Thanks to a secretly recorded phone conversation, race will have a larger than normal role in the NBA playoffs this year. What struck me about the alleged conversation between Clippers Owner Donald Sterling and his girlfriend was the insistent argument that it was okay to love minorities in private, just not in public. Definitely not on Instagram.

It’s amazing to me how this person could conceivably be interacting with African-American players and staff from the Clippers on a daily basis, all while holding all this animosity in his heart and mind.

Every time he watched a game courtside or stood at a press conference how heated was he? This disdain for people of color must follow him everywhere; it frames and colors the way he sees the world.

The conversation made me think about what private feelings I have in my heart and mind that shape the way I see the world. I’m black a woman, raised down south in Houston by Caribbean parents and flavored by almost a decade living in Brooklyn. I love my people. And full disclosure, I work at a company called Black&Sexy TV.

But if I’m honest, my love and pride for every descendant of the African Diaspora doesn’t mean I am without feelings inherited from my parents or based on past experiences that influence the way I think and behave in regards to people of color.

I remember my fair-skinned mother recalling that she never wanted to date a light-skinned man because she didn’t think he would do any “house work.” Really Mom? No one ever talked about it in my family, but all the dark-skinned men in my family only dated and/or married light-skinned women. Preference or prejudice?

This is just a small sampling of the words and actions - that whether I like to admit it or not – formed a consciousness that I held privately, but probably lived out publicly.

Now when Black&Sexy TV premiered YELLOW: The pleasures and problems of a Light-skinned Black Man, I was here for it! Having witnessed Austin bomb with Tamiko (from Roomieloverfriends) and then Whitney (Hello Cupid), I was eager for the homey to win at love for once. And I know I wasn’t the only one. (I joined the company in between episode one and two.) But as the series approaches the halfway mark in the season, the verdict is still out on YELLOW and even Austin. A lot of folks are confused on whether or not the series is scripted or whether Austin’s claim to racial plight is even a valid one.

Valid: To be just, well founded; having some foundation based in truth.

As a black woman, every time I hear that word I have to think about the most beautiful woman in the world. You know her as the Oscar winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o. She told us our dreams are valid. And that’s all any human wants to hear – that their dreams and fears, hopes and desires are well founded and true. For people of color, even more so.

What percentage of any web series, television show, film or documentary I watch is based in fact or fiction? I’ll never know for sure. What I can be sure of is how much of my past I bring to the viewing experience or how much of my private beliefs are dictating whether I enjoy or dislike the story being told. As I watch the remaining episodes of YELLOW, I’m gonna check myself. And I’m going to keep rooting for Austin.

Can you remember any childhood stories or events that shape the way you view light-skin or dark-skin people? Did you ever hear family members say anything about any shade of people that influenced you? We want to know.

Ester Weithers is a Creative Executive at Black&Sexy TV and a blogger at BookOfEster.com. She is currently working on a TV pilot about her experiences as a pastor’s daughter. She is obsessed with spicy food, A Different World and her yellow-boned nephew Gabe.

 

49 Comments