dark and the brother is fair!”
“If you eat your vegetables child, you will become fair.”
“I wish I was fair like him/her!”
Did you wince? I certainly did as I read what I wrote back to myself. Color. We place so much of importance on it. Why are fairer skin tones considered to be more beautiful and acceptable? The answer: conditioning. Years and years of it. We have been made to believe throughout history that white is superior, hence better, and more beautiful. And unfortunately, we have allowed this idea to creep into our thinking.
Let’s take a minute to go back to the basics. When an itty-bitty little baby is born, who gets to choose his/her skin color? None of us. Rather, it is the Creator and Fashioner Himself who creates and fashions how He wills. When He has created us in various colors, from beautiful black to caramel brown to wheatish yellow to striking white, why are we not taking this as an amazing sign of His Might and Power? Think about it. His Intricate Design and Will is unparalleled and awe-inspiring. The source of creation is the same mud, but the result? Varying shades of black, brown, red, yellow, and white! It should humble us. When we have a problem with the color of someone’s skin, who are we really having a problem with? The person didn’t choose for himself what color he/she will be. It is Allaah Who beautifully chose for them their skin color. So then do we dare to have a problem with the Creator Himself?!
We, as Muslim communities, have a problem. We have developed a warped understanding that only fair skin is beautiful. It is sad because we Muslims have the greatest treasure of Islam and our Lord wants us to be the forerunners of justice and integrity, but we have stooped so low amongst ourselves! How can we feel sad and stand up for the hundreds of colored people being killed only because of their skin color when we ourselves prefer certain skin tones over the other?! When we ourselves make people with darker skin feel bad?! When we ourselves hate our own skin?! The time has come to rectify the state of our hearts and put a stop to this. The time has come to remove pride and hatred from our hearts! The time has come to rise up! No more commenting on people’s skin color. No more making others feel less because of their skin color. No more preferring one skin color to another. No more thinking one skin color is better than the other. No more seeking to make friends with fairer people only. No more looking at our own beautiful, dark skin and hating it. No more taking pride in being fairer than the other.
To my youngins:
I know, most of these ideas are found in the older generation. You don’t agree with them and it hurts you to see this prevalent among your family and friends. But don’t give up just yet.
- Love your own skin. Never allow the ideas and words of others to make you feel less, for you have been made by the Fashioner Himself, the One who never makes mistakes!
- Be patient, perhaps they don’t know better. Continue to stand your ground and teach about skin color issues respectfully and lovingly. With the teachings of our beautiful religion, love, and reason, you can change the hearts of your parents, family, and friends by the Will of Allaah.
- Be kind, do your part, and when you have your own family one day, plant the right seeds. You may not be able to change the minds of everyone here and now, but the future generation is in your hands. You can make a change and break the chain.
I pray that when we stand before al-Musawwir, the Fashioner Himself, on a Mighty Day, we will stand as a generation of pure hearts who were colorblind.