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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,

once said, “Discrimination is a hellhound that gnaws at Negroes in every waking moment of their lives to remind them that the lie of their inferiority is accepted as truth in the society dominating them.”

I couldn’t agree with the late Civil Rights leader more.

By: Roy Douglas Malonson, Publisher of African-American News & Issues & Author of column series We MUST Understand

The thing that bothers me most about the baffling effects of racial discrimination is, when it is imposed and demonstrated on members that belong to the same race. I felt compelled to address this issue because of all of the stuff in the air about skin color as it relates to the Black community. My very first perception of this issue remains as it always has. Welcome to America! Hell, this ain’t nothing new; we Africans living in America have been discriminating and talking about the complexion of each other’s skin, for years.

In fact, when I was a boy growing up in Acres Homes there were many people that were nicknamed simply because of the color of their skin. As far as that is concerned, I remember being called, “Yellow-belly” numerous times, myself. And nicknames such as: “Red” and “Black” are amongst some of the more common nicknames still used and heard of today. And God forbid if you too dark a person… they call you, “Blue”, “Smut” or something similar then.

To that regard, even in schools pageants and competitions, the light-skinned child or student used to always be the one picked or chosen for King and Queen of this and that. I have heard on many occasions of how parents, would favor the lightest skinned child out of the entire family of children. This mentality has even been displayed in churches. There was a time when the Black church was segregated according to the light-skinned and dark-skinned, as well. I stated these things to show that all of this race and skin talk and controversy did not just come to be. Although that does not mean that it makes it right.  It also does not mean that we have to continue to conform to the ways of old. I have constantly been preaching the same messages about race relations, hoping that we as a people will wake up and understand. But it just appears that far too many members of our community are not getting the message.

In my opinion it ought to be a sin and shame when everybody can recognize the uniqueness of our skin tone and shade rather than us. Matter of fact the first time I ever heard the saying, “The Blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice,” it came from a White man. But, I believe that Marcus Garvey said it best when he stated that the, “Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness.” We have far too many Black people walking around resenting the color of their skin, for no good reason. Furthermore, I will never understand why there is a need to play the “picking color” game, when we have all of the best colors within our own race. The skin that we were born with, many of our counterparts have spent and are spending thousands of dollars to achieve. So while we have Black folk trying to be White; there are White folks walking around with suntan lotion and sitting under tanning machines trying to be brown. So it is time for our people to wake up and embrace the color of their skin.

We MUST Understand that a person’s color has absolutely nothing to do with their character. I have met some of the best people in the world that have been just as dark as a tire; and I have met some of the worst people in the world, who were Whiter than light and vice versa. So my point is, color does not make a person. The thought and misconception that continues to plague our communities about race relations, further gives power to the Willie Lynch syndrome. And with as many issues that we Africans living in America already face on an enormous scale, the last thing that we should be doing is criticizing each other’s skin tone. We have enough to confront with in regards to trying to ban together to move Black America forward, as it is. Therefore, it is beyond me why we would continue to create even more of a division within our race, when there is a desperate need for unity.

So while we are constantly taunting and teasing each other about not being “Black” enough or discriminating on the basis of whose skin is the most fairest; we are vastly losing what little inheritance we do have left within this country. I have been on a warpath trying to warn our people that we are steadily losing our communities, churches, schools, landmarks and many other vital resources that our forefathers fought and died for us to have. But then again… on that note, all I can state is, “Welcome to America”! Because they want y’all to stay distracted with meddling and teasing each other and the whole time, they are getting stronger, wiser and working to fortify their own races.