#MagandangMorenx: Celebrating Our Brown Skin

#MagandangMorenx: Celebrating Our Brown Skin

Screw Eurocentric beauty standards.
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Colorism-- when people with lighter skin are favored or treated better than people with darker skin-- is an issue in various ethnicities and cultures. For many cultures, colorism stems from Eurocentric beauty standards imposed on a minority by a European or White colonizer. The Philippines was colonized by Spain from 1521 to 1898, then by the United States from 1898 to 1946. One of the long-lasting effects of colonization is colorism, which is especially apparent in mainstream Filipino media. Many TV personalities are light skinned. There are advertisements for skin lightening creams. Dark skinned people in the media are often poor folk on the news or TV personalities made to be the butt of the jokes.

Since I am Black and Filipina, my skin is darker than my Filipino relatives' skin. In the summer, people often say to me, "Don't spend too much time outside. You don't want to get darker." Sometimes people tell me they were able to guess that I'm Black and Filipina because, according to them, I look Filipina but I'm too dark and my hair is too curly for me to be full Filipina. In college, white men* have told me that they would like me better or would consider dating me if my skin was lighter. If they're not criticizing the brownness of my skin, they try to compliment me by saying, "Your skin tone is better than other black girls'.** It's so... exotic." (Hint: this is not a compliment in the slightest.)

I'm definitely not the only person that's experienced this. In order to combat the colorism in the Filipinx community, Asia Jackson (@aasian), a Black and Filipina actress, model, and vlogger based in Los Angeles, created the hashtag #MagandangMorenx on Twitter. Moreno/a-- an 'x' is used in the hashtag to include everyone on the gender spectrum-- is a Tagalog word for people with dark, brown skin. "Magandang morenx" means "beautiful brown skin." As Jackson notes, it is not uncommon for Filipinx people to have naturally brown skin because the Philippines is located in a tropical region of the southeast Pacific. Rather than encouraging people to adhere to the Eurocentric beauty standards that praise light skin, Jackson created #MagandangMorenx to "empower, reclaim, and redefine what it means to be a Filipino and to celebrate our diversity of color."

["@xdelaaa: Slowly had to learn that I' didn't need fair skin to feel pretty. #MagandangMorenx"]

["@eb0nyy: because brown skin and curly hair doesn't make me any less of a filipina #Magandang Morenx #Cebu]

["@josephilos: I can't imagine myself without brown skin but I do know how to work it with all types of different hairstyles #MagandangMorenx]

["@aclbso: it took a long while for me to love myself, and i'm honestly still working on it, but i'm getting there; truuuust #MagandangMorenx"]

#MagandangMorenx is a beautiful hashtag full of people with a wide range of skin tones. There isn't much representation of dark skinned Filipinx people in the media, and this hashtag shows just a glimpse of the diversity in the Filipinx community. It challenges the Eurocentric beauty standards imposed on Filipinx people and many other ethnicities as well. Like many others, I'm still learning to love my skin but I'm proud of every bit of melanin.


*Note: I have only experienced this with white men. Please don't comment "It's not just white men!" or "Women do it too!" or anything of that sort. In this sentence, I'm writing about my own personal experience.

**Look for a future article I'm going to write about how I've dealt with fetishization, both Filipino and Black beauty standards, and the conflict I feel as a person of mixed race!

Cover Image Credit: Dominique Reliford

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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What's Up With Love and Hip Hop Atlanta

Skin color issues, parenting issues, cave man issues and more...

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So, I managed to peep the episode of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, which aired on April 15th. Tokyo Vanity went to meet a trainer, Ace. He told her what she should and shouldn't eat. Che Mack met with her man Made Man. It was his birthday and he wanted to hang out with his friend. She called Shekinah to hang out with her. Che Mac wanted to go back to work, but apparently, Made Man preferred her to stay home. Why can't men just let women have their careers and their families? I'm shaking my head over this story line.

Then we have Spice, who went to chat with Joc. She talked about leaving her kids in Jamaica. She also talked about her desire to change her skin color. She said that in Jamaica when you bleach your skin, it is praised like that's a good thing. Wow, that is a big cultural difference. Spice explained that she wanted to use her platform to tell other dark skinned women that they could overcome obstacles that they may have because of their skin-color. Joc told her that she should go on with her plan as long as she is prepared for it. It's so sad that people look at others negatively or positively because of the color of their skin. That's really crazy when you think about.

Anyway, Mimi later met up with Spice in the Sweet Auburn district Atlanta. The Sweet Auburn district was full of African American businesses during the Civil Rights Movement, and Mimi took Spice to the Madame C J Walker museum there. Madame CJ Walker was the first back female millionaire in the USA. She made her millions in the beauty industry. Still, though, Spice argued with Mimi and the tour guide and didn't change her mind about changing her skin color. I hope that she was ready for the backlash from people who would not care so much about her point of raising awareness on this issue. Folks will just go in on her because she lightened her skin.

Another interesting scene was when Kirk met up with his sons' grandmother, great-grandmother and Jasmine, Kannon's mother. There had been some concerns about Rasheeda's and Jasmine's different parenting styles. Kirk had some thoughts about Jasmine's parenting of his son, also. He arranged to meet with Jasmine's mother and grandmother, because they spend a lot of time with the boy, but he didn't' expect Jasmine to pop up. It's a good thing that she did, because she was able to hear first-hand what Kirk had to say about her parenting. Now, commenters on the show, chuckled at Jasmine's hair style in her scene with Kirk and her family, but I think that Jasmine raised some good points. If Kirk had just became a part of Kannon's life, if the boy had recently (on the show) been allowed to spend time with Rasheeda and Kirk in their home, Kirk shouldn't have too much to say. The child was healthy, well-fed, and happy. They shouldn't argue about petty things like Jasmine going out once in a while or the baby wearing pull-ups. I think that they will continue to disagree, just like Momma D and CeCe, but I'll have to wait and see, won't I?

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