Growing up many people told me, “your pretty for a dark skin girl.” When I had more confidence in myself I began to respond, “Wait, so dark skin girls aren’t beautiful?” What made these discussions even more disturbing was the fact that a lot of these comments came from other African Americans.
Historically, African Americans have faced many color complexities because the lighter slave was treated better. The lighter slaves worked in the house, while the darker slaves worked the fields. American slavery has been over two hundred years ago, but the effects of it has forever divided the African American community.
It is sad that skin color remains a major factor in societies today. The issue of light and dark expands beyond the United States. People all over the world have discussed who is lighter or doctor culturally in one form or another.
Eric Benet recently released a song called, “ Red-bone Girl”. He faced harsh criticism accusing him of supporting the privilege and superior beauty of lighter people. Benet responded by pointing out that he wrote a song called “Chocolate Legs”, which talked about the dark skin woman.
In spite of his justification his defense was overruled.
Akiba Solomon, gender blogger for colorlines .com said it best when she explained the issue of light and dark skin:
“There’s a clear premium on light skin and on straight hair, whether it grows out of your head or not,” she said. “I’m not a big fan of songs that fetishize dark skin either. But you could argue that [the ‘dark-skin’ devoted songs] offer some sort of resistance to the prevailing beauty standards. He’s attempting to be provocative. He’s pretending that he’s never heard about light skin preferences. Let’s not pretend that it doesn’t exist.”
A lot of people feel there is a double standard. Dark beauty can always be publicly glorified but the lighter skinned are frowned upon. Oh the plight of the light skin woman and woe is the frustration of the darker woman.
When fighting an issue and standard that has transcended centuries, every part of the community must be united. Every woman of color should feel and know there worth from every part of the community.
This will not be a quick fix. It took hundreds of years to plant the seed and it will take many more to uproot it. Attached to this video is the link to Demystifying the Dark vs. Light skin Culture (a documentary about women of color. https://vimeo.com/24155797