I Am Not This Skin
Post by Michelene Wilkerson
When I first got to college, I thought I made it. I thought I had moved past some of my biggest hurdles as a young Black woman: I wouldn’t have to hear too many stereotypes since I won two of largest merit-based leadership scholarships in the country. I along with millions of Black college students were improving the image of African-Americans.
But, the melanin in our skin continued to function like a fortune cookie. No matter how many cookies I broke, it still crumbled the same way. Life and the news predicted:
“You will be judged by many during your life.” This affects me the most. The Black body is exploited for money, labor, knowledge, entertainment and sex, yet there is hardly a return on respect. It is as though stereotyping and racism are fashion trends– every moment there is something new. In May Donald Sterling was in, in June it is Justin Bieber. When will our skin stop being a news story?
Even though dark-skin is made an issue much more visibly, we are not the only ones subjected to hardship because of our skin. This is universal. So, rather than solely focus on the Black experience, I wanted to tell more stories (not rants). I wanted to show more perspectives. Telling one truth only distorts our vision– telling many truths, now we are getting somewhere. This is why I created this project: to explore how people have been defined and to explore how people how define themselves.