I am watching "Skin" a movie starring Sophie Okonedo (she plays the main character Sandra) that takes place in apartheid South Africa. Here's a link about the movie: http://www.skinthemovie.net/site/ and here is a brief description of the movie that I found on Amazon.com:
Despite being born to Afrikaner parents, Sandra faces prejudice from her community due to her dark skin and African features. Torn between her family and the man she loves, Sandra must overcome the racial intolerance of her society in this uplifting true story. Starring Sophie Okonedo and Sam Neill. Based on the best-selling book "When She was White" by Judith Stone.
In a poignant scene from the movie, Sandra is taken before government officials and subjected to inspection to determine her ethnicity. What is the first thing the inspector does? Takes his fingers and rubs her hair between his hands. The second thing he does? Puts a pencil into her tresses and asks her to shake her head. The object of this pencil test? To determine if the pencil would fall out; thereby identifying her as white. Wow! I couldn't help but be reminded of the paper bag test (allegedly used by historically black sororities to determine if members could join; those with skin darker than the paper bag could hang it up: NO admission for darker-skinned people).
I am literally watching the movie at the same time that I'm typing this post. My heart is breaking as another scene shows Sandra powdering her face with what might as well be baby powder. Even her mother says, "You look as white as a ghost". Oh my dear. I hope that we once come to appreciate beauty of all shades, sizes and curls. Maybe one day.