Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Teaching the Camera to See My Skin

Syreeta McFadden for BuzzFeed:

I don’t know when the first time was I learned that I was ugly. Or the part where I was taught to despise my dark skin, or the part where my mother’s friends or old aunts yelled at us to stay out of the sun and not get so dark. I hear this from dark girls all the time. I don’t know how we were taught to see a flattened blackness, to fear our own shades of dark. I do know how we accepted the narratives of white society to say that dark skin must be pitied, feared, or overcome. There are overwhelming images of dark-skinned peoples in Western imagination that show us looking desperate, whipped, animalistic. Our skin blown out in contrast from film technologies that overemphasize white skin and denigrate black skin. Our teeth and our eyes shimmer through the image, which in its turn become appropriated to imply this is how black people are, mimicked to fit some racialized nightmare that erases our humanity.