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Why should “this” be about the color of my skin?

CHICAGO“Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud” is a funk song that was written and recorded by James Brown in 1968. It was released as a two-part single which held the number-one spot on the R&B singles chart for six weeks, and peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. The song became an unofficial anthem of the Black Power movement: Taken from'm_Black_and_I'm_Proud.

~ what difference should the color of my skin make ...Operation PUSH ~
~ what difference should the color of my skin make ...Operation PUSH ~
photo's by me, Ms. Rhonda B.
making a difference for the community ~
photo's by me, Ms. Rhonda B.

Skin tone complications are a sensitive timeless conversation that still afflicts the psyche of present-day America. Light skin, dark skin, “why does it really matter about the color the skin that you are in?” This sad reality is still pervasive in mainstream America.

“Deacon’s Choice,” a movie that will be released in summer 2014, will delicately tackle this sensitive, but, ongoing saga. Despite the existence of studies that document mixed-race people as being placed socially below whites, but ahead of blacks, the higher esteem level believed to come with lighter skin has not proven to lend itself to a greater sense of confidence, prominence, or even pride. As we are now in the 21st century, the inclination will be to shout, “No, it just ain’t so.” I can hear you now: so many of you are saying, “I couldn't care less about the color of the packaging ... it is what is inside the wrapper that really counts.” Words from Martin L. King, Jr.’s speech come to the mind of many—something about being “judged by the character within, and not simply the color of your skin.”

Yet, the disparity in treatment is still widespread. Cheerios has stepped up with another ad, which drew widespread attention during Super Bowl XLVIII and featured the interracial married couple and their biracial daughter who were also in a previous ad. In spite of our ability to use reason and rationalization, the human brain is wired to categorize information. And, because we are easily influenced, the natural process of categorizing can easily become biased when we let outside factors alter our thinking; i.e., decision making based on the tone of one’s complexion.

The writers of the movie “Deacon’s Choice” poignantly tackle this ongoing light skin/dark skin saga in parallel tales. One would assume the film’s name is derived from a religious title, but this twin story explains one young lady’s journey through life and evokes the inner landscape of her longing to connect, love and enjoy the true feeling of a mother’s love. “Deacon’s Choice” uniquely illustrates parallel stories as parables of happiness gloriously found, and tragically lost in part by her fathers’ choice to pursue a relationship beyond his marriage; causing the hearts, passions and esteems of both mother and daughter to slowly chip away by this long-lived façade.

The betrayed wife had a choice in the situation either to stay in the marriage or not. But Deacon, the daughter, had no choice in the situation and for 30 years has been at the mercy of selfishness. This film exposes an unincorporated world of confusion, as it measures strength, not from one’s demeanor but by each characters internal self-riding on emotional roller coasters in pursuit of closure.

Once the blinders are removed from Deacon’s eyes, she is confronted with many painful, but, enlightening truths that have destroyed her family’s once solid foundation, exposing the often thin line between the haves and have-not's of our society. The heartbreaking details of a confession have crystallized all the years of her insecurities and self-doubt, leaving Deacon devastated and realizing she has bared the brunt of the situation her entire life. Can all the lies and betrayal be absolved? More importantly, this movie begs the question “can long term heartfelt pain be healed?” The movie brings new meaning to the cliché “some things may be best left unsaid.”

So, what does any of this has to with the larger societal question of whether those with lighter skin enjoy greater opportunities? In a word, “everything” per Kenya Renee: film writer, and producer.