Teacher: Valenciá De’La Clay-Bell
“Nobody in my family from Africa.”“With that beautiful brown skin, somebody is from Africa.”“My skin ain’t beautiful.”“It is beautiful!”“To you! I ain’t gon’ sit here and lie, I’m ugly as sh’t.” Wasn’t going to post this because I know the culturally-deaf will hone in on his profanity, completely disregarding his utter vulnerability. I honestly considered “I’m ugly” the more offensive words and so should you. In this moment, he did not need me to manage his behavior. He needed what every Black boy needs: to be explicitly taught self-love. How do we build their inner-confidence while the rest of the world is doing everything to destroy it? Melanin is a popping hashtag but in real life it don’t mean a thing if we still have young men looking at their dark skin, full lips, and coarse hair as ugly. We did not start this but it is our collective responsibility to end it, not now, but right now! And not just on social media as pro-blackness trends but in these classrooms and on the corners and in your own homes. Colorism must die.