Will Dark Skinned Women Ever Be Loved?
Black is Beautiful, ALL Shades of Black.
You would think that this would be a no-brainer in these times of “wokeness,” but it seems that after all this time, many of us are still “color struck,” showing obvious favor to light-skinned people as opposed to those of us who are of a darker hue.
This hits close to home for me. As a Black man, I grew up in a community that constantly praised brothers and sisters that had “fair skin” and “good hair.” Eurocentric features were seen as a blessing, while features typically associated with Africa were seen as a curse or, at the very least, a burden. Slavery left us indoctrinated with the white man’s beauty standards, and we haven’t been able to shake this poisonous idea for over 400 years. Upward mobility, wealth, and social status have long been associated with one’s proximity to whiteness. Black people who are, or appear to be, of mixed race have historically had social and economic advantages over Black people who did not appear to have white blood.
Colorism, which is prejudice or discrimination against people with dark skin, affects all of us, but I want to focus on how it affects Black women. Our sisters, many of whom are fighting for our communities on all fronts, often have to deal with the notion that their desirability is directly correlated to the amount of melanin in their skin.
Darker skinned women tend to get married at lower rates than their light skinned counterparts. They also tend to have lower paying occupations and less education. It’s almost like we have a damn caste system in America. Of course, systemic racism still has the power to stratify us, but we must deal with the fact that we are still perpetuating colorism in our own communities. I’ve heard too many brothers brag about their yearning for light, Latina, or white women while showing disdain for onyx-skinned sisters, even when their mothers and sisters were brown or darked skinned. Light, bright, and damn near white women are seen as status symbols, while “chocolate” sisters are undesirable or only good for sex. People, this is a sickness.
In popular culture, light-skinned singers, models, actresses, and even activists have long been celebrated and elevated, while many amazing dark skinned women have been maligned or ignored. In recent times, some ebony sisters in the entertainment world, like Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis, have been lauded with praise and rightfully recognized for being talented and beautiful. It’s great to see them being venerated. Surely, we can show the women in our lives the same appreciation.
There are still too many Black girls growing up in a world that seeks to minimize their existence and dehumanize them. As a man, I can’t stand by while our queens are disrespected and unfairly scrutinized according to ridiculous European standards of beauty. The Black woman is the original woman, the first woman on this planet, and she is marvelous in every shade. We do ourselves a disservice when we marginalize and demean her. All African American women suffer when they are reduced to racist stereotypes based on skin color and hair texture. Having the right conversations is essential to deconstructing the colorist narrative. Social media makes it easy for us to connect with each other, and it’s time we dedicate more energy to healing ourselves. Let us create spaces where our dark skinned sisters can be seen and heard. It’s high time we undo the racist brainwashing that has plagued us for far too long.
The European has done a number on all of us, but it is never too late to decolonize our minds. We don’t have to disparage or abandon our light skinned women, but we should all be conscious of the fact that what many claim as a preference is a sick indoctrination that only upholds white supremacy and creates unnecessary rifts between Black men and women.
We’re all in this fight together, and it’s time to take off our colonial blinders and appreciate all of our sisters.