Raising a Dark Skinned Girl to Love Her Skin

Photography and Author: Danielle Lawson

Growing up, I viewed different women of all shades, and at a young age, I was taught we are all beautiful. I didn’t see any problem with my skin or hair until I was in elementary school. I remembered being in the second grade, and my teacher rearranged our seats in groups of eights. It wasn’t until a classmate of mines said this is the “ugly” table (the one I was at) and the other one was the “pretty” table. Me confused at the age of 8, evaluated what classified us as “ugly,” and the other table as “pretty”. We had the same clothes and shoes because we were technically in uniform, it wasn’t our body shapes because we all were the same size (no one hit puberty yet). It wasn’t by level of intelligence because the top student in our class was sitting at my table. The only evidence I gather was by our skin tones. Mind you we are all black students, so it wasn’t whites versus black or as my mother taught me to say Caucasians versus African Americans, it was the lightest skin versus dark skin.