Color Struck: The Politics of Shade in The Black Community

The issue of colorism in the Black community is once again raised. This time, it is by the upcoming documentary “Dark Girls” by Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry. This film deals with how dark-skinned women are at times less valued then lighter complected women, and how that can play itself out in various forms. Be it the latest music video, or what is considered beautiful, these sort of appraisals can shatter the self-esteem of those deemed “less than.” Though it is a difficult conversation to have, I look forward to seeing this documentary and how these intra-racial divisions will be addressed.

However, I do have something to add to this conversation. There is a tendency that I have noticed, that when dealing with issues of colorism, you would think that this issue does not affect Black men. While I can tell you from first hand experience that it does, I definitely understand why some Black men choose not to engage the topic.

For those of us who were and still are to some extent impacted by colorism, it represents something you are just supposed to “go through” as a child and “get over it.” Not exactly in a rush to violate the high ideals of being emotionally impervious, some Black men prefer to not talk about the ways in which they have been judged and mis-judged for being “the wrong shade”  In fact, I read an interesting post about it this weekend. On filmmaker Olu Gittens blog she also talks about the upcoming documentary, and makes great points about what is often overlooked.

Instead of looking “bitter” this is one issue that we tend to clam up on. Self included, honestly. I won’t re-tell to you some of the spiteful things that have been said to me as a dark-skinned fellow, because I don’t want to empower those mis-educated voices. I did have issues with self-perception due to my complexion, but thankfully I shed them as I got older. I have cut everybody loose who made me feel less than for the simple reason of what shade I am. That’s how I dealt with it.  But I can tell you that it was no cake-walk being my hue back in the day.

When you are regarded as more “dangerous” and menacing because of your skin shade, that ain’t a good feeling. It makes you at times go overboard to put people at ease around you. If you have ever had someone tell you that you don’t seem “approachable” well, thats something that can stick with you for more than a lil bit.

There is another reason why this is not a topic of comfort. We do it to one another. Yes, colorism comes from slavery, but much like the preview video to Dark Girls says, we keep it going. This is one issue that remains exclusively at our feet. We can write all the books and make all the films we want, but if we do not stop this grade by shade nonsense, it will be pointless. I would encourage us to drop this “Our Kind of People” way of thinking, but it has to reach far beyond just those of us who are aware of these things. It would take a complete change in values of the Black community to uproot this notion. Only then would our darker brothers and sisters begin to feel comfortable in their own skin, literally.

What do you think? Sound off in this latest poll, and the comments section as well.

Marc W. Polite

The Heavy Hued Harlemite

Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.


  1. Marc, you just had to but I am sure glad you did. My heart broke over these women’s stories. I, being of a lighter hue, do not share their experience BUT when a dark-skinned classmate tells you that you “would have been a house nigga and raped by Massa.” ..well, that doesn’t go over too well either. If it wasn’t my skin it was my big lips or my big butt. The teasing took other forms. Personally, I lived in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood all my life so I wasn’t really exposed to the “black on black crime” so much. I did hear other darker skinned girls getting bullied a lot. My JHS best friend was Gabourey Sidibe, everyone now knows her as “Precious,” but to me she will forever be Gabby. She got teased so bad and I was right at her side during the full brunt of it. I am happy that her story has a happy ending but during that somewhat endless torture my heart was broken for her. The main culprits were the black boys. “Black on black crime”

    It’s an ongoing cycle, the stereotypes are taught to our children especially now since teenagers are having babies more than adults. Ignorance breeds more ignorance. Do I see it ending? I don’t but now more than ever I see a movement for black women to love their skin and love themselves. We even have dolls in our image with our kinky hair. This makes me happy. Baby steps.

  2. Wow, Aisha. Thanks for sharing your experiences with me. I thought about not writing this post, but then I went ahead and said.. “why not?” There is no reason for me to be “quiet” on this issue. Me doing so will only contribute to the problem.

    I for one am glad to see more Black women and men comfortable with who they are. It’s a marked difference from when I was growing up. Its going to happen, little by little.

  3. I also “cut them loose” Marc, no differently than I cut racist
    people of any other ethnicity out of my life-no matter how “nice” or close to me they were. I just have no time for that level of slavishness. I am always criticised for not abiding by that sentiment too. As if I have an obligation to take crap, as long as the crap is from Black people. I encourage all of the young open-minded Black women I meet to travel so that they see there are more options in the world than simply the ones that Americans if any color have to offer them.

  4. I hear you Stephanie. Sometimes it takes more effort to fight that kind of ignorance, and its just more efficient to just dismiss it.

  5. I watched the video and couldn’t help but feel the pain that those woman felt because I lived through many similar experiences. As a child I was often tease by many of my peers and neighbors because I was “too light”. I was often asked (and still am) if my father was white. I was made to feel unaccepted by my community and family for years. My own mother called me her “whiteboy” for years until I finally asked her to stop when I was in high school.

    Attending a predominately white man HS didn’t help either. There the darker, “blacker” brothers looked down and those that were lighter and resembled the “majority”. Often times questioning my very credibility in being black.

    Even now I am constantly judged unjustly by members of our due to the simple hue of my skin. In many was my “Blackness” and manhood are often questioned because of people’s perceptions that I think I’m better or they think I’m better than them simply because of my complexion. Some people even see my marriage to a dark skinned woman as my only validation that I a black.

    This whole issues is demeaning to black people and our society as a whole no matter which part of the color wheel that you are on.

  6. Thanks for igniting the conversation, Marc.

    The two saddest parts of the trailer: when the little girl thinks that “dumb” and “ugly” = “because she’s black”, and when the brother says that a dark-skinned woman just doesn’t look right standing next to him.

    Why do we STILL do this to ourselves?

    We can point to the majority society and say, well they may Beyonce a lighter shade in L’Oreal advertisements so it’s “the White man” trying to keep us down. Yes, that happened and it’s real, but do we have to agree that a lighter woman means she’s more attractive? Do we have to perpetuate “white is right, if you’re black then get back”? Must we, in 2011, still believe that shit and teach it to our kids?

    I contend that so-called “slavery mentality” is at play in this thinking: the light-skinned woman is likely a mulatto child of massa, she can stay inside, she can pass, she has all the privilege; the dark-skinned man is in the fields, getting darker and stronger, he’s the untamed “savage”. Sociologically, we are very far from that life. The races intermingle, the president is a Black-identifying biracial man with a Black wife. Middle Eastern and Latino immigration has led to what people call “The Browning of America”. There are plenty of dark people on top, so why are we still niggling each other about our skin color?

    As a light-skinned woman I got teased the other way. I wasn’t dark enough to be “really” Black, I looked like I was half-white (my grandmother actually was), my legs looked like fish bottoms because they’re so pale. On the flip side, one of my cousins, whose beauty I am continually in awe of, routinely gets told that she’s pretty “for a dark skinned girl.” At this point, thankfully, color is a non-issue for us, mostly because our parents taught us that we were smart, and my family is every shade of the rainbow – we learned that Black was beautiful, no matter what skin color it came in, and that haters on all sides were just jealous of us because we were so fly.

    Our self-esteem lessons should come at home, in spite of what happens in the world. More of us need to take responsibility for our own perceptions, stop thanking God for light-skinned babies and stop talking about “good hair” meaning the non-kinky kind. Meanwhile, non-Black men are dating sisters of all shades and are happy to do so. Makes you wonder.

  7. It really is demeaning, and it cuts both ways, as your experience shows. The idea of who is “really Black” does need to be ditched. We keep doing this to each other, not realizing what we are doing. Its unfortunate.

    I also wanted to say something about the poll I put up. 100 percent of my respondees agreed that colorism in the Black community is a result of enduring racism. While I understand the underlying reasons for this, but doesn’t that sort of let us off the hook collectively for the ways in which some of us promote this kind of thinking with no outside help? I don’t exactly see folks outside our community saying “She look better red”

    Not attacking anyone, but I am just saying this is good food for thought.
    Keep the comments coming folks!

  8. Good afternoon Deltra. Thanks for participating in this conversation. It is so sad that not only is unattractiveness associated with dark skin, but also less intelligence. Self-hate is deep. I wish we would stop saying, “God don’t like ugly” because too many of us take that to mean lighter skinned folks are more “highly favored”

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. It wont be easy to rid ourselves of colorism. Some of us continue to pass it down, and keep this way of thought alive.

  9. I would say that the notion of real blackness os not just a question of color. I also dealt with that because I was labeled “middle class,” teased because I didn’t “talk Black” because I listened to music that, heaven forbid, was sung by some people that weren’t actually Black. Being a dark-skinned woman, I also deay with demeaning treatment from Black people. Having experienced both of those treatments, I would say that niether is pleasant, but I would definitely rather deal with the aspect of being deamed inauthentic or unfairly priviledged than to deal with the aspect of being simply deemed worthless. The two experiences are not at all the same, and theyDO

  10. sorry, it was cut off.

    I was saying that the two experiences don’t have the same impact on a person’s life. I can’t say that I have never benefitted from being dark, EVER. I have, at times benefitted from being middle-class though, not nearly as much as I believe I would have if I were a light-skinned woman though. I just don’t think that people should be able to compare the experience of being deemed inauthentic or unfairly privileged bc of light skin with being deemed racially inferior due to dark skin. The two are NOT equally distructive, and they do not have the same meaning or impact on one’se life within our culture. Does being light-skinned stop one from getting a job? Does it stop you from being valued by family members? Does it heavily affect your chances for finding an acceptable mate and a family in a negative way? I would say NO, it does not, but being dark can influence all of those things, particularly if you are a woman. So yes it does cut both ways, but it does NOT cut as deep both ways, in the least. Do white people suffer slightly from being considered inauthentic and unfairly privileged? On some level yes, but does it affect them as much as it does to be deemed Black and inferior, definitely NOT. The negativity of being dark should not be compared to the few disadvantages of being lightskinned in a world that favors them.

  11. Good morning Stephanie and thank you for your commentary. Our community does indeed struggle with the idea of Black authenticity and the so-called outward markers of it. Classism and the idea of not being considered “real” for not wallowing in stereotypes is a major issue. But its not the same as being considered less than just because of skin color.

  12. Hey there, Marc!

    I grew up with a very fair-skinned mother who has never been overtly recognized as a member of the “black” race. People have always thought my mother was Puerto-Rican or Italian. Her eyes are a blazing green, just as Paul Newman’s were a blazing blue. Her hair is reddish-brown and she was born a blonde. She peels and sunbuns in the summer time. She has very thin, small lips (which I unfortunately inherited) and she has a slender nose. Needless to say, my mother always had a problem with other black women when she was growing up and/or throughout her life.

    Many darker skinned black women always felt that she had it “easier” than they did and that whites treated her “better” than her darker-skinned black counterparts. Perhaps that is true; I am not a light-skinned black person so I cannot relate to that topic, that was merely my mother’s experience and she has shared many things with me over the years.

    Moving on, my mother never taught me to emulate white standards of beauty. I always thought my mother was a beautiful woman, but I never tried to emulate her, as such, I also found darker black women of brown and blacker shades and hues equally, if not more beautiful than my mother. Cicely Tyson. Diahann Carol. Gladys Knight. Diana Ross. Natalie Cole, Tina Turner. I rarely looked at other “red-boned” light-skinned black women and thought “Wow! She’s pretty!” I realized why years later.

    Anyway, my mother bought my sisters and me black Barbies and baby dolls while growing up. She used to pick out our long Afros, braid our hair every 2 weeks, absorb us in black culture and history (books), and she always instilled in me to have pride in my blackness.

    Off topic for a minute, what angers me is that many times we blacks have issues with one another over who is “lightest” or “darkest” but yet we emulate white people. Do we get angry with THEM??? We conk. We bleach. We find cosmetic ways to “slim” our noses and tuck our ‘large’ lips in when we speak. We are constantly worried about smoothing down the edges of our hairlines & napes with hair gels to disguise [naps!] kinks. We help to support surely a billionaire-dollar a year HAIR industry by purchasing countless weaves [sold by 8 year old girls in 3rd World countries forced to shave & sell their hair so their poor families can eat a bowl of rice!]. But…yet…we emulate whites and show THEM love…and…yet…we show EACH OTHER anger & hostility WHILE trying to EMULATE WHITES!!!! Stop the madness, I think to myself quite often.

    Back to my mom, I won’t lie: when I was growing up, especially as a militant teenager of 14 first deeply discovering people like Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party, I went through a confusing phase where I resented my mother. I didn’t know until well into my 30s that my mom knew I’d resented her “lightness” all those years. See, I wanted a “black mother” I could “relate” to; a mirror image of MYSELF, if you will. Then I realized, my mother gave me LIFE. She shed her blood for me. She raised me. She loves me unconditionally. And when I die, if I go before her, no dark-skinned or brown-skinned woman will EVER POSSIBLY stand over my grave and weep like she will. Don’t mean to sound morbid, just keeping it real. A black woman birthed me, red-boned & green-eyed & red-haired as she may be, she’s still a black woman and THINKS like one!

    As for slavery, sure, I’m pretty sure many people assume that the lighter skinned slaves had it easier, but how cruel to imply that light skinned black people in those days were treated as 1st class citizens! Light-skinned, or yaller gals, as they called them, weren’t raped? Forced into prostitution. Whipped by the master or his wife? Forced to lie down and spread their legs and pop out baby after baby of massa’s?? Eyed on the slave block and stripped of their clothes to have their buttocks and breasts pinched and their vaginas opened with leering fingers and hands. Again, keeping it real. Who gave light skinned blacks a “FREE FROM BEING A NIGGA PASS?” NOBODY, that’s who!

    Furthermore, white men are NOTORIOUS for LOVING & PREFERRING brown & dark-skinned black women. If a white man wants long blonde hair, blue eyes and fair skin, he doesn’t need to date a light skinned black woman, why, he can easily get the “real deal” with one of his own, nah, the white man, when he comes looking for brown sugar, ALWAYS comes to the brown-skinned girls [like me] and much darker. Additionally, as far as who was treated “better” back in the days of slavery, hey, the white man was in EVERYBODY’s bed. Light, brown, dark, black-skinned. Male. Female. Child. Yes. We were ALL violated by homosexuality and pedophilia and degradation.

    Honestly, my biggest “issue” surprisingly in my life dealing with other black women has been….LIGHT-SKINNED black women. They have never liked me. I have an identical twin sister and light-skinned girls in high school and throughout have always despised us on sight. Why? I’m not being vain. Beauty is superficial and temporary; but my twin sister and I have always had a “pretty face.” We were called the “Black Barbie Twins” growing up. “We” weren’t supposed to get more attention than lighter-skinned girls, you see. “We” didn’t have “funny colored” eyes and “good hair” or “long hair.” We were brown-skinned. And we were beautiful. Sorry, lol, I must toot my own horn. I use to ask my mother why this was and she had the answer for me. She said, “Christy, don’t ever believe that light-skinned women like me don’t have jealousies. Don’t fall into the myths. Many light-skinned black women want to look like Chaka Khan or darker. And many light-skinned women are so use to getting all the attention and being told they are special or the most beautiful, that they become resentful when black women darker than them are considered more beautiful and/or get more attention from men, be it black men or white men and all others.”

    I work in corporate America. I see many black men and women (VP’s, Executives, etc.) at the TOP who are NOT LIGHT-SKINNED. I worked in a hospital and witnessed dark skinned female and male doctors sporting locks, twists and small afros become promoted as Deans, Medical Directors, etc. I’ve seen light-skinned blacks with “good” hair pushing a broom or mop.

    I don’t know if I’m trying to make a particular point. I am just saying that from my overall experiences, I’ve seen a little bit of it all from every perspective, because I’m not someone you can put in a “light” or “dark” category. Other words, people can never say about me, “She thinks she’s cute [a white girl wanna be] cause she’s so light!” or “Look at her ink spot [black] azz!” I’m in a neutral category.

    When I pick out my Afro, I am a “white boy magnet,” so to speak. White men have even asked me, “Are you mixed with Spanish because your lips are not big?” Or, they set up a black male buddy of theirs to “ask me out” instead of approaching me themselves. This is not flattering. It’s INSULTING. If I were white, wouldn’t a white man approach me, ask me to dinner or lunch or try to have a normal conversation with me. Nah, I’m no one’s “back alley” or “back door” piece of tail, excuse my french. When the sun sets, I don’t have no brown sugar for the other side of town to dabble in. Nah. Naw!

    Moreover, I have never dated outside my race. I am comfortable with black men. I also don’t feel the need to have a child or more children with a light-skinned man. My 17 year old son is dark-skinned. Didn’t plan that way. Why? Cause I didn’t THINK that way. 10 fingers. 10 toes. A healthy heart and lungs. He’s beautiful. What else matters. Though I do take pride in saying and thinking, “Damn my son is a handsome young black man!”

    Finally, I refuse to alter my kinky hair. I refuse to alter my complexion with bleach creams. I refuse to date outside my race so that I can have a “pretty baby” who’ll have it “easy” in life. I am proud of my race. I am proud of my heritage. I am proud to be black.

    You can be light-skinned. Have a PhD. Live in a mansion. Have 6 Bentleys. Etc, Etc. Etc. But…at the end of the day, a light skinned black person is going to be treated just as bad if not worse than a dark skinned black person when he or she “screws up” and “Society” then, quite typically, turns against them. “White” is going to always show up at the end of the day when “black” messes up, in my opinion. History speaks for itself.

    “What do you call a black man with a PhD?” Malcolm X asked.
    Answer: “Nigger.”

    Be that light-skinned, dark-skinned, brown-skinned.

    I don’t claim to have all the answers. I just know what works for me and/or what rational thought processes I have utilized and cultivated over the years to enhance my own pride and dignity.

    I will admit that in school, I recall the darkest kids getting teased. It was wrong. It damages self-esteem. We are taught this self-hatred and ignorance at home, usually from older people in the family. We must disconnect ourselves from the ignorance taught to us from past generations. We must forgive them, but move on. The most they could hope to become were (and I mean no disrespect, as both my grandmothers worked as Domestics) janitors, maids, cooks, butlers, etc. They were brainwashed. They were taught to hate their blackness. They were taught to love all and anything light or white [skin] or straight or silky [hair].

    I’m not denying at all that dark-skinned blacks don’t deal with esteem issues because of the self-hate the black communities inflict upon them, however, I also feel that the black community is cruel to light-skinned blacks as well. It’s as if both these “groups” of folks are constantly attacked, scrutinized and picked apart due to ancient ways of thinking from an old, old, old, wicked white man’s world.

    We need to wake up!!!

    The question is: can you free YOURSELF? I did. I no longer resent my mother. I no longer feel that “dark” skin makes someone “black.” I no longer feel that “light” skin makes someone “not black.” Truth is, we’re all in this struggle together.

    How many light-skinned black males are locked up in the white man’s prisons? How many light-skinned black males are lying in the cemetary? Homeless? On Welfare? Jobless? Depressed? Suicidal? Ill with cancer?

    How many dark-skinned black males are lawyers or doctors? Living in mansions? Mentally stable? Physically healthy?

    I don’t know. Maybe someone would care enough to do the statistics. I only know this: at the end of the day…we are hardest on…each other. The damage the white man has done to our minds is minor compared to the massively major damage we continue to do to one another.

    ~Just my random thoughts.

    ~~Thanks for the post Marc! I really felt this one. Tried to stay relevant, lol. Peace Y’all

  13. p.s. Case in point: Colin Powell……………what did that light skin really get him? An excellent retirment package? Sure. Didn’t get him the presidency, which is was his desire. Then look at Condoleeza Rice….she’s black….dark-skinned…female. What did that dark skin get her? An excellent retirment package? Sure. I’ve learned, a “house nigger” can be anybody: light-skinned, dark-skinned, a secretary, a VP, a janitor, a bus driver, a lawyer. Hey, just keeping it real. Thanks!

  14. I have also experienced nastiness from several light-skinned women when getting attention from Black men. They act shocked that they would consider a dark-skinned woman beautiful. Sadly enough, I have experienced the same reactions from white women too, because they are trained to believe that they are supposed to be the favored ones by ALL men of ALL colors. When I lived abroad, I dated an English guy and my Scottish friend was so nasty and seemingly hurt by the fact that he was attracted to me that she began to verbalize the most offensively things, so I broke off the friendship quickly. I have had horrible experiences with whiter or white women and their insecure reactions to men being attracted to me.

  15. Stephanie, hi. I really related to what you said. White women understand all too well that white men desire us. White women find us to be physically beautiful and many are envious of us and try to emulate us, HAVE been emulating us for hundreds of years matter of fact, but the majority will never verbally admit to this; however, it’s not what a person says a lot of times, it’s what a person does.

    For example, turn on the tv, sis. Look through white girl magazines. Look at billboards on highways. Observe. Don’t glance, I mean really, really absorb all the commercialism around you in Western society. Tanning lotions. Tanning sprays. Tanning PILLS, yes! Tanning beds (dangerous!). Plastic surgeon ads to enhance white women’s buttocks and lips with lip injections and butt implants (ouch!). Underwear sold on tv called “Booty Pops” that white women wear under their jeans or skirts to give the appearance of having a round “sista” butt. lol. Walk into fancy department stores or drugstores, again observe and do visual research. Check out all the lipsticks & lip glosses that guarantee or promise to “plump” up lips within 24-48 hrs of use for white women. White women have always envied our beauty, can you blame them? We are beautiful!

    I understand your friend hurt your feelings and you did the right thing by breaking off the negative friendship., but your friend certainly was not “shocked” that a white man found you desirable, baby, she was simply bitten by the green-eyed monster, she was JEALOUS. A jealous bitch, excuse my french. Typical. White women assume we’re jealous when they date black men but in actuality they cannot STAND for white men to pay attention to us or date us. It burns them up.

    I remember once I went to lunch with a very attractive white man, he was a sales rep and it was a part of my job to entertain clients at business luncheons. Well, nobody but me in the restaurant knew that this white man was actually gay, but we enjoyed a nice lunch at a high-price French restaurant and even enjoyed a toast of champagne. You should have seen the jaws drop in that joint! The white men barely glanced our way, but the white women (with their jewels and noses in the air) were so red-faced, it was hilarious!!! They kept darting hateful looks my way. I found it humorous, but interesting. It’s okay for them to date and pursue black men but if they perceive that white men are pursuing us, oh, THEN it’s different. uh-huh. Hypocrites!

    We have always been competition for white women and we’ve never realized this. I’ve studied black sociology/history since I was 14 years old, both formally and through mentors and self-education on the side. I am now 42. Add life experience to the mix and the point is, I have learned a great deal through my life education on the topic of relationships & mentalities that exist between black & white peoples.

    Lol, I can recall a white woman saying to me on a former job years ago, “What is it about black women? My boyfriend says that black women are soooo hot and have something that no other women have!” She was smiling and not a bit hateful about it. I remember a group of us women were all sitting in the lunch room on our breaks and I was the only black woman there. All the other white women kept their heads down and continued to eat their lunch rather hurriedly all of a sudden, their faces flushed red with…? (anger, jealousy, envy, agitation—take your pick). Point is, this young lady continued to go on and on, she was really being nonchalant and non-emotional about it and I could tell her remarks were annoying the HELL out of the other white females there. She said, “You all [black women] are built so perfectly! You have the perfect lips, skin, hips and butt that all women want to have. You can do ANY thing with your hair! All my boyfriend’s white [male] friends say black women are so beautiful! I want what black girls!”

    Needless to say, the militant deep inside me on the professional job, of course, kept it short and sweet. I wiped my mouth with my napkin, stood up, threw out my finished lunch and said, “Soul, baby….SOUL. And you can’t buy it. But thanks. We just got it like that.” I winked at her. She laughed. I smiled and walked away. She wasn’t offended. The other women were. They rolled their eyes at me and never uttered a single word throughout the entire dialogue, as I made a point to carefully observe their body language and facial expressions throughout.

    If I have a point, it’s this: we need to realize that the white man is making BIG MONEY off black beauty. Consider the annual MILLIONS of dollars spent by whites in Europe and the U.S. to buy what we were naturally born with. Is that white self-hate? Hmmm. Whatever the case, when are we going to learn to love ourselves? We hate what other people profit from, what kind of sense does that make, since we hate ourselves?

    Getting back to Marc’s point though, I do feel that dark-skinned women in film, television, and in black communities and society are made to feel debased and not as worthy or beautiful. The secretary on television shows is most always a mannish looking black woman who is 400 lbs. and acts like a mammy, always coddling and pacifying the white characters she’s hired to support. Why can’t she be a beautiful dark-skinned black woman who has a white secretary?? Of course, we can’t take Hollywood too seriously anyway since they tried to make us think a giant ape in Africa raped a white woman with blonde hair (King Kong) and later tore up New York City looking for her ass, lol.

    It’s a damn shame that some of us have let that white man play some wicked, dangerous, devastating games on our minds. Dark skin is beautiful. When I see dark-skinned black women, I admire their smooth complexions and unique beauty and I also note how men watch them. Yet, even magazines like Essence and Ebony are selling out & they claim to celebrate all black women. Check out their ads sometimes while flipping through the mags. I mean, I get so disgusted reading the hair relaxer pages. The model is always brown to light skinned and her “long silky hair [weave]” is flowing all over TWO glossy pages with captions that read: “SOFT, BONE STRAIGHT, SILKY & LUXURIOUS HAIR CAN BE YOURS.” And I get angry and think, “I paid HOW much for this shit? For 500 pages (exxageration) of relaxer ads and 3 shitty 2-page articles that actual are poorly written anyway by people who claim to have a college education??” Nah. I don’t even buy those mags anymore.

    I enjoyed this blog topic Marc, thanks again!!

  16. @Stephanie and Christy. Thank you to both of you for your honest, incisive, and poignant commentary. Both of you said a mouthful.

  17. Christy..I’ll be honest. Until we as a people unite and drop this skin color issue, we will NEVER achieve our full potential as a people. I feel we can accomplish SO much more if we put this issue aside.

    Webster..I’ve been where you have. Not just in school, but I have always felt some underlying resentment from some family as well.

  18. Wow, appreciate ALL comments, asante sana all. I’m almost 50, and it saddens me that, as a child of CRM parents, and growing up in the Black Power 60’s and 70’s, I still have to see this ish going on, even in my child’s elementary school, smdh!!!!!! You’ve all articulated various reasons well, so won’t repeat, but agree Marc, MUCH work needs to be done…

  19. .
    There is actually no such thing as a so-called “Light-Skinned
    Black” person … but rather … such individuals and groups
    are actually people who are of a ‘Multi-Generational
    Multiracially-Mixed’ (MGM-Mixed) Lineage that some may
    have been pressured or encouraged to ignore or downplay.
    People of Mixed-Race lineage should NOT feel pressured to
    ‘identify’ according to any standards other than one’s own.
    The legal -application of the racist-‘One-Drop Rule’
    (ODR) was banned in the U.S. way back in 1967.
    Listed below are related Links of ‘the facts’ of the histories
    of various Mixed-Race populations found within the U.S.:
    There is no proof that a ‘color-based slave hierarchy’
    (or that ‘color-based social-networks’) ever existed
    as common entities — within the continental U.S.
    It was the ‘Rule of Matriliny (ROM) — [a.k.a. ‘The Rule of Partus’
    (ROP)] — and NOT the racist-‘One-Drop Rule’ (ODR) — that was
    used to ‘create more enslaved people’ on the continental U.S.
    This is because the chattel-slavery system that was
    once found on the antebellum-era, continental U.S.
    was NOT “color-based” (i.e. “racial”) — but rather
    — it was actually “mother-based” (i.e. ‘matrilineal’).
    There were many ways (and not solely the sexual assault
    and sexual exploitation of the women-of-color) in which
    ‘white’ lineage entered the familial bloodlines of
    enslaved-people found on the continental U.S.
    An ‘Ethnic’ category is NOT the
    same thing as a “Race” category:
    Other Topics:

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