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For Light-Skinned Only?


This week, we have a submission from blogger and News & Notes contributor Jasmyne Cannick. She writes about the age-old complexion tensions in the black community.

Courtesy Jasmyne Cannick

The "Light Skin Libra Birthday Bash," which was to take place at Detroit's Club APT, was the brainchild of a self described "dark-skinned" African-American Detroit DJ and party promoter. The party was intended to let "light-skinned" black women into a downtown club for free. In his defense, Ulysses "DJ Lish" Barnes, said that he had plans for "Sexy Chocolate" and "Sexy Caramel" parties too. The good news is that the parties have been canceled after much criticism and calls for boycotts and lawsuits.

There are no words for some of the ignorant (insert four letter word that starts with an s, rhymes with hit), that we do to ourselves. But let me give it a try.

The short version.

History has shown that black people with lighter skin were treated better. In the days of slavery, the dark-skinned blacks worked in the fields while light-skinned blacks worked in the house, hence the terms "field Negroes" and "house Negroes." It got so bad, that not only did the slave owners, who were often responsible for the lighter shade of brown his slaves had, give lighter-skinned blacks more respect, but so did the dark-skinned blacks.

This evolved into generations of blacks both consciously and subconsciously teaching themselves that one is better than the other which eventually led to a billion dollar fake hair industry.

This was best illustrated in Spike Lee's 1988 film "School Daze" in the scene played out in a beauty parlor between the "jiggaboos," otherwise known as the darker-skinned blacks with nappy hair, and the "wannabe's," the lighter-skinned blacks with straight often times weaved hair.

But who could forget the film version of Alice Walker's novel "The Color Purple," in which Mister asked for Nettie who was "chocolate" colored with long hair but was given Celie, who was dark-skinned with nappy and short coarse hair instead. This was followed by a grown up Celie dealing with the harsh realities of beauty and Mista's in-house mistress, Shug Avery.

Then you had black sororities and fraternities who used the "brown paper bag test" to deny entrance to anyone darker than the bag.

There continues to be black children who prefer to play with dolls that are white with blond hair and blue eyes. Some black children actually identify with these dolls over dolls of their own race, which could explain the 2003 case between two Georgia Applebee's restaurant employees.

At the time, Dwight Burch, a dark-skinned waiter, was an Applebee's restaurant employee. He filed a lawsuit against Applebee's and his light-skinned African-American manager alleging that during his employment, the manager repeatedly referred to him as a "black monkey" and a "tar baby" and told Burch to bleach his skin. Burch claimed he was fired after he refused to do so. His case settled for $40,000.

But what about decades of rap music videos where the preferred "ho" is a lighter shade of brown? And the fact that only recently we're seeing advertisements that highlight black women who chose to wear their hair in its natural state and are dark-skinned, even in our own magazines.

Remember actress Jennifer Beals' famous, "I thought I would never get in. I thought they only took geniuses. But I was lucky, because I'm a minority. I'm not Black, and I'm not White, so I could mark 'other' on my application, and I guess it's hard for them to fill that quota," quote on how she got into Yale University.

Beals, whose father was black, seldom identifies with the black community despite being nominated for an NAACP Image Award. And then there was singer Prince, who despite having black parents, listed in his press bio at one time that he was Italian, among other things, when he made it in the business.

More recently there was the University of Georgia's 2006 controversial study on skin tone which confirmed that light-skinned blacks are often more likely to be considered for jobs over dark-skinned blacks.

Wrap it all together and what you get a classic example of Dr. Joy DeGruy-Leary's P.T.S.S., otherwise known as post-traumatic slave syndrome.

You know, I can't think of one time that I witnessed or heard of white children taunting each other for being paler than the next, but I can think of numerous occasions where I have seen black children teasing each other for being "too black."

And while our lighter skin shades can be attributed to the Massuh's preference for his female black slaves over his own wife, we can't blame the Massuh for us continuing to feed into the hype that light is good and dark is bad.

Over the weekend, I attended Los Angeles' Taste of Soul Festival. I observed for quite some time the activity at a booth selling hair extensions. Black women, young and old, light and dark, crowded the booth to touch and feel the long straight flowing hair extensions that were guaranteed not to shed to "nap up." This while nearby booths, offering free diabetes, obesity, and HIV/AIDS tests went virtually unnoticed. Go figure.

While the party in Detroit is sad, it's the manifestation of generations of blacks still buying into the slave "house Negro" and "field Negro" mentality given to us by the Massuh. Don't you think there are enough forces out there trying to divide us without us giving them a helping hand?

You know, it's funny I never heard of lighter prison sentences for lighter blacks. Black is black no matter how light or how dark your skin is.

And on a side note, I find it completely baffling that while some of us (Lil' Kim) are out there trying to lengthen, lighten, and straighten our hair, bleach our skin, and even resort to plastic surgery to change our nose, on the flipside they're busy with botox, breast and butt implants, and tanning salons. — Jasmyne Cannick



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Are black folk really all the same? I think part of the problem is we are trying to take a phenomenon and explain it while viewing it through an old, outdated lens. On the one hand it can be argued that we are acting out on the relics of slavery when we draw conclusions about each other regarding our skin tone. However, the very fact that Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan are generally considered by Americans to be the same ethnicity is a holdover of slavery itself. It is a holdover of the old "one drop" rule. Tiger has a significant amount (half) of Southeast Asian "blood," if you will. That is not the same as Michael's two dark skinned parents who had no visible trace of anything other than West African ancestry. Yet they (Tiger and Michael) are supposed to be the same, racially. I agree they are similar, but they are not the same. I think we are oversimplifying something that is too dang on complicated. That oversimplification is just as much a product of slavery as the "light skinned/ dark skinned" dynamic itself.

What I am saying is as long as we accept the "one drop" rule slavery produced we will, more than likely, keep coming back to the color wars it has spawn. As our nation becomes more and more globalized we will see the incompatibility of this view with the rest of the world. Most people who emigrate here from Africa or the Caribbean do not see themselves as being the same as African Americans. They are bringing with them their own definition of culture and race. Based on the one drop rule we would all automatically be considered the same. Try telling that to the average Nigerian American. They reject that way of thinking. And just as foreign blacks reject that way of thinking we African Americans must reexamine previously imposed ways of defining ourselves.

At the end of the day no one should treat anyone better or worse based on their appearance. However, it happens everyday. Slimmer women are treated much better than heavier women on average. Taller men usually fare better than shorter ones. However, I believe, if we are going to get past the "dark skinned/ light skinned" issues of the African American community we need to revisit a concept that often puts people of starkly different ethnic backgrounds and appearances together and arbitrarily calls them the same.

Sent by TR | 8:40 PM | 10-16-2007

Colorism, the dreaded curse from the Hindu Caste system that has infected the whole earth. Due to Eugenics and the Scientific Fiction of Race, and the White "Superior" Race ideologies that still are always in the background of American Society (In North, Central and South America) it is a social reality we all have to contend with.

The sad part to me, is that because of how the dark people, the Black African, is looked at as inferior, people with obvious ancestry to Bantu, Khosia, Pygmy and Nubian peoples always wish to elevate and celebrate any trace of the "Superior" races blood.

It would be funny if it weren't so pathetic.

Sent by DJ Black Adam | 12:25 PM | 10-17-2007

The entire idea to promote a party event based on skin color was obviously Moronic; I would hope that the patrons of that club would no longer support his business. As for the skin color issue, that issue along with weight issues, age issues, sexuality preferences, culture issues, etc., will always be a part of the human landscape; it's up to us to approach these issues with common sense and a sense of humanity.

Sent by Toni | 8:07 PM | 10-17-2007

One word: Nigrescence. Google it and study the cycle.

Sent by Casey | 3:56 PM | 10-18-2007

Light skinned women are prettier according to black men because they prefer them overwhelmingly to dark women. This has been true for years

Sent by Truth | 1:42 PM | 10-23-2007

Remember black americans' response to Don Imus? It is going to take some time to over come 400 years of brain washing. But, to our credit, I think we are coming around. We need to keep talking about the issue and not pretend it doesn't exist. But let me tell you, God is no joke. I have a high yellow color struck friend. She had a child by a half white man because she didn't want no dark children. well her daughter is dark with a wide african nose! Thank god she got straight hair because she probably would have come up missing. But, because of that child her mother and OUTRAGEOUSLY color struck grandmother no longer make stupid comments about skin color. But I digress! All I'm saying is we as a people can be deprogrammed. And, if you look around, you can see that our people are finally wiping the sleep from their eyes.

Sent by loi wade | 1:00 PM | 10-26-2007

It is a shame that we are even having this discussion. I am a black woman with a light brown skin tone. I know how this effects us period. I still hate to hear that phrase, "You're too light to really be black" from other black people. Cause white people do not see me as too light to treat like a black person. Or worse yet-they hold their sun baked flesh next to mine and are surprised that I am a lot darker than Coppertone or a tanning bed will ever make them. It is time for us to put a stop to this practice! We are beautiful women who come in different shades of color. And I am glad to see that there was no support for a division among us.

Sent by D.L.White | 1:42 PM | 10-27-2007

Booooring! Lord who gives a crap about this anymore. The world has such real problems!!!!???As a mixed race "Black" who lives overseas, the only time I deal with this issue is among Americans; especially Black Americans. As long as you love who you are and you have people who love you for who you are, your self esteem comes from you. Love yourself unconditionally and if someone wants to hoochie themselves out, send them love and let them be the best hoochie they can be!

Sent by Thomas G. | 2:58 PM | 11-1-2007

This is ridiculous. As long as we as black folk continue to place a divide amongts ourselves we will be divided. Have you ever heard the phrase "black is black is black is black"? Well it is.

Sent by Tania | 5:19 PM | 11-1-2007

I'm a light skinned black women with gorgeous, stringy, straight, shiny, long black hair.And people always treat me different because of my light skin tone and long hair.Black women and White women even some Hispanics women that act like I'm a threat to them. I'm just a regular person trying to make it like everyone else.On my last job I was laid off because the HR person (a white women) was so jealous of me because I worked with all the VP'S and they just loved me.But the HR person was sleeping with the CEO and when they did a laid off she could lay off anyone she wanted too.I'm tired of people being jealous of me I can't changed my looks that just the way I was born. My whole family is light skinned with pretty hair.At school people always ask my daughter are you mixed because of your skin tone and hair .We get tired of people always asking us how did you get your hair so straight like an Asian women I get tired of saying from family genetics. Once people get to know me they realize I'm just a regular person like them then they get more comfortable with me and they see I don't think I'm better than anyone else.

Sent by A light skinned black women | 8:23 PM | 11-6-2007

Dear Light Skinned Black Woman:

At first, I chose not to comment on this forum because this is one of the topics in the black community that becomes draining after a while. But as I read your post, I couldn't help but wonder that instead of you showing a sense of humanity that there is more to you than the surface, you chose to perpetuate the stereotype.

Yes you wrote you don't think you're better than anyone else but when three quarters of your post described your looks especially your "gorgeous, long, pretty hair" among other adjectives, is it any wonder your HR and others might get exasperated with you?

Also, please realize that just one texture of hair isn't prettier than another - it's all about the health of the hair. But as you relate to others, I hope one day you could make people see beyond the surface and say like the India.Arie song, "I am not my hair."

By the way, I'm also light skinned; so it's all about love.

Sent by Moji | 10:19 AM | 11-7-2007

Read the Willie Lynch papers. ASAP.

Sent by Ms. Informed | 2:25 AM | 11-11-2007

"You know, I can't think of one time that I witnessed or heard of white children taunting each other for being paler than the next, but I can think of numerous occasions where I have seen black children teasing each other for being 'too black.'"

For the record, I'm a white woman who grew up in California and I got teased ALL the time because I couldn't tan to save my life, and I was certainly not the only pale person to get teased. My co-workers were teasing me just this summer about the fact that my legs could blind passing aircraft.

In any event, there is no excusing what the white slave owners did to encourage such divisions among their slaves. However, there is absolutely no reason why that mindset has to remain. A person should cherish *all* of their heritage, no matter the concentration of European ancestry to African ancestry to Asian ancestry to whatever else you have in your family tree.

Sent by Kristin A. | 3:28 AM | 11-18-2007


Sent by STORM GARNER | 3:40 PM | 11-20-2007

There is absolutely nothing left for me to say...TR stole my entire "argument" if you will on 10/16/07...All I can say is AMEN!!! I thought I was out here is comforting to see that I am not...:)

Sent by T.J. | 11:53 PM | 12-2-2007

What I'm sick and tired of, and tired and sick of, is members within our own african-american community wanting to just sweep this issue of "in-house racism" under the the closet! They are no better than the "closet racists" who want us to remain blind as so to be able to further dominate and exploit the black community. The only way for this issue, like white on black racism to be resolved is to bring it out in the open so that a level of tolerance can be elevated to hopefully someday eliminate the "field/house nigger" syndrome. Or do we just simply stick our heads in the sand like ostriches and emerse ourselves in meaningless sports and entertainment?

Sent by Melvin Patterson | 10:00 PM | 12-13-2007

it would be easier if light skin people and biracial people were not put in the black category this started in slavery because the slave master didn't want light skin and biracial black to be exempt from slaves so they put lightskin and biracial black in the black category.but you know very well that light skin seems different from black as if it was a different race.

Sent by tony | 6:26 PM | 12-15-2007

How can you say it would be easier for light skinned blacks not be put in the black category.

I'm a light skinned black women and I'm offended by those words we didn't ask slave masters to rape our ancestors why do dark skinned people hate on light skinned blacks.

That's wrong get over the skin issue now.

Sent by Light Skinned Black woman | 3:38 AM | 12-22-2007

I couldn't agree more with the person that reminded us that, "black is black is black is black". I hate to use this as an analogy, but if a bunch of blacks were in a room (from the lightest light to the darkest dark), and a white racist came in and said, "I'm shooting every black person in this room"--guess what? They'd all be shot.

Sent by Proud Black Brother! | 9:23 PM | 12-24-2007

Some of you have been so disturbing. I am not exactly what you would call light skinned, but I am just dark enough to be called dark skinned in the summer, depending on the observer. I thank God that I respect all people. I think that I was discriminated against more when I gained weight. It's not just a color thing! I was treated extremely well when I had a slimmer physique and summer-toned skin. By the way, I have heavy Native American ancestry to be a black woman. White people usually do not see the subtle color differences that many blacks do! What blacks call light-skinned is dark and black to whites, so some blacks need to stop looking stupid! Black is black!!!

Sent by Miss April | 3:59 AM | 1-28-2008

Colorism among Africans probably preceded slavery. Even in a racially and ethnically homogeneous area, the guy in charge is likely to spend less time out in the sun, and thereby be of lighter complexion. On another note, there is scientific evidence that other mammals exhibit sexual preferences for lighter females and darker males. Come to think of it, that is true of white folks as well. They go nuts over pale yellow-haired women, but most of their male icons are dark-haired and darker (or rather what passes for darker among whites) complexioned.

Sent by Hoopskidoodle | 1:54 PM | 2-2-2008

I am light skinned young man. And I just want to say that light skinned people do have some favor over dark skinned people in the cooperate world. But amongst our own race there is a lot jealousy and generalizations. A huge percentage of black women pre-judge me just because I am light skinned black man. They automatically assume I got a lot of girlfriens, or that I am playa, or worst of all, I can't be trusted. I think that very immature and judgemental. Some women are just so afraid to even give me a chance based on my skin color. Also I have notice dark skinned black women hating on a pretty light skinned women. Just because she has wavy hair and light skin, a lot of dark skinned women turn their nose up at them. And if a dark skinned sister is reading my comment and does not agree, she is probably the main one hating. The shit is all childish and stupid. Black people are the racist people on this planet. No other race hates on their own skin color.

Sent by Michael Rufus | 9:48 PM | 2-2-2008

'Light-skinned' as we traditionally know it is actually changing. My grandmother is considered a 'light-skinned' woman in the traditional sense, her skin is white, her eyes hazel, and growing up her hair was silken light brown. If she were a child today, most people would think she was white! In fact she had close relatives who passed quite successfully for white folk. I on the other hand have caramel brown skin and waist-length dark brown almost black wavy hair. Someone once called me light-skinned and I had to laugh.

Sent by Colleen | 5:47 PM | 2-19-2008

Light skin will always have it easy. Especially in Hollywood. When it comes to black beauty, what do see when you watch tv or go to the movies, Light skin black women. It's that one racial mentally that Hollywood will not contend to since during Jim Crow laws. Light skin is viewed as more appealing and more mainstream. Tyra Banks recently had show about the plight of the Black woman in America, and as long as the media continues to discriminate against Light vs. dark beauties is going to have a consistent adverse affect black female images as well as relationships as already has now. Black men don't even date dark skin sistahs anymore cause that's basically the trend now. They're either date light, bright and or white because that's what is portrayed in the media as acceptable. There's a big problem when I hear a young dark skin black girl say" I wish I wasnt so damn black" and for this DJ to come with up an idea so STUPID is why there is so much division within the black community now. We, black folk, have to be the beginning of that change.

Sent by On the real | 5:16 PM | 2-26-2008

I think it would be educational if many of our black people would do a DNA study to really find out who they really are. A swabbing of the mouth might tell a different story than skin color.

Sent by Rootman | 9:21 PM | 3-20-2008

Knowing this history as taught to me by darker-complected people, I vowed to relieve my darker brothers and sisters of the stigmas against them by educating all (White, Light or Other) that I met. Too bad no one told me to walk amongst the downtrodden with wavy hair and a lighter complexion made me a target for their hostilities. I have suffered (surely not alone!)for being lighter for many years, within my own family and in my own community: when children were chosen to speak at city-wide Kwanzaa celebrations, they skipped over me with my plethora of Afrocentric knowledge to drag in front of everyone some darker complected child who didn't even know who Maulana Karenga was.
Before you all keep dragging this 'lighter skin gets you in' stereotype around the internet, realize the impact it has on the psyche of those who are very impressionable. You perpetuate the falseness by reiterating it so often and it is no longer the rule of thumb- those who still act on it are lost and yelling it at them won't change their minds; those who need ammo for their oppression of lighter-complected people due to their own insecurities will continue to justify their actions.
Where are these jobs that are choosing lighter-skinned Blacks over darker-skinned Blacks? I have been ostracized at new jobs because of the way I looked BY BLACK WOMEN who decided that my enunciation, complexion and hair texture meant I must be a 'wannabe', before they even talked to me. Later they wondered why I wasn't falling over myself to befriend them when they reached out, realizing I was comfortable in my African-American skin and wasn't trying to be anything I wasn't.
Call it when you see it, but please stop crying wolf. Their are many times in history (pick up some memoires fo slave owners please) where whites decided that lighter-complected Blacks were an affront to their way of life and the conflict caused us to be a larger threat to the biological-political justifications of slavery. It meant the line got blurry for them knowing their own. This is the origin of the cautionary 'Tragic Mulatto' tales that end in death or insanity for the Mulatto that crosses the line.

Sent by M.J. | 4:19 PM | 3-22-2008

I don't see the light skin preference in corporate america. I have worked for many years and can definitely say that darker skinned blacks have executive positions over light skin. I personally feel that corporate america sees true blackness in darker skinned blacks. Of course, there are never many blacks hired in executive positions but this would be the subject of another discussion.

Sent by rafder | 10:59 AM | 4-14-2008

i'm not too sure that this really relates to this topic but here it goes. On my forum, I made a topic about the "N" word and is it used too freely by society these days. Well then we started getting into where the word came from, it's origin and the slavery days. A fellow member of this forum went on to post this.

Now for some facts: that word was used while white people would rape black women (which is how we got light skinned black people) hanging the the fathers and sometimes the kids as well, burning crosses in ones yard and so forth.

my issue with this statement is the fact that he is making it seem like the ONLY reason why there are light skinned black people is because white people raped black slaves. Not because a black male had a relationship with a white female or a white male had an honest relationship with a black female, but that they were raped.

please shed some light on this issue...

Sent by Brian W. | 10:26 AM | 4-20-2008

I'm black and light(yellow)skin.I had lived in Philadelphia for many years.In Philadelphia(7th poorest US city,blacks are the majority)many brown and dark skin black young adults prefer,date,and marry only brown and dark skin blacks.I lived in cities that weren't like this.My light(yellow)skin and brown skin black young adult cousins lived in some zipcodes in Philly that have many sex offenders and none of the black men 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.Is Detroit like this?

Sent by diane77 | 1:56 AM | 4-22-2008

this is an interesting topic. being from Ghana, i know very well about this issue. before i move to the states in my teens, i did not know what a light skin or dark skin person was. in Ghana i only knew of black. i was teased tremendously when i went to my first day of school in the states by light and so called dark skin people. i think black americans should refer to themselves as african americans. you should not say you are black. because if you guys are black then what are africans? we in africa are as proud of being black as whites are at being white. that one drop rule apply to us too. only blacks in america have these issues. there were slaves in in the Caribbeans, haiti, south america, and europe. yet only afican americans have these kind of issues. man, these rednecks must have really fucked you guys up mentally. i wonder how it feels to be to hate who you are?

Sent by student22 | 10:37 PM | 5-2-2008

this issue is crazy and discriminating. i mean why are we even hating in each other just because we got different skin tones? black people need to stop doing this to themselves because this is what the white man wants us to do is hate each and believe we should go for light over dark. we can't always point the finger at them because we bring this on ourselves and i hate that. and just because you light skinned doesn't mean you have pretty eyes or that good hair because even dark skinned women have some of the most beautiful and they know how to take care of it. we are all beautiful and shouldn't matter if you are light skinned or dark skinned because this hatred against one another needs to stop.

Sent by lil'vina | 10:57 PM | 5-2-2008

I am a light skinned sista. I too feel that light skinned people experience discrimination by other blacks, as well as whites. I don't think being light skinned with curly hair is better than being dark skinned. I am a very genuine, sweet, caring person who speaks to everyone I see, but a lot of times, some darker skinned sistas don't even speak back. They roll their eyes and turn their heads and ignore me. I think all shades of black are beautiful & we should be proud of ourselves for being black and beautiful, no matter if we have curly, straight, kinky, or no hair at all. There's so many different things we as blacks can do with our hair just because of the different texture of our hair that whites don't have, which makes us all unique & look so fly. I give compliments to other sistas all the time. I don't hate on nobody, because ain't nobody perfect. If we could all uplift one another instead of trying to bring each other down, life would be a lot easier. It don't matter if I'm light skinned, I just get tired of being treated so hatefully by my own kind. I was born light skinned, but black & want to enjoy being black.

Sent by 1love | 7:33 PM | 5-21-2008

These are all interesting comments. I have experienced colorism my entire life. Most of the men who have been attracted to me are considered light skinned and from them I received the most regard and acceptance. On several occasions I have been told, "You are really pretty to be dark" or brothers who are not considered light skinned at least by the sterotypical definition, have said, "you are soooooooo black as if to suggest my black skin was a disease or would rub off onto them. Or even sisters who would say, "good thing you have pretty hair and pretty face, otherwise guys wouldn't talk to you because of your dark skin". These comments were made to me during my youth and young adult life. They most certainly have contributed to my self-image. I dated a brother who was perhaps a shade lighter than me who often referred to me as "hershey" or "black as the night". To remind him that genetics play a role in skin tone, eyes, hair and other features, his first daughter was born baring the features of his rich hued father. His response,"she hasn't lightened up yet". I pray that she doesn't endure the colorism he has in his heart.

Sent by I Like Hershey Bars | 10:44 PM | 6-1-2008

I have been reading a lot of the comments and what disturbs be is that I am referred to as a "DARK SKINNED FEMALE". NOt black, not african-american, or as a woman but by my color. And i am getting sick and tired of hearing people say "oh you are o pretty for a black/dark girl"! what does that mean??? I often get offended but pass it on as ignorance. As a teenager I have grown to almost HATE my skin color. My grandmother is fair skin and my granfather is dark and people often wonder where I fit in. The whole light skin vs, dark is rediculous amd all part of ignorance and I blame the white people and the media for brain washing u to believe that staright/curly long hair hair & fair skin people define beauty because it dosen't!!! * ligh skinned peple dont have it equally as hard as darker people. Yes you are still black but 9/10 times its a light skinned person you see put on top. Examples, Halle Berry, Barack Obama, Beyonce, Diana Ross, mut I name more. No think if they were dark skinned...would they be as succesful as they are today? maybe so0....but it hurs to walk into a store and have to worry about whose following you this time and what worker is ging to supect you of stealing because of my skin color. it nver fails and i am living proof!

Sent by Kimberly- Black is Beauty | 9:48 PM | 6-10-2008

for the person that said light skin blacks came from slave rape of the the slave master and thats the only possible way it came about thats only the partial truth thats just emphasized to condemn light skin,and for lightskin not to have any white pride.light skin could of also came about between consentual sex between a black man and a white woman or a white man and a black woman.

Sent by joe | 4:50 PM | 6-24-2008

Really, this whole skin color issue is sooooo "American" (like apple pie and picnics). I'm an African American (and I won't define myself as light or dark, I am not a box of crayons. You don't have to put me in the wash so you don't have to separate and color code me)who is currently living in Europe. Let me tell you, from what I've seen of Europe so far they don't even understand the whole color issue. My fiancee is Eastern European and no matter how many times I try to explain the good hair, bad hair, light skin, dark skin thing he just and comprehend. Most Europeans can't, and with good reason. In Europe you are not defined by the color of your school. In fact, I have found more acceptance here than I have in my own country. But it's not our fault we still harbor hurt feelings and insecurites over these timeless issues. But there are larger issues out there, U.S. issues (war), world issues (hunger, poverty) and we really need to start paying attention to what's really important, NOW!

Sent by nickfish | 5:57 AM | 6-26-2008

I'm also a light skinned African-American woman who has experienced a great deal of negativity from darker skin Black women. Some darker skin Black women are quick to project their insecurities surrounding their dark complexion onto others.

Sent by Leila | 9:36 AM | 6-27-2008

" 'Light-skinned' as we traditionally know it is actually changing. My grandmother is considered a 'light-skinned' woman in the traditional sense, her skin is white, her eyes hazel, and growing up her hair was silken light brown. If she were a child today, most people would think she was white! In fact she had close relatives who passed quite successfully for white folk. I on the other hand have caramel brown skin and waist-length dark brown almost black wavy hair. Someone once called me light-skinned and I had to laugh. "

I agree with Colleen and student22 I also agree with you

" this is an interesting topic. being from Ghana, i know very well about this issue. before i move to the states in my teens, i did not know what a light skin or dark skin person was. in Ghana i only knew of black. i was teased tremendously when i went to my first day of school in the states by light and so called dark skin people. "

I live in Angola,West Africa but I was born in father is African and my mother a Russian Jew...where I am from there is very little of this...I am a caramel brown complexion and I have never got teased nor have I ever teased dark complemented best friends whom are dark brown or a chocolate brown have never got teased(we all live in Africa)..the first time that I have encountered this was when I came to the USA when I was younger..some people assumed simply because I am a lighter complexion that I am conceited but it's not true

Sent by Valeria | 1:32 PM | 7-9-2008

i am a dark skinned female and the fact of the matter is that light skinned women are seen as "better than" in this country. white women have been set as the standard of beauty in this country.there's evidence of this everywhere you look..magazine ads,movies,music videos,commercials,etc. black people have bought into this and feel like they are not up to par if they dont look as 'white" as see these women,with their phony hair,phony eyes,overly lightened skin,etc. going to the extremes trying to look white.they've been men are partially to blame for these women and their behavior.the avarage black man,studies show,prefers a light skinned woman with long hair and sharp european features, to a dark skinned sista with a wide nose and nappy hair. it's sad.classifying a woman as being more beautiful cause her skin is light is really sad.i'm really dark skinned(about fantasia's color)with a medium length afro, a wide nose,and thick lips....and im very beautiful.un fortunately,not every dark skinned woman has my confidence.i think our brothas need to start showing our sistas a little bit more attention.see her for who she really is and tell her she's beautiful,darker women,that is.instead of automatically putting lightskinned women up on a pedastal.we all are your minds up,brothas and explore other options(dark skinned women)that's all im saying.

Sent by fatima | 4:49 PM | 7-10-2008

Dark girls made my life a living hell, growing up. Being called albino, pippi, annie, etc. They want to blame all of their problems on slavery which is bullshit. Get over it. Right is Right and wrong is, well wrong.

Sent by SickOFDoubleStandards | 8:03 PM | 7-13-2008

I have done alot of research on light/dark skinned over the last couple of days. My grandmother is light, my grandpa is dark. They had 13 kids and the whole family are all different shades. We all love each other but you can feel the clicks within the family. I'm light skinned male and the older relatives that are light open up to me more than my cousins and brothers/sisters who are dark. Even my mom who is dark and clicks with the darker side kinda pushes me aside like I'm different they all say I got my grandma side in me. It's sad, hurts and I try not to clown or get mad at my beautiful darker family and friends but man you do get tired of turning the other cheek. Sometimes you want to just say bump it I'm going to start showing out. It's not worth it we all need to just love one another for who we are.

Sent by Mike | 2:38 PM | 7-15-2008

This was a very interesting post to reaever, the other side of the colorism coin is darker people disowning and being suspicious of those of the lighter shade. I have been guilty of the latter myself. However, I recognize that this anger is misplaced, and we need to redirect our anger and energy to our own warped thought patterns and get over this.
I think black men learned to carve out their own definitions of self-worth and attractiveness long ago and so have risen above the colorism lines. Just think, Wesley Snipes was just as famous and desirable as Denzel Washington. Darker skinned men, who were once the bottom of the barrel in the eyes of black women and society, have climbed to the top and have women proclaiming that they love and even prefer dark skinned men. Black men have risen beyond the "good hair" rules as well--making conks and S-curls options not requirements (well, actually, these processes are laughable to many). For the most part, black women and society have learned and are learning to accept black men in all their physical glory--skin tones, hair textures, and all.

Unfortunately, we black women are still defining ourselves or allowing ourselves to be defined by skin tones, hair texture, and hair length. Colorism issues aside, women in general, feel an immense amount of pressure to meet the beauty "standards." Is it any secret that most cosmetics are marketed to women and the very term "cosmetic" sounds feminine? We feel the need to meet the standards, and colorism is an added burden. We need to carve out our own standards and accept ourselves, the way black men did a long time ago. We need to define ourselves more by what we say, what we do, and what we know than by what we look like.

Without a doubt people will have preferences: tall over short, curvy over angular, etc. It would be nice to reach a point in life that when we hear about someone's preferences we don't wonder if it is connected to slavery-derived self-hatred.

Sent by liberated libra | 2:08 PM | 7-18-2008

I've had problems with my race since i was born. I'm light skinned any lighter & I'd be white. But if my hair were any wilder I'd be black. If my hips were a little wider I'd be puertorican. If my cheek bones were higher I'd be Indian. If my skin were more brown I'd be mexican. I've been teased by all races & it has been hard for me to fit in. I could never fit in with Puertoricans because I don't know spanish & I'm not 100%. I could never be white because when my hair gets wet it gets curly and wild.I could never be Mexican because I have Puertorican and African American in me. So I was forced to bond with other light skinned females. Well guess what? They didn't claim me either because I was TOO light. So now I love all of what I am because no one can tell me why I can't be what I choose to be.

Sent by ANKA Harmony | 9:10 AM | 7-31-2008

I am a brown (darker brown) black woman with high cheek bones, natural long hair and eyes slanted like I'm asian. A rare looking dark skinned woman. I have a pudgy AA nose and thick lips. I have experienced hatred from light skinned sista's with short hair and long hair because I am dark, cute, sexy and I have natural long hair. I too have been mistreated by my darker sista's with short hair who seem to think my hair is just so amazing. Or that I'm too cute and get too much attention from the men. I also experience a lot of hatred from white women. And I'm not getting this hatred because I'm's because I'm dark and lovely. Whites are used to seeing attractive light skinned AA women. But an attractive dark AA woman seems to be just too much for some black and white and hispanic and asian women to handle. And yes I experience hatred and negativity for hispanic and asian women too. Bottom line is people are often jealous of other's it doesn't always have to do with skin color or hair length....light women are not the only ones who get hated on. Like I said before most people expect light AA women to be cute. Beautiful brown and dark sistas have it the hardest because were noticeably black and noticeably beautiful. We experience hating and mistreatment too. So light sistas and darks sistas I feel your pain. We are both hated on.

Yes most AA men do prefer light women and consider them more valuable but look at the culture and society we live in. Ultimately falling into that just gives whites the upper hand because if light and fine hair is the standard of beauty then no one is lighter with finer hair than them which keeps them at the top. It's about them. Not about us....let's stop making it about us.

I've noticed that whites are nicer to light skin AA's to their face. But I've heard some conversations about them behind closed doors you wouldn't don't really have an advantage you're led to think that you me to them....if it's not white it's not right. Black is black.

Sent by Keia | 11:51 PM | 8-12-2008

I am a light skinned 33-year old woman. For my whole life, I was considered "stuck-up, a snob, think I'm better, talk white etc" and the torment has always been from darker skinned girls all through out school and work. Much of it is because I'm not a loud mouth black woman, talking in ebonics all day. And I attribute most of it to that, combined with being light skinned, thin and attractive. I agree with the posters who say that its black people who perpetuate the racism among us! White people don't care at all. Black is black to them, although I'm sure they do recognize the color difference. When I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, my first thought is NOT "I'm light skinned!" But it seems like those who hate on light skinned people for whatever reason, keep it going, and are the ones making a bigger deal about it. I am in corporate america and I DO agree that light skinned people do have an advantage. However, that is the ignorance of white people not us. Perhaps the lighter skin makes them feel like we are more like them. I don't know. But black people don't have an excuse. It's just self hating.

Sent by Carmina Jacobs | 6:46 PM | 8-24-2008

We must free our minds we are no longer on the plantation with chains on our wrist and ankles. But we have the chains of Slavery on our minds let get off that slave system and free our minds we have inportant work to do . For our children to have a equal chance to improve their lives

Sent by Catalina | 2:04 PM | 9-1-2008

I always hear about light skinned people act as if their better, that comes from dark skinned people. To me the darker skinned people are the ones with the problem. I have been pick on my whole life by dark skinned people. It seems like I am more accepted by caucasion people, dark skinned people hate to see my lighter than usual light skinned butt coming. I was once jump on for being too light.

Sent by Nakia Barber | 4:20 PM | 9-4-2008

I agree that it is usually darker skinned ones that perpetuate the problem out of their own insecurity. All of the light skinned people that I know who have been talked about rudely, are done so by dark skinned people. I of course don't have a problem with dark skinned people, but its true that it usually starts with women. I don't see teasing, ridiculing, bullying etc, by dark skinned men.

Sent by Carmina Jacobs | 11:14 AM | 9-6-2008