Why do we fear the darkness? The psychologist in me is aware of the arguments that position this fear as “natural” and reflexive. It is the stripping away of one of the senses that we trust most. There are secrets in the darkness. Things that we cannot quite see and therefore cannot fully trusts. This idea take me to me nephew and his refusal to wander in the darkness, even in his own play space. Is it that he is not sure if he remembers where every Lego, toy truck, and Paw Patrol action figure was left on the floor? Or is he afraid of something new that he cannot see? Perhaps he just has a “natural” fear of the dark? But if that fear is “natural,” then why do so many of us sink into the darkness of sleep? Perhaps, we need to rethink this “natural” thing.
Colorblind. Color struck. Color-coded. Brown bag tested and approved. Quadroons. Octoroons. The darkness of one’s skin tone has far too much influence on their life. I marvel at the tragic irony of the most down-for-the-struggle Black person subjugating another Black person because they’re a touch darker. For example, “I’m Black, but not Wesley Snipes Black,” or as one misguided gentleman put it, “I want my toast more like Harry Belafonte than Michael Jordan.” Both iconic men, but the man with the lighter complexion makes for better toast and a more privileged lifetime. We’re all human—despite our atrocious and Inhumane behavior at times. We all emerged from the same valley in Africa and responded to the world. These responses or mutations are wonders of the world, yet they are often used to classify and divide us. I’m not too proud to admit my guilt of these crimes against my fellow humans. This tendency toward offense will always haunt us because of our brain’s need to reduce and categorize the world to make sense of it. However, melanin is a built-in sunscreen that is rather useful in places like Africa, the Middle East, and the Asian subcontinent. It should not be a means or a license to denigrate. Perhaps strong black coffee is more palatable for some with some cream included—to lighten it up—but it’s still coffee. And like milk and cream, it’s the derivative fluid of something else. At its core, it is water. Borne of the water, nestled in the water. Just water. Wade on in.