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Rise, Dark Girls, Rise: The "Dark Girls" Documentary

I did it myself. Inadvertently. And I wasn't even aware that I was doing it.

During my book club's discussion of Isabel Wilkerson's "The Warmth of Other Suns," one of the book club members asked whether Dr. Foster, one of the people profiled in the book who migrated from Louisiana to California, was not held in high esteem by his father-in-law, who was the president of Atlanta University, because Dr. Foster might have been dark. Dr. Foster's photo is featured on the website for the book, I responded. "Yes, he was dark," I said, "but he was good looking."

It took my viewing the trailer for the documentary "Dark Girls," to realize that I didn't mean that in the way it most often is meant -- that someone, in spite of his or her dark skin, is handsome or beautiful. I meant that Dr. Foster should have been equally privileged among the elites he married into because he was good-looking. But that's not how it came out and that's not how it sounded.

But we, as black people, say this all the time and mean it that way -- that someone with dark skin is attractive in spite of their skin color, not because of their skin color.

The nine minute preview of this documentary is riveting -- dark-skinned women telling their stories about how they've been treated because of the darkness of their skin. A little dark girl saying that a drawn picture of a little white girl was a picture of a smart girl, while the same picture drawn darker was the picture of a dumb girl. Women noting that the attraction exhibited towards dark women tends to be less romantic and more sexual. This documentary highlights a sad part of our culture -- prizing light skin and long hair among our girls and women.

In the last portion of the preview, a woman looks into the camera and exhorts dark girls to "Rise, dark girls, rise."

See it for yourself by clicking here and support this documentary when it comes to your town. We as a people still have much work to do on our words and our attitudes. Including me.


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