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

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.”

Woman with Tyra
Light sister

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?”

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.

46 thoughts on “Do light-skinned black women have life easier than dark-skinned black women?

  1. I’m Caucasian but all I can say is that dark skinned women are very beautiful, having such a nice color, they tend to have less visible imperfections and well… in my opinion they are generally prettier. My point is that how can people be ashamed of being darker than others, I’m jealous of their beautiful dark skin! White people literally die to have tans when these people are born with skin better than tanned!

  2. During slavery, the light skinned blacks lived in the house with the slave master. The dark skinned blacks worked the cotton fields. This tradition still affects the mind set of many African Americans today. This has left dark skinned blacks feeling ugly even when they are beautiful.

  3. Tyra actually got the show topic from an article in Ebony magazine in the February 2008 issue (downloadable from

    I’m sure this issue does have its foundation in slavery — it makes sense. But shall we (all) overcome some day? I truly hope so. And I hope black women can learn to stop judging each other by the color of their skin. Does it take time, or revolutionary refusal to discuss skin color?


  4. I am light-skinned having been the product of an inter-racial marriage. I was once told that I was the “sexy kind of black” (a few years ago when I was 19) and I was really taken aback by the comment. Like… what is the “non-sexy kind of black” exactly?
    I call myself the “affirmative action friend” or “affirmative action employee” in a joking way because it seems as though I am constantly surrounded by white people, the majority of which have pretty strong stereotypical views of black people. It’s almost like I’m the first step before they venture out to meet non-whites.

    Anyway, I would agree that I have had it easier than some of darker skinned black people that I know. #1. because I am mixed and, #2. because I have light skin. But I also grew up in white neighborhoods and white towns so I really can’t speak for any black people who have grown up in areas where the majority of the people shared their skin color. There is a clear sense of… discrimination though. Even amongst black people from what I have seen.

  5. I am a French Black woman from African origins and I am sick and tired of seing the skin tone debate simplistically portrayed as (in a nutshell) in the mind of Blacks : ligher skin =whiter =superiority and/or beauty.

    I believe it is not that simple and that such sweeping generalisations ,often without any solid empirical evidence, is a form of racism and possibly projection.

    I accept that in the mind of many brainwashed and formally colonised or enslaved non-white people who have internalised european standards of beauty (which let’s not forget have been imposed on virtually everyone for centuries) ,being of a lighter skin completion equates (consciously or not)being closer to the white race and therefore being more beautiful.

    If I say Black people want to be white and hence lighten their skin and straighten their hair, it seems to be accepted as a god given truth.

    But if I say White people want to be black and hence have lip and buttocks implants , most would question the reasoning and mention other factors such as fashion …

    This to me smacks of bigotry and hypocrisy.
    To contend that ALL those who look at lighter skinned women as more beautiful have some kind of racial inferiority complex is just as questionnable as freud’s concept of “penis envy” in women .

    Beauty is cultural and is more than the sum of the feautures of a person . It encompass grace and presence ,charisma and in my view authenticity .

    Lasly I find the expression “dirty laundry” patronising and unhelpful. Race , racism and thus racialised ideas of beauty and inferorioty /superiority are difficult topics in most communities and to assume that black people may not want to speak about the issues ,as it would mean washing some dirty laundry in pupbic is both patronising and insensitive.

    Lets remind ourself that issues of race in America is EVERYONE’s dirty laundry.

    Incidentally ,I find the model beautify and would still find her beautiful if she had “kinkier” hair or a broder nose.

  6. Guilaine and Nicest Girl, thanks for sharing your perspectives!

    Guilaine, just to clarify, “dirty laundry” wasn’t my term, it was Tyra’s. I definitely can’t assume that black women are always ashamed to talk about their community’s problems.


  7. Jennifer , every community should own up to complexities of race , racism and colorism,
    These are not solely ” the black community ” ‘ issues…
    I think you may have missed the point there again.

    All the best.


  8. I’m black and light(yellow)skin,light skin blacks don’t have it easier.I had lived in Philadelphia(7th poorest US city,blacks are the majority)for many years.In Philadelphia many brown and dark skin black young adults prefer brown and dark skin blacks.I lived in cities that weren’t like this.My light(yellow)skin and my brown skin black young adult cousins lived in some zipcodes in Philly that have many sex offenders and none of the black would date my light skin cousin and many black men wanted to date my brown skin cousin.There are few light(yellow) skin and brown or dark skin black young adult couples in Philly.

  9. I grew up in Nigeria (Africa) and being dark skinned, i noticed that some people there still refer to light skinned girls as being “beautiful” , “hot” etc while the dark skinned ones are not all that.
    However, some other people hold the opinion that the dark skinned ones are the true beauties.
    Now that i live in the US, it seems to be more of an issue here than in Africa. So it is not just the mentality after slavery, but really is a result of what the media promotes all over the world.
    What i believe is people can be beautiful no matter what color they are. It’s about your self esteem. There are obstacles no matter your color and people are entitled to their preferences.
    I like dark and light skinned brothers, and admire both dark or light skinned girls, depending on their style.

  10. I am caucasian and I was born in Brazil. My ancestors were dark skinned (my grandfather was a product of a ‘interracial’ marriage). I am very white, it is impossible to believe that some of my ancestors came from Africa.
    Well, I see that in Brazil some afro-brazilians like to marry caucasian women (and vice versa) in order to have children with light skin. This is so ridiculous and sad. I think it was what happenned in my family, that’s the reason why I have a pale skin. Some families even try to hide the african ancestors (thanks God it is not the case of my family, I always had a wonderful relationship with my grandfather and we are only apart now, because he passed away).
    People must learn multiculturality, must respect the differences nature make… there are so many kinds of beauty! From Oprah Winfrey (she is a diva for me) to Gisele Bundchen (this one will never represent brazilian women, because only a little part of us look like her).

    One thing I’d like to commed is about the hair. The media created a pattern, where all women must have a blond hair and not dark or curly, or african. This is so sad. I see beautiful african descendant woman dying their hair in blond and removing all the curly. Why do Beyoncee have to make that with her hair? Tyra Banks too…

    I think everybody is free to do what they want to with their appearance, but in my opinion, natural beauty should be more valored.

    Sorry my english mistakes.

  11. Several years ago when I was in my teens my sister married an Indian guy. I became very interested in Indian culture and read all I could about it. I was surprised to learn how in ancient Indian literature fair skin is praised and prized. This preference was prevalent in Asian countries ever before Europeans had dominance. In olden days Japanese women blackened their teeth in order to make their skin look whiter. Even today geishas paint their faces white. I think preference for pale skin is to do with class more than any negative influence from Europeans. The poor in all countries worked outside and therefore would be sunburnt and darker skinned than their rich overlords. Pale skin was a symbol of wealth and therefore something to be desired. This thinking has become so ingrained that it continues to this day, senseless though it is. Not every problem in the world can be laid at the feet of whitey.

  12. i am a purely African girl who have long rejected straight hair from as early as 10 years old. my mother was braiding me and i ran away because it was so painful and i could not understand why i was being punished just to have long hair. later that evening i came home and simply asked my mom to shave my head. reluctantly she did. it was 1997. for nine years i had very short hair and many terned me a tom boy because i did not want to have long”girlish” straight hair. in 2006 tired of this short hair my mum suggested i do something with my hair. we had a long talk because i did not want straight hair. so i settled for dreadlocks…

    last year i did an internship in one company and my supervisor, black lie me and a Motswana, asked me how long i intended to stay with my kind of hair, i said forever. she was quick to judge to say that my hair style is inappropriate for women, (apparently her long straight hair is). i just laughed at her misguided comment.

    my point is i fail to understand why we have to lose our kinky and beautiful afros in the name of being fully women. what is that anyway, who set the standard. why do we have to go through such a painful, expensive and dangerous process of applying chemicals in our heads. to make matters worse i constantly see African men with this long straight hair. geez….

    influential people like Oprah,Tyra, Beyonce and all these celebs are just not true to what they preach. they never stop talking about black this and Africa that..lets be proud of who we are but they have these ridiculous long weaves and are always like”my hair this my hair that.” i look and wander which hair are they talking about? i have never seen an African descendant with that a long shoulder length hair(brown, blond or whatever color).

    i also had an amazing opportunity to come for study abroad in USA for a year, which am finishing in a month and gladly going back to Bots…. anyway i was shocked to find out that 7 out of 10 black guys in the college i am attending only date white ladies, and they proudly say it. to my surprise which i find very hypocritical and counter what they teach..they are the very people who run the black student organization and who never forget to remind people that they are black. i am not saying there is anything wrong with dating cross culturally but there is something wrong with i date only white women,more especially if you are black. to me its like saying the black sisters are lacking something that the white sisters have.

    i am not going to portray us, black women, as vulnerable helpless people and say that because of men and the media some of us choose all these dangerous procedures to have straight hair let alone burn their faces with chemicals to look white. no, its individual choice.

    i look around and try to figure out what is all this obsession with being lighter or having long straight hair. does it make anyone happier, any better than me with my not so called inappropriate locks or my dark skin color. no i have not seen none of that. people should start appreciating themselves as they are.


    any errors..don’t worry i am very fluent on my native language.

  13. tepo, I’m so glad you wrote. And to the other women who are not in the U.S., I’m so glad to hear your stories. It’s amazing how we (the U.S.) export our culture so much that you are watching Tyra and Oprah too (or are you watching it while you’re in the U.S.?). It just seems wrong.

    Keep those locks tepo, no matter what anyone says!


  14. I loved the message that tepo left!
    Keep those locks tepo, no matter what anyone says! [2]

    I believe in diversity! Everybody must love themselves, the way nature made us! I believe that we must be happy!

    A little more about Brazil: in our last census, it was reported that more than 50% of our population consider themselves as afro brazilians. It’s believed that more than 80% of people have african ancestors. We also have some european ancestors (maily portuguese) and native brazilian. In some small colonies and cities, there was German imigration and geographic and cultural barries prevented for many years the mix of ‘races’. (I dont like the term ‘race’). From one of these “german cities” came Gisele Bundchen.

    So, the average brazilian woman hair is brown and not straight (as my hair is). Chemical procedures are quite popular here! Many women, ffrom many social origins (riches or poors) make these procedures to have a straight hair. Also, they like to dye their hairs, to make it blond. I live in São Paulo, a big city, and in the subway I see many blond women and I believe 90% of them are non-natural blondes.

    In the past, women wanted to be like Sonia Braga (she is really Brazilian!). Sonia Braga, when young, had a natural beauty, a natural curly hair, a natural skin (product of portuguese+native+african origins). Now, woman here want to be like Gisele and others that had so many cosmetic surgeries and other procedures that don’t even look like real women.

    For me, that’s a pity. They’re losing their identities in order to look like someone else.

    Girls, I’d be happy if you add me in your msn’s. I’d improve a lot my english and I’d like to discuss these themes. I love this website and It is so nice to have such intelligent women to talk!

  15. I think the light skinned/dark skinned thing is so pervasive because we perpetuate it consciously or subconsciously.

    It is not always the media’s fault. The worst comments I have heard about black(african) hair features has come from friends and family.

    I say love yourself fiercely and the world will be forced to.

  16. I agree with Maggie. Not everything can be blamed on white people. Everyone involved is responsible, which is what I think Guilaine was suggesting. It is not just laid at the feet of white people because of slavery, but because of popular culture – where white voices speak the loudest. The preferences of white people are transmitted around the world and they do effect others. And it’s not just their preferences for other white people but their preferences for “white” features and similarity to themselves in other races. (And I know that having the preference for the “look” of your culture makes sense, but having the kind of power that white people have gives them a greater responsibility in most things, including this one.)

    Besides which, skin color issues don’t just affect the black community. All other races are affected by them as well, including white people. I also read that it was largely a class issue with lighter skin suggesting ease and darker skin suggesting labor, except in the case of white people where darker skin suggests vacations and wealth and light skin suggesting indoor labor (and that preference is relatively new).

    I think the way to make changes is to make people aware of “wrong” thinking so they can begin to question their thoughts. You can’t change people, but you can be the catalyst that helps people decide to change themselves. Also changes in popular culture imagery would likely also help. It will certainly take time though. These thoughts and feelings are long ingrained into their respective cultures.

  17. I am a darker skinned woman & I can say that white man DID but the “Whiter/Lighter is Righter” propective in the black community first, but it is US (blacks) who is STILL believing this crap.
    We cant go on saying, “Oh, the white man did this & that”. No, srcew that…We are still pumping this belief in the brains of our kids.
    I am pretty sure more white people like darker skin, now, in comparison to the slavery & post-slavery era.
    I have been abused (physically & verbally) by ONLY blacks (no whites), if any, whites compliment my tone.
    Most of us are just stupid, that’s all.

  18. I FULLY agree w/ Samantha#11…Us, blacks, hate our selves so much that we marry cauasians (& other lighter races) inorder to have a lighter tone child(s) in hopes they will be beautiful.
    My cousin married a jewish male ONLY for her 6 bi-racial girls (& she says it ALL the time)…And if you ask me, they look no better than un-mixed children.
    But why do this?…you can’t live through your kids.

  19. I felt compelled to respond to the comments by BeeYouTeeFull and Samantha#11.

    I am saddened by your experience but cannot help thinking that if you really believe that most of us (black) are stupid you are as norrow minded as those who have no doubt afflicted trauma upon you.

    It is not my intention to downplay the part us blacks play is perpetuating colorism. Some of us really need to educate ourselves.

    lets however not forget , that many studies in the US and elsewhere have shown that Llghter skinned people whether from african or south american descent tend to have better job (given by white employers in the main) thus better outcome , are judged as more trustworthy (by white people ), are represented in the media as more beautiful (mediums controlled by white people).
    On the other hand,darker skinned people are still portrayed as less educated , more agressive , less sophisticated in TODAY ‘s media…

    Of course it is not anout blaming , as I said previously it is about taking ownership and TODAYS’ america is as responsible as blacks , as asians, as latin americans…

    We do not have to perpetuate those stereotypes (eg We hate ourselves , we are stupid) , we do not have to repeat history either yet one sure way to do exactly that is by forgetting what history has taught us…

    Hold your head up high whatever your skin tone or ethnic background , praise yourself and your people for achieving despite adversity, for their beauty and for their grace and eventually you will demand respect.

    Thanks to ABOUT FACE for affording us the space to have this invaluable discussion.

  20. I’m kinda light skinned but i still get called nigger so its all the same to me…and its not true that all light skinned blacks were “house” negroes, the preference for house slaves ususally came from a certain region in africa ( i believe it was somewhere in senegal). The largest number of light skinned slaves came from darker skinned slaves who were rapped by their masters..peace

  21. I ama only 12 years old and my freinds make lil jokes about they call me skid mark or blackula. I try to keep my hopes up but its hard. For example one day my sister was playing on disney channel website on the london tipton make-over I chose to pick the color of the doll that was supposed to be her , I ended up picking the dark brown color and she threw a temper tantrum… Is this world only about light skinned people…

  22. Yes, it ‘s true. Lighter skinned people are accepted by everyone worldwide. Not just in the African community, but in all communities. So to answer the question do lite skinned blk women have it easier that dark skinned blk women…yes, in some ways they do.

    We do it to ourselves, too. It’s hurtful to some. Like the 12 year old girl who wrote in…she is only 12, still a child and has feelings of insecurity because she has dark skin.

    The sad part, its all based on what men like and the European supreme ideology, they claim to hold, of beauty!


  24. Unless we understand our pass we will never embrace our future. The fact of the matter is slavery as well as jim crow and the civil rights movement proved how racists our society is and still is. It’ true the lighter you are the better you are treated.The media is powerful ,it’s a system designed to brain wash you. look at the ads and commercials.what complextions are our leading women in hollywood and music. light skinned black women. lets not be ignorant and niave about whats going on.How many times have you heard you are pretty for a darkskinned girl?how many times have you heard the phrase you have good hair if it’s curly.How many blacks were called tar baby who were dark. I think people are beautiful no matter what color they are.My mother never raised me up on looks I thought I was just as nice looking as everyone else until oneday I got involved with my peers. I learned what was considered pretty through my friends.The media bombarded me with images of the white women daily.You have blacks in the south who did the paper bag test.There was a time black women couldn’t get a job in the Us unless they straightened their hair! personally I think there is a lot of predjudice amongst our people also.Many prefer the blacks that are more European looking.It’s a standard Most Black women can’t live up to.God made us who we are for a reason.I wish other people would realize this.It’s hard to love yourself when the world is constantly telling you there is something wrong with you.

  25. I think its difficult for women when you begin to date and men, black men, bring up the color/hair thing. I have heard comments from black men ,such as, there is no such thing as an ugly light-skinned girl. The implication being that her skin color is the ace in the hole. I have heard the meanest and rudest comments about this issue from black people.

    So we can’t blame the media for everything, when we sometimes perpetuate these hurtful beliefs.

  26. […] Long-time, loud-and-proud bigot Don Imus was fired from his national radio gig after a controversy swirled in response to his calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “some nappy-headed hos” last spring. […]

  27. Okay, I just want to say this!
    African-Americans should accept their skin tone no matter what color it is.
    My mom is of creole descent and light and she hasn’t had it easy, that is pure nonsense! I am of brown texture with straight hair and I think I had it more easy than my light cousin! It’s not about your skin tone it’s about the way you conduct yourself, and many Caucasians rather have darker skin anyway!
    Love The Skin You Are In!
    Jamarcus Sanders

  28. With all due respect to darker skin African- American women but, why is it that some like to almost infer that the lives of house slaves was some sort of walk in the park? Why is it there is this incessant need for darker skinned Blacks to minimize everyone else’s pain but their own I ask? Undoubtedly house slaves did have some advantages but, not to the extent it’s being purported by those with an axe to grind centuries later. While colorism or intraracial discrimination can work both ways, I can only speak to my own personal experiences. A large majority of darker skinned women I have encounter during my lifetime seem to be the ones who have a chip on their shoulders over their complexion the most.
    While some darker skinned women feel that lighter skin women have it easier I’d like to know is being called “yella gal” or “half-breed” any better than being called “blackie” or “tar baby”? No! It’s equally offensive and demeaning but, it continues to happen because one generation to the next furthers the continuation of colorism; a shameful and demoralizing relic of American slavery.

  29. We are talking about women here who are the color of milk chocolate and dark chocolate or darker. I am the color of milk chocolate. I grew up in MS. Every day of my life was made miserable by my own people. Daily being teased about my complextion, made to feel less than. I had no freinds, no boyfriends, no one talked to me except to tease me about my skin, even strangers. I am absolutly beautiful, which I didn’t realize just how beautiful until old white lady said it to me while waiting at a bus stop. She said I was as rare as a red bird. I have european features, high cheekbones, dove wing eyes and a nice body, still black men do not accept me. I am very humbled, sweet, kind and loving. I’m a lady of class and elegance. I’m not street, I’m soft spoken. Still black men do not accept me. My four sisters are light skin with long hair (good hair) They were ashamed of me. They never let anybody know that I was there sister. When I got to college the black guys who did talk to me would never have been seen with me in the day light, they were only trying to sleep with me. And I new why, being with a dark skin girl was not acceptable. Black men will be with and do anything for lite skin women with long hair, no matter how rude , bad attitude, loud or how much of a goldigger she is, no matter how much she cheats, no matter how many kids she has, he wants here. I know because all the women friends I have now are beautiful light skin women. Brothers why is that.

  30. i am a black 12 yr old girl
    of mid-tone paler skin.
    To be honest, i dont know any dark skinned girls who are teased in my school. Its sad though, i have a sister who sometimes feels jealous of me because myskin is paler.
    The truth of the matter is, we’re still black.

  31. My mother is light skin and my father is darkskin.
    They love their 4 dark, medium, light skin kids =)

  32. im medium/dark skinned and i have native american in me and i thought i was asian.(acsually,i might be), and my white boyfriend(ex now) said that i was hot. he didnt say any thing about me being dark(even thought i will admit that my skin is bright )be proud of who you are

  33. i a gree with dark person, am alycia am from haiti but i have ligt med skin so some people haitian calle me grimelle which mean about to turn white so but i like butut t since i live in american people call me sometime brown girls or black half girl so it cool i love it hah peple stop judge it not a good thing please go church ok

  34. I am a light skinned black woman, and I think it was harder for me. Whites didn’t like me because I was “too black” and blacks didn’t like me because my skin was “too light”. I was really all alone in my teen years….I had to develope a tough skin just to survive the emotional ups and downs of being a teenager during a time when a black man (my father) wasn’t suppose to marry a white woman (my mother)and then have children together. I am 46 as of July 29th and I am a proud black woman. Who happens to have light skin. It doesn’t matter to me how light or how dark my son’s wife will be……all that matters is she loves him and treats him well and gives me lots of grandbabies!!!!!

  35. I’m mixed!! I’m black and white(Irish decent),but I look Hispanic and thats what most people think I am without even thinking about it. My life growing up mixed has been pretty much awkward. I’m black but the black community doesn’t except me as black. Its kind of funny actually when my brothers and I go to BBQs and some of our cousins who don’t know us wonder why we are there! (they look at us like freeloaders or something. Ha ha.) All my life I have been accepted by Hispanic people. With that said I notice that black girls and even grown women show lots of animosity, anger, and jealously towards Spanish women or in my case Spanish looking women. My father whom is black always tells me it goes back to the slavery when a “master” would rape a black women and the kids came out lighter that they where treated better than others. He told me they were the ones who were actually able to live better (for lack of better words because they were still considered slaves.) I take this to probably be the reason dark skinned women act envious towards lighter skinned blacks or mixed ones. With all of this said I’m proud to be mixed not because I’m lighter, but because I have so much culture. And for a reminder to everyone, there is no such thing as a pure race!

  36. Color! Color! Color! This will always be a topic of conversation for people of COLOR. I am considered light complexioned, although i do not really see that, until a picture is taken. To be honest, shade of color is in the eye of the beholder, from my experience. My friends and I often differ about dark & light on a particular person. What I consider “darker”, my darker friends consider “light or red”. By the way, I hate the terms “yellow and red”, when referring to the color of black people. I am not yellow nor red, i am a beautiful shade of brown. What I consider “pecan tan”! ALL shades of brown are absolutely gorgeous!! And I do mean-n brown! Not black and not white. How rare is it that anyone sees someone who is the color of black or the color of white? Its rare for me.

  37. MY LIFE EXPERIENCE as a lighter complexioned woman. I have seen the double standard and I have been the double standard. I realize that my color and my hair texture allows me more priviledges than if I were dark and my hair thicker. I do not discriminate and do not see color when choosing who to befriend and approach. I firmly believe that because I was raised in a military family, where we had friends and neighbors of all races and colors helped me not see the color line. Ive been discriminated against from darker skinned people and to this day I will never understand it!! I am certainly not talking about everyone- but it happens. I love to smile and speak to those i pass by in the store, or in the community, and so many times ive had darker skinned black women give me hideous looks!! At times some nasty comments!! I dont understand it, and honestly do not fully blame them for it. Living in this country, what do we see when looking at TV or magazines?? Light skin black person or someone with darker skin with long curly or straight hair!! Its crazy. Most of my friends are much darker than me, but so what??? We have some very deep conversations about color and I hate that I can see in their face that being dark in America has been a negative experience. The sentence I get most from them is, “Tinay- you are light so you dont understand, or my opion is skewed because of my color”. That is not true, but I can agree that many of my experiences have been different because I have usually been that employee allowed to go further because of my skin/hair/dialect. NO, I am not talking about grammar. SO please, noone write to me about “sounding white”. I dont believe in that statement. Im always ACCUSED of not being “all the way black, or different than ‘them'”. People make assumptions based on what they have learned and experienced. Bottom line, we are all affected in some way with skin tone, and in a perfect world, I would say “there is no color”. However, the reality is I cannot imagine a world where skin tone is not an issue. BUT, as people of color, I hope we can get past “shades of brown”, because when it comes down to it- we have MANY more race issues to deal with. There shouldnt be a race issue within a race. When I say “people of color”, I am not just referring to black people- if you are not white, I am talking about you too!!Wish you all the best!!

  38. I feel like this subject isn’t touched upon enough, so taking this opportunity to say something is very important to me. I am 16 years old. My mother has brown skin and is mixed with african american, native american, and irish. My father has very light skin and is mixed with cape verdian, portuguese, antiguan, and beijan(Barbados). I have light skin and long hair that is extremely curly and wavy but turns out to be very pretty when it’s straightened. My older brother has eyes that change color, while me and my little brother have light brown eyes. My mother and father both have brown eyes and when all of us are together, people walk up to my parents and ask if my older brother is their son because of his eye color. In school, girls(white and black) come up to me and ask me if i have a weave or a perm because my hair is so long and is easily straightened. Dark skin girls come up to me and say things like, “I wish i had hair like you” and to be honest, that deeply saddens me. White boys say that they would rather prefer a light skinned girl over a dark skinned girl which doesn’t make any sense because there are some drop dead gorgeous dark skinned girls out there. They’re missing out. I feel like each and every one of us in the black community should be grateful for the way we look and not covet each other for things that we “wish” we had. Each and every one of us should embrace each other and stop putting each other down because, the way i see it, regardless of whether you’re light skinned or dark skinned, we’re all people of color. Something we should be proud of.

  39. My heart broke when I saw this. I am of mixed race, none of which are black, so I cannot speak on this issue from that standpoint. However, I am a person who is very empathetic. When I heard her ask when someone is going to call her pretty, it was heart-breaking for sure. I think that black women are beautiful…I think all women are.

    This has also hit home, because I have a half black, half Chamorro cousin who is affected by this. His father is the black parent, and as an engineer for Boeing, he sometimes has to move his family around. He is a strong father and tried to instill a good work ethic in his sons, knowing full well the opposition they’ll face. The problem is, their last move took them to an all-white town…and one of my cousins was trying to fit in desperately. He became anorexic to be slim like them (Chamorro people aren’t small…think Samoan and you’re on the right track), and he even got blue contacts for his eyes. He even tried to tan with his white friends. It was devastating.

    However, you must ask yourself how much of this is a “race” issue and how much is a self-esteem issue. “I’m not pretty because I’m darker skinned.” Now, replace “darker skinned” with fat, chubby, flat-chested, scarred, covered in stretch marks, etc. and you have a very common complaint. Instead of getting hung up on body types, these women are hung up on body hues. To me, it’s nothing more than a terrible, but all-too-common, self-esteem issue so many women have: “I’m not pretty because I’m [insert anything here].” I think the fact that we look at this as a racial issue is actually racist…the fact that a black woman is having issues with her body automatically makes it a RACE issue instead of a typical self-esteem issue, you know?

  40. I am Dark Skin I was told if I were lighter I would be prettier .I Love my Skin Tone Everyone was born unique in some way. Remember the world is a colorful place if we all were the same it would be boring. Do not hate, appreciate the fact you are you and they are them.

  41. ALIYAH- you are so right! I hate hearing, “she is pretty, for a dark skinned girl”. Or, “wow! he is handsome for a dark black guy”. These statements ARE RIDICULOUS!! And this idiocy comes from people of color as well as white folks. Of course it stings worse coming from a black persons lips! Next on my list would be hearing, “i dont want anyone darker than me”! What the hail?? What is even more sad, is that the ones I hear say this are quite dark. So to me, Im thinking “you are pretty dark, is there someone darker”? By no means was that said negatively, however, it is the truth. Which goes back to my original stance that, “shade of brown is in the eye of the beholder”. Being of light tone, I dont see how someone quite dark can tell if someone else is darker- from their point of view, I guess they can tell. I have always had equal love for EVERY shade of brown!! From barely brown to deliciously ~beautifully deep brown!!!

  42. Hello All,
    I am a dark-skinned black sister with dreadlocks. And, to be quite honest, I love being “blue-black” (smile) because it, to me, means purity and depth in my African roots. My brown-skinned Afro-Caribbean mother always raised me to believe that darker skin was superior and raised me to be natural. Hell, I am 23 and have NEVER worn a weave or embraced any form of Eurocentricity.
    Overall, I prefer darker-skinned men and want dark-skinned babies in the future. But, oddly enough, I ALWAYS get hit on by White men. This, to me is because Black men have a VERY Euro-Centric perspective on beauty and ALWAYS prefer the lighter skinned sister over a dark-skinned sister; even in some cases where the light-skinned sister is visibly less attractive. In addition, even though I am “naturally dreadlocked”, a White man will tell me that I am beautiful first; even though he is not my first choice in who I want to be my KING.
    On the flip side, I feel that light skinned sisters have it easier than light skinned brothers. In today’s society, the dark-skinned black man is seen as “smooth chocolate” and is preferred by most sisters. I am guilty of this as well; as I described before.
    Lastly, I do have some resentment towards lighter-skinned women because to me, they believe that they are superior to their caramel, chocolate, and/or blue-black sister counterparts; which gets on my damn nerves. Hell, on this particular show, there was a lady named Tamara who hated dark-skinned women even though she was caramel and had a NATURAL HAIRCUT; making her a hypocrite all around. And, as a child, lighter-skinned sister were very mean to me; forcing me not to trust them even in friendship. At the end of the day, I know I have some healing to do; which I acknowledge and truly wish that colorism was not so important in our community.


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