Yes, really I did. I grew in a very racially divided city on the border of the midwest and the south - so for me to make a statement like that would be unusual from where I came from. I also, though, had parents who were open in terms of welcoming anyone into their home regardless of race, religion, ethnic background, socioeconomic status etc and so on. Some of you reading this may not think this is a very remarkable thing. But without giving my age away too much (LOL) - this WAS a remarkable thing BECAUSE of where I grew up and the decade.
I think if I didn’t have the parents I was blessed with, this statement I made in the title of this post would not have come easily from my lips. Imagine 1976, a time where our nation was in a huge transition period. Imagine this family, of upper middle class origins – very upper middle class I might add – allowing children that weren’t white into their home, often weekly, to participate in such activities as swimming and tutoring. I am sure a few eyebrows were raised. In my opinion, this type of upbringing allowed me to the view the world in different eyes than many of peers and eventually gave me a leg up, socially. down the road. I am not touting that I am free of stereotypical thinking. Nor am I saying I am SO enlightened that a negative thought has never crossed my mind. But because of my parents, it helped me to establish the belief that race is not a defining factor when it comes to Personhood.
But back to the title – here I was a blond-haired, blue-eyed child for the most part exposed to people who looked a lot like me except for the visitors my parents welcomed into our home. My neighbors were white, my school had mandatory busing but the classrooms were still very racially divided. I was in the advanced classes that were, well, largely white students. I really didn’t really understand the reasons for these divisions but they existed.
One lazy summer day on cable there was an all day film festival primarily of what is now called Blaxploitation films: Uptown Saturday Night, Let’s Do it Again and eventually Foxy Brown. I was seven, damn it. What did I know about this genre except the fact the first film featured Bill Cosby and he always made me laugh. So there I was in the spacious “den” of my house, laughing and acting out the action scenes like I was a part of the films. But most of all, I was mesmerized by Pam Grier, hell I wanted to be Pam Grier. In these films, the women were powerful, beautiful and independent. In my seven-year old mind, to be strong, independent and beautiful I should become black. Whoopi Goldberg once described in detail about how as a child she would walk around with a towel on her head, pretending to have beautiful blond hair. I wanted the opposite: dark skin, dark hair, dark eyes. To me, white beauty was boring. I wanted to be Foxy Brown.
Now here I am now second life, dressing my avatar like a black woman. At first I had my typical pang of “white guilt” in doing this and the statements such as the following ran through my head:
- How dare I adorn my avatar in black skin when I don’t understand what is to be black!
- Am I perpetuating stereotypes when imagining myself as Foxy Brown?
- Is this right for me to do when I come from a country that held black americans in Servitude for what, close to 200 years?
- Do I dare portray myself as a black character (Gorean in origin or even of Earth) in Gor? Will people misinterpret my intent if I play an enslaved black woman?
These are questions that ran through my head the last week or so. But damn it, I think Elle looks pretty in her black skin AND there some amazing ethnic skins coming out now (gotta work on the hairs though creators)! So why not celebrate the beauty of being black even when it’s not really who I am beyond the keyboard? For now I will end with this question and maybe talk a bit more about this in other posts. Pfft, I hardly post now as it is so who knows if or when I will put thoughts to words anytime soon. So until then, take care my friends and have a great second life.
Skin: LAQ ~ Essential (3.5) Elle
Makeup: LAQ ~ Essential Elle – Lipgloss
LAQ ~ Elle Lips 03
LAQ ~ Makeup – Eyeliner
coldLogic jumper – potter.poppy
Slink Destiny Heels Black
erratic / twisted bracelets
Maxi Gossamer MG – Necklace, Earrings & Ring – Annoushka – Black Diamonds