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Do light-skinned black women have life easier than dark-skinned black women?

By April 24, 2008 46 Comments

When is it my turn?

Speaking of body image and stereotypes of women, it’s not all about thinness/fatness, is it? Take the Tyra Banks Show from today, April 24. Black women of various skin shades were on the show talking about whether light-skinned black women have things easier, and the answer seemed to be “yes.”

Adding her very sensationalistic viewpoint, one medium-skinned woman said, “I don’t want my son dating dark-skinned girls because I don’t want him bringing home any dark-skinned grandbabies.” Luckily, her 12-year-old son said he hates when she says that, because she comes off as “prejudiced.” And another darker-skinned woman finally told her lighter-skinned sister (and I mean sister, by blood) that she feels her lighter-skinned sister has had the advantage during her life. She asked “When is it my turn to be called pretty?”
Woman with TyraLight sister
These two women are sisters. That’s Tyra on the left.

You can see clips on Tyra’s web site.

And while you’re at it,

here’s an ad that illustrates the skin-color issue pretty clearly, albeit with some ad-speak mixed messages thrown in. We show this ad to teenagers in our workshops and ask, “How does this advertiser want you to feel?” So tell us all, what do you think?

Skin lightening ad
(click to enlarge)

Now, I’m not black, so I have no right to make judgments about how black women treat each other, and I can’t see it from their perspective. Maybe our black women readers won’t want to comment because they don’t want to discuss their community’s “dirty laundry.” But we can all learn something from this struggle. So if you’ve checked out the videos of the show, or you have anything to say on this issue, please post below so we can open up the conversation.

– J. B.