Growing Up “Too Black” In Trinidad

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Women on 2014-11-10 19:50Z by Steven

Growing Up “Too Black” In Trinidad

The New Local: Think Global, Read Local

Malaika Crichlow
Miami, Florida

I grew up in Trinidad in the 80s and 90s as a black girl child. To be black in a country that idealizes the curly hair and mixed ethnicity aesthetic is rough to say the least. Although I shared the same parental genes as my sister, who is considered mixed or “red,” what I embodied physically was dark skin and “kinky” hair. It didn’t matter that my heritage included French, Scottish, East Indian and African; I was black to everyone who saw me, which wouldn’t bother me if I wasn’t treated as less than because of it.

I was the daughter of a dark-skinned man who, as a man, couldn’t comprehend my female self-esteem struggles. He didn’t know that his unabashed preference of my light-skinned sister could truly fuck me up. As my primary example of the male gender and my only other dark skinned counterpart in our immediate family, he didn’t understand that not loving me as much as my red sister could damage my mind and sense of self for years.  I was also the daughter of a light-skinned mother who, similarly, couldn’t fully understand my dark-skinned complex because like my sister, she had gotten the red woman’s preferential treatment her whole life…

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