The Ridiculous Nature Of It All
It’s a shame that this conversation continues to be had in the black community. But one only has to skim through a few forums and social media outlets to discover that black people are still concerned with the amount of melanin found in each other’s skin. To people who aren’t black this probably sounds utterly insane and it is. Perhaps it’s not so strange to those who come from an Asian background or an Indian background where lighter skin is favored and is a symbol of high status. Still, you would think that African Americans who fought and slaved (literally) to gain respect and equality in the US would unify themselves rather than find more fault lines that nurture separation.
Sadly, however, we have found more ways to sever ourselves. There’s this movement, or competition rather, of superiority based on darkness and fairness. Obviously, it stems from slavery where black people with lighter complexions stayed indoors to be pampered by “Massa” who was also most likely, “Daddy.” Meanwhile, those with dark complexions remained outside, laboring, being whipped, and scorched by the sun. Thus, we have the light skin, dark skin complex. Upon further analysis it seems as though even the slave owners didn’t seem to care about who was dark and who was light. They slept with whomever and it was their children who were born fair skinned with lighter eyes and straighter hair. Then the favored slave and her child would become “house niggers.” At least that’s my understanding of it.
This archaic idiocy has transcended time and landed in our century, buried itself in our minds and poisoned us. I include myself among those affected by this mindset but I also consider myself enlightened. I am dark skinned. I have been told I was ugly and made to feel inferior for this. I have observed the special treatment of fair black children. The comparison pictures of dark skinned black people and apes have not escaped my notice. Even I had to be trained by my mother to know and believe that I am beautiful and that my skin is perfect because God gave it to me. Yes, I used to wonder if I could lighten my tone by several shades with ingredients in my kitchen. Would guys ever like me? Would I ever be attractive by a “good-looking” man’s standards? These were my concerns before I even lost all of my baby teeth.
So now, I’m older and I know better. But I’ll scroll around online and see ignorance in places like Instagram where black women young and old are still taking selfies and captioning “Team Light Skin” or “Team Dark Skin” underneath! Aged women pass this nonsense onto children, insecure brown girls face discrimination from OTHER BLACK GIRLS in school, brown girls turn their backs on fair girls and start acting mean, and then this whole stereotype war breaks out like acne on picture day!
I’ve even noticed men doing it to other men. They’ll be playing ball outside or something and I’ll hear, “Nigga, you dark as s***. Take your black a** inside.” It’s all in jest and everyone’s laughing. But the one at the brunt of the joke doesn’t see the humor, though he’s laughing too.
I can only relate to the struggles of a dark complexioned girl because I don’t know what it’s like to appear any other way. However, I want to see the whole “Team Light Skin/ Dark Skin” thing die all together. Some feel that now it’s time to turn the tables and oppress fair skinned black people just like we were oppressed. How does that make sense? That only perpetuates the situation! You have black people, who all have roots in Africa and now live in America, sitting in separate corners scowling at each other because they’ve developed inaccurate general opinions based on melanin. Readers, are you understanding my fury?
Never again do I want to hear these stereotypes:
Dark skinned: “I hate light skinned people. They think they’re better than us. They’re so high maintenance; they think they deserve the world.” This is classifying all fair skinned black people into one way of thinking and being. How grossly misinformed.
Light skinned: “Um. Team light skin all the way! Dark skinned girls are just jealous. They look like greasy monkeys.” This is just rude and ignorant. Many dark skinned girls are very comfortable in their skin.
Dark skinned: “Guys who date light girls hate dark skin and hate themselves.” So untrue. Everyone is entitled to their own preferences. A person who dates someone lighter than themselves is not necessarily engaging in self-hatred.
Light skinned: “Yeah she’s pretty for a dark skinned chick.” A common phrase that needs to die. This implies that most dark skinned people are ugly but there are exceptions to the rule. The truth is every complexion is beautiful.
Dark & Light skinned: “Ew I don’t date dark guys.” Why? Do they have cooties?
Dark skinned: “Light skinned people are uppity and snobbish.” Please. Stop with these generalizations and biases. Some of the most down-to-earth people I know have fair skin.
Light skinned: “Every guy really wants a light skinned girl deep down.” False. When a person is involved with someone of a dark complexion it doesn’t mean that their “settling” till someone “light skinned” comes along. Once again, some people are more attracted to deeper skin tones and some aren’t.
Everyone else: Light skinned and dark skinned…They’re all black to me!
Truth! We’re the only ones really obsessing over this foolishness. The rest of the world doesn’t care about what shade of brown we are. They either love us as a whole or hate us as a whole.
Stop this. There’s a fool in every group, sect, ethnicity, nationality and it’s not because of skin complexion it’s because of attitude and knowledge. The wrong attitude and lack of knowledge births anger, hatred and ignorance.
In case you’re wondering, I’m Team Skin. I’m Team Universe. The amount of pigmentation in one person’s skin does not determine their worth, their status, or their beauty.
Black men and women need to wake up. We are continuing the same threads of injustice that we escaped from years ago. We’re teaching our sons and daughters not to love themselves but to hate others for things that they can’t control and things that God specifically designed as artwork.
We’re training them to think inferior thoughts about themselves and planting the same reminiscent poisons in their minds when we should be standing together. Whether you have deep, dark skin, porcelain skin, or one of the shades in between, you are art. Remember to measure each other by the content of character.