Ramou Sarr went through a long process of ridding herself of thoughts that she was ugly and inferior as an African-American girl, especially growing up in predominantly white environments. At Black Girls Talking, Sarr describes how she once yearned for blond hair.
The ways in which my self-hatred manifested itself slowly changed, however. It became a raw, dangerous internalized hatred. I was less likely to point it outwards, less determined to make another black or brown girl feel my same pain. Yet I was more likely to patronize myself, to deem myself so worthless that whatever I chose to do – or not do – simply did not matter, more likely to blame my blackness for everything that was wrong in my life and the ultimate reason why I was so unhappy.
It’s hard for me to pinpoint exactly what changed. I do know that the presence of beautiful, strong, black women in my life now has helped immensely, but also know that a change like this – to be able to somehow get out of a space in which you hate yourself so deeply that you almost feel like you don’t belong to you – is something that had to mostly come from within. I suppose you reach a point where the energy it takes to be so sad and angry is too exhausting to bear.
I remember watching Goldberg perform that long, luxurious, blonde hair monologue and laughing, believing that I understood comedy. And perhaps I did understand comedy then, but more importantly, I understood what it was like to be a little black girl who wanted to be a little white girl. I understood what that felt like and was soon going to spend years seeing how that manifested itself. Like the little black girl that Goldberg portrayed, who longed for the perfect hair to get her on The Love Boat, I believed that long, luxurious, blonde hair – or rather, whiteness – was going to bring me happiness. Like that little black girl, I had to learn that it wouldn’t. And I did. And I’m here. And I’m fine.
Read Ramou Sarr’s entire article at Black Girls Talking.
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