Break the Cycle
Break the cycle of neglect, lies, fear and disrespect
Negative cycles of guilt and regret
Cycles of mental, physical, sexual abuse
Tobacco and substance use
Cycles of superstitions, and nonsense traditions
And dreams that don’t come to fruition
Cycles of crabs in the barrel
And thinking that’s narrow
Cycles of self-hate, fools that instigate
Cycle of choosing the wrong mate
Cycle of distrust of doctors and banks
Time to break the cycle of…(Fill in the blank)
Negative family cycles are hard to break. They are deeper than habits because these never ending patterns of behavior strengthen over time and pass down generations. Negative cycles can become part of the DNA of a family unit. If not broken, it will likely put a crippling debilitating stronghold on your children and generations to come.
Here’s an example of a family’s destructive cycle that has lasted generations.
My family is color-struck. My light skinned grandmother called my mother tar baby growing up because she was very dark. So my mom married my dad who is mixed so she could have light kids. My siblings came out lighter except me. So there’s been favoritism for my siblings and my lighter daughter, but not my browner one. And now I see how I treat my daughters too – I tend to favor my chocolate daughter because of the family prejudice, and I KNOW that’s unfair to my fairer daughter. I want to break the cycle.”
Mom in the Dark
Dear Mom in the Dark,
I’m so glad you’re anxious to breaking the color struck cycle in your family. This social plague has overshadowed African-Americans and people of color throughout the world for centuries. In slavery, the lighter skinned blacks were assigned duties in the big house while the darker slaves toiled the fields. This separation was deliberately implemented by slave owners to promote conflict and disunity among the slaves; divide and conquer. It worked. And it’s still working 150 years later - even within families.
It’s time to break the cycle. Here are some ways to do it within your own family.
- Tell family you will limit their time with your daughters if they continue to practice Colorism and favoritism
- Read and discuss books with your daughters that talk positive about color and self-esteem. This can lead to conversations about family dynamics. Assure them you’ve got their backs equally and they should have each other’s backs as well. Book suggestions, “Chocolate Me” by actor Taye Diggs; "The Skin You Live In" by Michael Tyler and David Lee Csicsko; and “I Like Myself” by Karen Beauford.
- Remind your daughters (and yourself) how beautiful and unique they both are inside and out.
- No favoritism, name calling or negative references to skin color, hair texture, features etc. will be tolerated by you. Be emphatic. And let your family see this through your example.
- Remember this formula: One negative comment equals three positives. Practice that and encourage your family to do the same
- Teach both your daughters to love the skin they’re in and treat others and each other with respect
Along a similar subject, I wrote a post about Blacks bleaching their skin on my Black Copy blog. It makes for interesting reading. Check it out: http://wp.me/pdNTJ-am