Earlier this week I received my first hate mail in response to my article “In the dark about beauty” (Which I am going to print and frame). This is what he wrote to me and my response to him.
I was really upset after reading your article on Wits Vuvuzela today, at first I thought I missed the inverted commas at the beginning of the sentence and the whole article couldn’t be this stupid. It really seems you have some self esteem issues as a dark skinned black woman, I am sorry If my normal black brothers and sisters made you feel bad about your dark skin by somehow mocking you. It seems your whole life all you ever wanted is to be white not light skinned, its people like you lady who perpetuate stereotypes, prejudices and racism against my siblings. In the picture you seem pretty normal to me I find it difficult why you want to bleach yourself. You are a real disgrace to your black skin and ancestors. Maybe you should just leave this world and you will be reincarnated a white woman. Hope you had saved enough money to bleach you dignity and pride away.
Have a nice life
I was going to pen down a super eloquent response to you letter, I wanted to make sure that you understood what I was trying to say in my opinion piece, since you have got it so terribly wrong.
But you know what? I’ve had a long day and quite frankly, I am all Lupita’d out. So let’s do this, let’s interrogate your piece of writing instead.
In your lovely letter, you said that when you read my article you hoped that you had missed the inverted commas, because “the piece couldn’t be this stupid”. Well, FYI Wits Journalism only accepts 20 people into their honours course, if I made a habit of producing “stupid” articles I don’t think I would have spent a year in that course producing articles for Vuvuzela week in and week out. Stupid articles are not my thing.
But since we’re talking about stupidity, maybe you can help me understand what exactly you meant by “You look pretty normal to me”. What exactly does “Normal” mean? Are you saying that if I had a darker skin, it would be perfectly acceptable for me to want to be a “white woman?” As for “I’m sorry my normal brothers and sisters mocked you”. Again, what is “Normal” lightskinned people? Do you get where I am going with this? If not. Let me lead you to the light: you’re argument is stupid.
According to you, I have not only wanted to lighten my skin, but I have always aspired to be white. Does it not concern you that there are still black people (like yourself) who equate one’s bettering of themselves to achieving “whiteness”. What is this “whiteness” you speak of? Please, lead me to this fountain of whiteness so that I may bottle it and sell it, to every black person that points out hypocrisy in black societies. I do believe that there will be many of us seeking this product.
While you seem to think that my article shouts insecurity. I think it is your response that reeks of insecurity. Why are you so set in claiming your blackness and imposing it upon other people? How does a differing opinion from yours equate to a sell out? What is it about your blackness that you are so afraid to lose?
These ancestors that I am a disgrace to. Did they send you an email to tell you this? Are they your ancestors or mine? Because as far as I know, mine would be proud of young, outspoken black woman who is steadfast in her convictions that dark skinned girls must be beautiful in their own right without the burden of being exoticized and fetishized.
If you want to speak of a common ancestor let’s talk about Sarah Baartman. A woman of colour, who was shipped overseas, put on a pedestal and viewed as a curiosity. Stripped of her dignity and her self worth. I don’t know her personally, but I don’t think she would think my struggle for dark girls all over the world sold as “black beauties” is disgraceful. Maybe you can find out for me? Since you are obviously tight with ALL the ancestors.
Moving along swiftly, let’s take a moment to discuss how I perpetuate stereotypes ,prejudices and racism against your siblings. The last time I checked you’re the one firing shots at me for having an opposing opinion to yours. You’re firing shots at me for exposing the hypocrisy in society, but above all that, you are telling me a fellow black, that I must take myself off this earth, you are also telling me to save up enough money to bleach away my dignity and pride. What does this sound like to you? (Hint: Racism. On a level that goes beyond apartheid)
I will also have you know Sir, that it is my dignity and pride that that has brought me this far. And it is this very dignity that will continue to drive me to disgrace more ancestors, ask many more questions, and probably increase my hater squad. If it makes you feel good though, you will always be my number one hater, I’ve never had anyone tell me to take myself off this earth. (Just out of curiosity, you seem to have a lot of anger, who hurt you??)
Anyway! About taking myself off the earth, and hoping to be reincarnated to be a white woman. When I die, and I find that reincarnation is an option, I will accept it. But I’d like to come back as you. So I can make you a better person.
Thank you and Goodnight.