Within the Black community, we have a tendency to dismiss trends as mere “jokes” or cast them to hills as hilarious memes or “social media entertainment”. Yet, when the laughter turns to outrage for being too light or too dark – the imaginary line that was drawn is immediately thrust to the forefront as “crossing a boundary”.
My entire life I’ve been praised as “being pretty for a dark skin girl”. I’ve heard the endless shrouds of racial slurs (from my own people) and I’ve even been rejected by men for not containing to their favorite type of complexion. Although it pains me to write this post, I continue to see tiny bits of segregation etched within my own culture. We applaud the notion of embracing our curly coifs, rocking afro puffs, going au naturale and even boycotting businesses not led by people of color; however, as a whole, we just can’t seem to get past the color of our skin.
Now, I admit, I’ve caught myself in so-called moments of teasing co-workers by calling them a slick nickname that doubles as a label for their melaninated hue. Of course, it’s all in fun but just because they smile, brush it off and keep moving that doesn’t mean that the insecurity isn’t there. What is the fascination behind our genetic makeups? Are we threatened by each other? Or, is this just a side effect of a practice that was birthed during slavery? Yeah, let’s not forget about those “forgotten” centuries.
Although cotton plantations are history, the mentality that lingers is the factor that hinders us from progressing in today’s society. We’ve created this unattainable standard of beauty and we simply cannot look past the physical! And, that’s the disturbing part.
Throughout elementary school, I was ridiculed for my deep ebony skin, my coarse hair and my full lips. I also endured names such as Spot, Blacky Chan and even Chocolate Thunder. Thankfully, my faith has allowed me to heal those internal scars but there are young women and men who refuse to live beyond the labels that others place upon them. This affects their confidence, it lingers within their subconscious psyche and it eats away at any self-love that could possibly flourish. So, my question to you is quite evident…
Why is this matter such a pressing issue within the Black community?
I’m sure people can argue the validity of “having preferences” and “liking what they like” but, in all seriousness, why tease about a such a minuscule aspect? Don’t we have better things to tend to?
What do you think? Let me know below!
Images: FashionBombDaily.com and TheColoredGirl.com. I do not own the rights to these photographs.
2 thoughts on “Tone Deaf: The Ongoing Fascination of Light Skin vs. Dark Skin in Black Culture”
This was beautiful. It definitely made me recall a lot of memories of being “in the middle” of the color spectrum, not light enough and not dark enough. On the other hand, I was always teased for being attracted to the darker guys in school, even now. I remember hearing them being called the same names that you were called but never thought about the psycological affect of it. I’m going to be even more conscious of how I speak to fellow POC now because my goal is to always spread the light and love. It really is sad that we are judged by something so miniscule in the grand scheme of things. Sending you virtual hugs!
On Jan 23, 2017 7:48 PM, “Esmesha Campbell // Musings of Fashion, Art and Culture” wrote:
> esmesha posted: “Within the Black community, we have a tendency to dismiss > trends as mere “jokes” or cast them to hills as hilarious memer or “social > media entertainment”. Yet, when the laughter turns to outrage for being too > light or too dark – the imaginary line that wa” >
Wow! Thank you so much for reading, Ashley! You have no idea how much your support means to me. I didn’t realize how much of an issue this was in our community until I randomly called my co-worker “light skin”.
In my mind, I was like, “Where did THAT come from?” But, after thinking about it a little more, I came to the conclusion that I was subconsciously conditioned to think such thoughts. It’s crazy once you sit down and analyze everything.