“You’re pretty for a dark skin girl..” “Your skin is so light, what are you mixed with?”
“Smile so I can see you.” “Be grateful that you’re light skinned.”
I came across a fairly dated article the other day, but still just as relevant today. Written by Allison Samuels, a college student at the time, on the origin of the light skin/dark skin battle. The link will be provided below for further reading.
How is it that we try so hard to unite against groups like the police force and illiterate Trump supporters, but yet tear down each other at the same time simply for the color of our skin? Sounds a little racist, right? Let’s go on.
“Internalized racism is loosely defined as the internalization by people of racist attitudes towards members of their own ethnic group, including themselves.”
It’s just a Wikipedia definition, but you get the point. As a light skinned woman, I’ve always been told to be happy that I have the skin that I do and that I need to use it to my advantage. In my eyes, I’m just another double minority, but in the black community to be light skinned is considered a blessing because your life in the real world has a chance of being easier. The sad thing is that it’s the truth. Light skin or even brown (caramel as I like to call them) skin people are often favored over those with a darker (my milk chocolate babies) complexion because they’re “beautiful”, “intelligent”, or “professional”. Like how do you get the level of knowledge from someone’s skin tone? How Sway?!
This is a white man made divide that is dated back to slave days that we continue to feed into. House negro vs. Field negro. Lighter skinned slaves were favored above others I’m assuming because they were the closest to the Caucasian complexion. “More appealing” on the eyes, if you will. They were served better food, given better living conditions, and were even taught basic literacy. While the darker skin slaves were put out to the fields to work arduous hours, given corn meal and lard for food, and slept in guarded outbuildings after the days work had been done.
As black people collectively, we can all agree that slavery was bullshit and the worst thing that has happened to our people…but yet, we mindlessly carry on what they instilled into our ancestors minds. I have friends of ALL shades and they’re all just as beautiful as me. I will never think of myself as more highly than the girl with the lovely brown skin next to me. The change starts with you and infects those around you. We need to stop waiting for the next man/woman to step up and just take the chance. How can we expect to fight everyone trying to ruin us when we’re doing the job ourselves?
The Ugly Roots of the Light Skin/Dark Skin Divide: