What’s compelling is that over the years, I have had many well-established professional Black women visit me in my private practice who discuss their feelings of low self-esteem, low self-worth, and even suicidal ideation based upon their experience of discrimination. Inasmuch, their disparaging feelings about themselves are frequently based upon how they think others perceive how attractive they are. Some of them are so caught up into what others think about their hair, face, figure, color, gait, or posture that they have a difficult time feeling comfortable or completing routine tasks.
This self-hate can be devastating to Black women (and people in general) as they already have to work twice as hard in a society that typically renders them invisible and unheard. Over multiple generations, some of us have raised our Black girls to believe that they are less than magnificent based upon their hair length, color and texture. For some Black girls/women we see on television, we make negative comments about how tall/short, thin/thick, or dark/light they are and create a greater amount of shame and confusion about what is/isn’t beautiful. This self-imposed, erosive behavior has to stop.
Before we critique another person’s appearance, we should really reflect and examine how we truly feel about ourselves, our contribution to our communities, as well as how we create/enable our family and friends to feel positive about themselves. Whatever our hair looks like, we should try to remind ourselves and each other that we are inherently beautiful.