I’m the darkest of my mother’s children. I couldn’t name the feeling growing up but I always took note that my siblings were always treated better than me by my mother, by extended my family, and by my schoolmates.
I was literally the black sheep of the family, always ignored and overlooked while my other siblings were praised for doing the bare minimum for being light-skin. I always worked my ass off to be a straight A student and still was not not enough for the love and recognition of my mother. As I’ve gotten older, those slights and neglects have transformed to permeate my relationships with the world and my partners romantically.
I started paying attention to the world and my light-skin friends, all of whom were in good healthy relationships and conventionally attractive. All of my light-skin friends with jobs and good stable mental health, who were academically successful and were in some way able to operate and take from the white world what they could.
All dark-skin femmes can probably attest to the fact that growing up the only positive representation of Black femmes they’ve seen was light-skin girls with loose flowing hair that looked nothing like theirs. Its very psychologically damaging to be shown that the only people worthy of love and happy relationships look nothing like you while the ones who do resemble you are angry, dehumanized, and seemingly too unbearable for anyone to want to be with.
People see black femmes portrayed in that light and don’t want to deal with with the stereotypical depictions of us which cause us to be bitter and angry because what the fuck else are we to be when no one in the world sees us as human enough to warrant love and respect. Dark-skin black femmes take those insecurities into relationships with their partners who don’t know how to engage with us without being anti-black because they too have been conditioned in this white supremacist world.
I don’t believe dark people can date lighter skinned folk because they have been socialized to see dark-skin as subhuman and not worthy of real love or respect. That’s too much for the dark-skin femme to have to wait for their partner to unpack in a relationship. All those violences and relationship hurdles are even more difficult to deal with when the dark-skin femme is trans. Many of my friends say they think love is impossible to them because no one desires them unless to fetishize them for their darkness but not see them as human or even worthy enough to take home to their family.
Many see dark-skin as something they can fuck in the shadows and treat like shit because that's what this world teaches us. It is the idea that dark-skin femmes are disposable and not worthy of love even if they conform to any standard you set for them. No one wants to connect to the nonhuman or even see from their perspective. Most black trans femmes are forced into polyamorous relationships they don’t want to be in because that's their partners vehicle for fucking their darkskin partners without the responsibility or expectation of maintaining a real fulfilling relationship with them.
This abuse is exactly how relationships are permeated with anti-blackness leveled at dark black femmes. Polyamory is used as an excuse for partners to be with their lighter, respectable partner during the day, the partner that’s worthy of a real relationship. While at night they go back to their dark-skin partner and fuck them because they know they’ll always settle for that little bit of fabricated desire rather than be completely unwanted. Ultimately these partners know they never have to give of themselves. They know as soon as they call you’ll come running because who else is going to make you feel wanted? Who else is going to love a darkskin black femme outside of fucking them in private?
These men usually always give them hope that someday there’ll be more for them but know they have no intentions of being with them outside of using them for fucking. With that being the case for so many black femmes, we have internal battles daily with ourselves on whether we are worthy of love and relationships. Relationships where we are treated like human beings with dignity and respect.
We have to do better by our dark-skin peers, family and lovers. That change starts with actively deconstructing power dynamics in your relationships with dark black femmes. Make them feel loved. Acknowledge that you’ve done them wrong and apologize. If there’s one thing that’s needed in these days more than ever it's the ability to heal and reconcile relationships which nourish us and can be sources of love in the trying times to come.