In Defense of Light-Skinned Women

by Demetria L. Lucas

I know this probably won’t be a well-received article. The Varied Complexions of Black People is a guaranteed push-button topic, and too many writers have exploited the issue for hits. I hate that this will likely be taken in that context, but I assure you, that’s not what I’m up to.

Hear me out to the end.

When I caught wind of Eric Benét’s latest single “Redbone Girl,” my first thought was “oh, #$%^!” I wasn’t excited; I was loathing the term for the description of light-complexioned women and more so, the comments sections of multiple sites that would inevitably explode with vitriol and knife-twisting in never fully healed wounds. No one man should have so much power.

We’ve all experienced our fair share of unwanted and offensive commentary about our complexions. We say the comments don’t matter and that we’re so over it, but our reactions show otherwise. The emotional trauma, whether you’re 27 light, 1B dark, or a middle shade like 6 brown, all sticks like balls of track glue. What I want to suggest to you here is there is no outdoing each other in the pain category.

A dark girl encounters ignorance about her complexion? Yeah, so does a light girl. It would be nice if she could get a little empathy and understanding, too. Pain is just, well, painful, period. Who’s Hurt More isn’t part of the upcoming Olympics, and the re-telling of emotional battle scars shouldn’t be a competition.

Undoubtedly, racism, sexism, and alleged “preference” have created an unfair culture in which women with lighter complexions can be more valued in some circles. If you dig up stats on incarceration, employment, and even marriage or familial favoritism, they often tend to pan out in the favor of a “light bright.” That’s not at all OK, and I don’t have any Kumbaya answers for how to recondition 500 years of mind-@#$%ing to make it right.

Because in some situations those of a lighter complexion might get a one-up, that doesn’t discount the many ways in which it can be also be a pain. The hue that can make light-skinned women prized among some also can make them loathed among others. And the latter half of that dichotomy shouldn’t be dismissed because of the former.

The vitriol hurled at a darker woman for being melanin-infused doesn’t somehow trump that of a lighter-hued woman, also marginalized but in her case for not being considered black “enough.” (There’s a reason that after a trip to the beach, you’ll catch some light women extend their arms beside another light friend as a playful competition to see who’s finally darker. Sometimes you’ll catch one measuring her skin beside that of a brown friend to see if her complexion made it to brown status. It’s a joyous occasion to be “black enough.”) The words are different, but the intentional infliction of shame, the feeling of being outcast and set apart for something out of your control hurts just the same.

I get that it can be annoying if not downright infuriating for a not-light woman to hear men extol the virtues of a “redbone” or watch a video that signals the prevailing beauty standard (rarely even a black woman these days). That’s only a compliment to the most basic of light womankind. There’s no collective Halle Berry mirror-gazing, wondering, “Who is the fairest of them all?” Being visually objectified and men wanting to bend you over isn’t a come up for any woman of any hue.

For every dark-hued woman baffled that anyone would jump to assume she’s mean or angry, there’s a light woman somewhere with a similarly stuck-on-stupid face because someone would assume she must be stuck up or feel entitled. I hope we can all agree that women’s dispositions are more complex than a “School Daze” musical number.

No one likes being singled out for their complexion, not in the “you’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl” way, or the way President Obama is praised for marrying a “real” black woman like Michelle, one of the implications being that to be a real black woman is brown-brown or darker, certainly not light. I get why that praise is heaped, a sort of proudly brown backlash for a culture that still pushes Bright is Right. Still, it doesn’t ease the sting.

But light girls just aren’t supposed to talk about that. The reaction is akin to men hollering about sexism: Just shut the @#% up about it already! And so light girls do, stuffing down their own complexion-related pains, listening and empathizing with those of others, even when the favor isn’t usually returned.

Demetria L. Lucas is the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. ABIB is available to download and now in paperback. Follow her on Twitter at @abelleinbk.

  • HLBB

    Thank you for writing this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/khari.grant Khari Grant

    As a father of a brown-skinned daughter (my hue), a lighter skinned daughter (her mother’s hue) and a soon-to-be born daughter… the color of your skin will never match the strength of your character. We are Black folk, we come in many hues – appreciate them all. I’m raising my daughters not to be defined by what Disney and the US consumer market says is beautiful or self-conscious Black folk who have been made to fear their own skin. You’re beautiful in all your hues. Even having to defend one hue over another or defending hues in general is just maddening – and terribly troubling.

  • Tami

    As a dark-skinned woman, and one who has been told all her life, ‘you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl,’ I have often wondered about the plight of the light skin woman. Luckily, I have friends who are lighter complexion than me and we are friends based on our similaries. Yes, as far as men were concerned, they got more attention but I got my own too. As a little girl, I would wonder what it would be like to have people cater toward me just because my hair was long & I was light. Thank goodness, I realized that our coloring was none of our own doing & I didn’t hate my fellow sister. I can’t believe the hate that is still going on out here & I am 50 yrs old! We do need to know how light-skinned women feel too. This is a very good article. Things need to be talked about, resolutions need to come about. I sure hope that by the time my 6 yr old grand-daughter reaches adulthood, that all shades will be considered beautiful.

  • http://itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha A.

    Interesting…..

  • Ronnie

    Thank you for this. As a light bright, I appreciate you bringing out the issue in this context.

  • Roses

    Thanks so much for this Demetria!

  • MissAnthropist

    +1,000,000. I was just thinking this exact thing after I read the Eric Benet article posted on here. Thank you.

  • Nicole

    Thank you as well. I read that Eric Benet article and felt completely defenseless. Pain is pain regardless and thank you for hitting on that mark.

  • Ms. Information

    There are many sides to this skin tone coin…my moms best friend who could pass for white..actually buys darker makeup because she was teased for being so light skinned….I get it….at the same time, light skinned women are often praised for their features while dark skinned women are ridiculed…I think the bigger purpose is to avoid ignorance at all costs…I am not going to be friends with a dark skinned girl who is bitter against light skinned women and I won’t be friends with a light skinned woman who thinks she has a one up on everyone because of her skin color.

  • http://www.womanist-musings.com/ Renee Martin

    Oh give it a rest. Pain? Just no. I think this entire article is an exercise in ignoring the social privileged of being light skinned in a White supremacist world. Light skinned people are still marginalised but I won’t ignore their privileges.

  • rush

    Thank you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sherril.gerard Sherril Gerard

    Thank you

  • @AmariahSTyler

    Beauty comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes. Because you’re lighter or darker does not automatically make you more beautiful, intelligent, or “blacker” than the next person. As far as the flack that Eric Benet has received, where was all this when his song “Chocolate Legs” was out? There’s already enough going on in the world and in our communities to worry about, or even debate about something as trivial as this.

  • LemonNLime

    +1

  • JuneBug

    Light-skinned women need defending? Because of all the (so-called) mean, ugly, dark-skinned women being mean to them? Um…okay.

    Why does this remind me of white woman’s tears? Except instead of a (mean) black woman and innocent white woman (woe is her), there is a (mean) dark-skinned black woman, a light-skinned woman, and a host of people (mostly questionable black men) there to say something along the lines of “shawty just jealous” in reference to the dark-skinned one. Hmm….

  • deejay

    Exactly…….I find it interesting that the author chooses to soft peddle light skin priviledge.

  • Nubian Princess

    This article is so woe is me… ” oh I get special treatment for being light, Girls of my hue are desired by men everywhere, girls of my hue are plastered on billboards and television screens, we’re not called ugly, but we hurt too” give me a break. I don’t judge based on color I have friends of all hues that I love dearly, but I not buying this my pain your pain crap. Being called ugly, nappy headed, and named the most undesirable women on the earth but popular media ( even though I beg to differ) is not the same pain shared by our light skin sisters. It’s different it causes low self esteem for dark girls, low self worth, think of the doll baby test… little girls are not picking the dark dolls. It a notion that’s so engrained in our psyche for so many years it’s hard to overcome. I have young girls in my family who are dark that I have to convince they are beautiful and let them know they are worthy because society, music, and pretty much everything else the see tells them they are not. I feel the ” plight of the light skinned woman” But I assure you it’s not the plight

  • http://itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha A.

    Yeah….with the exception of my best friend who is biracial (Guyanese and English), most light skinned people I know, both men and women alike, reference their lighter complexion as somehow making them more attractive than someone who is darker skinned. I can see this comment section again turning into a “woe is me” pity party in a matter of hours. A test of this would be to ask light-skinned people if they would prefer to be darker, gaurantee 9.5 would decline, not because they “love themselves just the way they are” but they too have bought into the mentality that somehow they’re “better than” because of their skin complexion. It’s a really weird complex to have and I don’t get it. Yeah they’re marginalized but at the end of the day I just can’t see myself feeling much puty for them or defending them against anything. It must be so hard being objectified…..

  • Nubian Princess

    * it’s not the same plight

  • Ms. Information

    Good point.

  • JuneBug

    “most light skinned people I know, both men and women alike, reference their lighter complexion as somehow making them more attractive than someone who is darker skinned”

    THIS. You can also see tons of it on Twitter and Tumblr. Usually on the “pretty girl” or “pretty people” Tumblr sites.

  • Kim Jones

    I enjoyed this article very much. Pain is pain no matter if you’re dark or light. I do tire of people playing “I’m the biggest victim in the room” card. -_- I wish black people could get it together and move on past this lightskin/darkskin debate.

    sincerely,
    “miss middlin” (neither a light skinned or dark skinned girl)

  • OSHH

    There are costs associated to everything period.
    Some folk seem to not understand this, they assume the benefits outweigh the costs, not knowing anything about your equation except one variable, in this case complexion.

  • my_reply

    I don’t think the negative responses were about dark skinned women who were jealous of light skinned women. I think it was about them being upset at the light skinned women comparing the teasing they received to that of darker women as if they don’t get many compliments and advantages from being light. I am light skinned, but I am aware that some colorstruck people value that.

    I was skinny growing up and was picked on for being skinny, but I was also complimented a lot for being skinny. I would never tell an overweight woman that the suffering of skinny women over their weight is comparable to that of an overweight woman. People on Fox News are going on and on about reverse racism comparing racism that white people have experienced (it can happen) to that of our suffering. It’s always annoying to hear a priveleged group complain and compare their suffering to that of a less privileged group.

  • http://www.erikag.com Erika G.

    Seriously I have to Thank You for writing this. I have felt all my life being a light skin woman that I couldn’t speak of the pain I have endured cause according to society, I have it easy.. Well if many understood the ridicule I have encountered during my childhood amongst my own kind, they would cry with heartache. No human should be hated and made fun of simply because their skin complexion is different

  • Kim Jones

    *hugs at Erika G*

  • http://itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha A.

    LMAO!! But why did I think of the same thing!! The darker-skinned girl “speaking harshly” to the lighter-skinned girl about something, cue the next scene where it involves the lighter-skinned girl in tears (violin playing in the background of course) talking to Black man about the situation while he strokes her back saying “its okay, that nappy-headed tar baby is just jealous cuz you look like a mix of massa and Amber Rose”. I’m sorry I just couldn’t resist. This anecdote will likely come off sounding bitter/ self-hating but I can assure you that’s not the case, I’m just tired of this issue being played out.

  • tracey

    so far, half of the commenters read a story about pain not being an Olympic competition, and then managed to respond with, “no, really, my pain really is so much worse than your pain.”

    jesus.

    “won’t be well-received”
    >>>>understatement of the year<<<<

  • Black=beauty

    I don’t think many folks here understand the term ‘lightskinnend’ ,
    lightskinnend is not Halle Berry, she is Biracial.
    Lightskinnend is Meagon Good,

    There is nothing wrong with having these terms, there is something wrong with it to hurt other people.

  • JuneBug

    Meagan Good is light-skinned? On to the point, nothing wrong with the terms but the terms AROSE out of wanting to hurt black people so…

  • My-Thoughts

    I think many of the commenters here missed the point of the article- there is no real “competition” for whose pain is worse. Pain is pain, period. I applaud the author for tackling a very sensitive subject and I am glad that somebody finally said it in such a public way. Being “light-skinned” and “mixed” looking, I have always had to defend my Blackness. I have heard and CONTINUE to hear all the questions and remarks, which almost always come from another Black person..”you must be mixed”, “are you black?”, or “Well, no one in my family looks like you, so you must not be all the way black”…Not saying it’s any worse that someone saying to a brown-skinned girl that “she’s pretty for a dark girl”. It’s ALL ignorant. But you’re no better than any other bigot if you think you get to judge someone’s Blackness based on your limited POV. And I will say that ppl constantly denying your Blackness when that’s all you know, all you love, is a very hurtful thing.

  • JuneBug

    I can see how some of those people are “denying your Blackness” but (once again), it’s about certain people denying their privilege!

  • Anon

    As someone too dark to be light… but not exactly medium… YES. Some dark skinned women are COMPLETELY out of line in the presence of lighter black women. And they don’t do it the most to the lightest black women (that looks too obvious). Just be in the dark carmel category (a few shades lighter than Nia Long) and some of ya’ll will WILD OUT.

    Is that not okay to say? Are the arguments over hair type, accusations of wearing weave (loudest in front of men), “accidently” pushing someone in a line supposed to be ignored entirely? While fighting (actually begging is a better word) for male attention, some darker black women ARE more agressive and angry towards lighter black women. At least be mad at who is actually rejecting you.

  • erica

    thanks renee, you’re the best writer here

  • Sashay

    Ms. Lucus,

    You may have been picked on and bullied for your physical features like most people in the world, but that is not the same as being classed and marginalized in society. Dark-skinned people are criminalized which result in things like murder, incarceration, and not getting the job or the promotion. This is about black bodies and their livelihood being under physical attack, not being picked on. This is about the Blue Vein society and other social structures that were specifically created for light-skinned people who did not want to be associated with darker blacks. I don’t recall a tar-skin society at all. While the ignorant decisions of our ancestors are not our faults, we need to be more sensitive in how we play the hands that we have been dealt. You and this article need to knock it off. No matter how unauthentic some folks have made you feel, you are still validated by society at every turn. You still benefit from the color of your skin, not in the same way as Europeans, but definitely in betters way then your darker relatives. Instead of complaining about being picked on, you need to focus on relinquishing your privilege, and “defend” dark skin blacks from being criminalized. The issues of colorism, racism and sexism are about oppression and privilege. The stakes are higher when oppression is at play. As long as you have privilege, you can’t complain.

  • http://www.womanist-musings.com/ Renee Martin

    Thank you so much!

  • lovelybrowngirl

    I agree 100%! A “light-skinned” person would NEVER choose to be (permanently) darker. It just wouldn’t happen. Most are well-aware of the leg up they’ve been given and, while some *might* feel guilty about it, I’m pretty sure that the overwhelming majority are (not-so) secretly relieved that they won the melanin lottery.

    And to that end, how many of you know women who would NEVER get any play if they were about 2-3 shades darker? Some women are “beautiful” just off the strength of their skin color. As a woman who’s heard numerous times “You’re so pretty… for a dark-skinned girl”, the underlying message there is that you have to be EXTREMELY “pretty” to overcome your “unfortunate” coloring… and the flip side of that is that one could presumably be far less attractive but a few shades lighter and still be considered beautiful. *smh* Color complexes are so very real. Man, oh man, have they done a number on us.

  • erica

    did the mean dark girls make fun of you because you were so pretty and light skinned?

  • Janubie

    Yes, pain is pain. But it is extremely important to recognize all privilege. As an in between, I recognize that I escape the burden of both experiences. We need a space where we can recognize that lighter features bring tangible benefits ( as glossed over in the article : marriage markets, criminal justice, job markets). But every light skinned person is not to blame. Only those who refuse to acknowledge their privilege ( as is true with any people who receive social benefits that are not based on merit).

  • http://www.womanist-musings.com/ Renee Martin

    Except that there isn’t actual pain for being dark skinned. There is marginalisation from being born Black and female. There is no systemic oppression specifically targeting light skinned women because they are light skinned. Further this entire argument that dark skinned people are being mean is nothing more than internalised racism and sexism. If you have to defend your position by engaging in a trope which specifically targets dark skinned women then as far as I am concerned, you don’t have a leg to stand on.

  • 1flyynerd

    I’m sure you tell your daughters that they are all beautiful don’t you? The beginning of loving how you look as a woman starts with DAD. No matter your color DAD tells his little girls how beautiful they are.

  • erica

    +1billion

  • Ms. Information

    Meghan good is NOT light skinned..lol

  • Ms. Information

    White people did a number on us….

  • lovelybrowngirl

    Basically.

  • lovelybrowngirl

    For some reason, my comment didn’t post. But essentially, this sums it up.

  • Janubie

    Yes! +1

  • lovelybrowngirl

    Sasha, I agree 100%. There is NOT ONE light-skinned woman out there that would willing trade places with a dark-skinned woman. I guarantee that 99.9% of them are (not-so) secretly relieved that they won the melanin lottery.

    I’m sorry, but it must be said: The “pain” of a light-skinned woman is NOT the same as that of a dark-skinned woman. You’re hurt for being teased because you are “too light”? What a joke! Get called a “tar baby”. Have someone tell you you’re “pretty… for a dark-skinned girl”. Get rejected by your own men in favor of a woman who’s nowhere near as cute, but wins the heart of men because she’s 5 shades lighter. When that happens, THEN you come talk to us about “hurt”.

    “Your Hurt Ain’t Like Mine” IS an Olympic sport in our community… because color complexes in our community are VERY real. Light-skinned women have always been winning and they’ll continue to. They don’t need defending.

    Bottom line: GTFOH.

  • Britnee

    It’s always some form of mass media reminding me how dark I am. I’ve never heard you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl and I’ve never hated on light skinned girls. It’s called SELF esteem for a reason. Get some and this crap won’t bother you light or dark.

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    That photo makes me cringe. The wink is like she’s saying, “Sure, I’ve been picked on, but I’m privileged and you know it.”

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    Exactly!

  • Leimom

    LOOK, I feel that this is the way GOd made me, I know people might think this is cliche, but as long as I feel good about myself, live the life GOD wants all of us to have, I could care less what another person, white or light skinned black person thinks of me.

    At the end of time and we are standing at judgement, my GOD is not going to give me a pass because I am light or dark, my actions, my belief and love for him and how I shared his beliefs and love with the world will matter.

    Everyone really needs to get over themsleves, light or dark. The ways of this world are so weird that I will never let it dictate to me how I am suppose to look. GOD made in his image, and he had and has a plan, let him reveal it to you.

    Enough said!!!!!

  • tracey

    please provide a quote from the article where Demertria said anything at all about WHO said anything mean to her or any other light skinned person. i’ll wait.

    there is no reference at all to women saying anything to her or dark women being ugly. You are seeing what is not there.

    how can the same people who are upset that the author doesn’t acknowledge some light skin privilege not even acknowledge their own extremely obvious issues with their complexion.

    @sasha get a light skinned friend. just one. the scenario you describe is ridiculous. It’s like the Saturday Night Live skit where Eddie Murphy is white for a day.

    all these insane assumptions about what it must be like to be light skinned and all the crazy privileges, not only here, but the entire thread, are laughable.

  • http://jojasminraquel.tumblr.com/ Jasmin

    Didn’t Eric Benet have a song called Chocolate Legs? (Wit a gorgeous chocolate women in the video and I mean this chick was flawless. Where the hell did she come from?) Since when did chocolate refer to light skin women? This is coming from a light skin women. I was always told I wasn’t chocolate, I was caramel… So Eric Benet wrote a song called Redboned Girl. Now everybody forgot about Chocolate Legs. And to be honest Chocolate Legs is a better song. But that’s just my opinion. Here is a line or two about this song “.. I ain’t the only one to learn her curves… her reputation ain’t squeaky clean.” SHE’S A HOE! So why are people getting upset about him falling in lust with a hoe!?! In Chocolate Legs the women is a comforter, supportive and affectionate. “… I need some reminding that God is still behind me. So come take my soul and set me free…” He’s basically comparing the women to the Almighty. That’s a bad chick if you ask me. This scandalous redbone woman sounds like she is sloring around town and his dumbass is chasing her. But all we got out of the song was “he like light skinned girls.” (rolls eyes) We should be concerned of why Eric Benet is chasing after trashing.

  • http://gravatar.com/motrenaissance motrenaissance

    Yeah, y’all need to get over yourselves

  • black_feminist

    Exactly! Thank you for this.

  • JuneBug

    This! LMAO!

  • Beauty is in Every Complexion

    As someone who is dark-skinned I see the point of the author and also a lot of commentors here. I agree that we all experience pain based on skin color and should not have to compare. I understand that some light-skinned black women are ridiculed for being lighter-skinned and are considered not black enough, but I am curious if all light-complexioned women experience this. Maybe I am confused about what is light-skinned and what is not, but I don’t imagine every woman of a lighter complexion being told that she is not black enough. At the same time, though I do have friends of a light-complexion that have experienced this whether through direct or indirect comments and it’s not fair to them. Racism is worldwide problem that is bigger than the black community alone, so I do think the treatment that dark-skin women experience on the basis of their complexion cannot be glazed over. It is real and it’s unfortunate that we experience this from our own community too.

    ANY references to complexion in this context is uncomfortable. I feel for my lighter-complexion friends who are referred to as “hey light-skin” as if they don’t have a name and that’s the most relevant thing about them. I also feel for my dark-skinned friends that have to hear, “hi chocolate,” or are told by some black men, “I don’t like light skin women” or “I wouldn’t date anyone any darker than you.” All of it makes me uncomfortable and I don’t think the black community needs any more division that it’s already experiencing. Lastly, this whole idea of blackness and who is “black enough” is really frustrating to me. As a dark skinned woman who grew up in the suburbs I also have dealt with my “blackness” being challenged, so I definitely see where the author is coming from. Let’s stop dividing ourselves and pointing fingers, the rest of America just sees us as black anyways!

  • Livethexperience

    Thank You for this. I thought I was the only one that had this view of the article, yes they are marginalized, but endure more privileges.

  • TMR

    loud, thunderous applause

  • ???

    Meagan Good is not light skinned. She is brown. I’m from the deep South, and I think down here, we have a different view of what light skinned is. Brown is considered dark skinned unless you are light brown like Tyra Banks. Being biracial does not make you not light skinned. Being multiracial is the whole reason that black people come in different shades.

  • http://twitter.com/Ishtar_79 Ricki W. (@Ishtar_79)

    A whole lot of people think they’re light skinned when they really aren’t. Anyway, my point is that I have nothing substantial or thought provoking to add.

  • CaraBS

    So you think light skinned women should “defend dark skin blacks from being criminalized”? You mean the same dark skinned blacks RIGHT HERE IN THIS THREAD who outright dismiss the pain of another Black person who is asking to be heard?

    PLEASE.

  • CaraBS

    Your bitterness is showing, Erica.

  • Livethexperience

    Yesssssss!

  • http://gravatar.com/livelaughbreathe josieRbabyagree!

    +11111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

  • AMAC

    Wow. Some of the comments on the page speak to exactly what the writer was talking about (bravo). I am fair skinned and have been teased and made fun of my entire life. There were girls and women even, that didn’t like me simply because of how I looked and assumed things about me that were not true. To say that light skinned people think we ‘look better’ or are ‘superior’ in some way is absolutely absurd or to say we would not want to be ‘darker’ is ridiculous. I assumed as a people that we has moved away from having this mentality, but I see that’s not the case. What I am wondering is what boat were these ‘priviledged fair skinned’ people on because I clearly missed it. Whatever some perceive as this “privilige” that fair skinned seem to have, you better believe that we pay the penality for it in our own community. At the end of the day, we as African Americans still face the same plight…..regardless of our skin tone, we are still black…ala President Obama. Despite his fair skin and mixed heritage….he is still seen as a black man. As crazy as this may sound….light skinned people are not exempt from racisim or any other ‘ism for that matter. My son is ‘fair’ skinned and at 7 years old has already experienced racism on a level I never imagined he’d have to encounter at this age. C’mon people..give me a break. It’s not the light or dark skin that’s ugly, it’s clearly our own reflection in the mirror. And while we are having this conversation the Kim Kardashians of the world are physically altering their bodies with injections in their butts, lips, and breast to acheive our standard of beauty and are now the new ‘light skinned black’ chick. @ Ms. Information you are absolutely correct…mission accomplished!

  • 1flyynerd

    How about an article that is called “In Defense of Black Women PERIOD!” Written by multiple blackmen posted everywhere discussed on all the talk shows. How about everyone open your eyes and speak out for there mothers, aunts, sisters and cousins and tell the MEDIA to stop exploiting us & back up off of us. Forget defending dark skin and light skin defend BLACKWOMEN in general. One thing society can’t understand is why haven’t we crumbled yet, they call our first lady names, they called us the ugliest women on earth, they call us nappy headed hoes, too muscular, too fat, obese, highest in AIDS (I don’t have AIDS do you?) but yet we held our heads high and we keep walking, working and loving. Let them call a white woman all these things she would crumble or kill herself. Don’t write articles like this that degrade our self worth but write articles that prove we are, what we say we are and think we are! We are feminine, sweet, loving, caring, assertive, mothers, lovers, backbone shelter a force. One last thing, Blackmen we don’t want you to depend on us we want you to lead us. Society wants you to depend on us so when they tear us down you will fall too. The sad part is you haven’t realized that yet because you have joined them in their efforts.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    say wha? they pickin on my redbone sisters? ** calls out national guard**

  • apple

    well as light skin person, i don’t really need coddling or woe is me..sure i have been offended by darker skin people by being called light skin b*tch, house n*gga,front porch n*gga, blah blah and its annoying hearing about skin tone all the time or having your own mother say you don’t count as a black person (my mom is darker skin), i know society thinks that we have won the “lottery”(not my words,what someone said above) so there is no need to try to outshine someone in an oppression Olympics. but its really not that hard, i don’t know what light skin people are really trying to prove? trying to say this without being offensive to everyone, but GET OVER IT? life is hard being black but its marginally worst being a darker skin tone(because of society). This is just coming out all wrong. I don’t know. Can’t we all just get along lol ???

  • omfg

    applause…

  • http://itsoftenbeensaid.wordpress.com Sasha A.

    @tracey: scroll up to the comment I made where I said my best friend is light skinned. The scenario I described was SUPPOSED to be ridiculous and that Eddie Murphy skit is hilarious! But anywho my scenario is so funny, to me anyways, because I have actually been a witness to it (not exactly to a t) but that was basically the gist of what happened. They were 100% serious and it was so stupid that I had to laugh.

  • ashley

    I’m dark brown and my mother was light brown. We only to played with barbies or dolls that were black . I can recall being in grade school and describing someone as “bright skinned” and my mother informing me “light skinned” is the correct term. Other than that, we never discussed light/dark skin issues because all we knew was black is beautiful. I was raised in the “city” in Mississippi. When I got to college (university school with MS folks from small town and those of us from cities)it was there I learned how different my view of beauty was from a lot of guys AND GIRLS and that I didnt really pay attention to different complexions. I didnt realize until recently, I dont view a lot of white nor light skinned people as attractive as I do darker brown skinned people. With all of that said, I dont think its necessary “society” that gives us our view point on how we feel about our complexions. It’s more so from our backgrounds and our parents teaching. I’ve never felt bad about my complexion and I’m dark brown but my momma instilled that confidence in me. *kanye shrugs*

  • http://www.facebook.com/launalynn Launa Lynn Wood

    Thank you for writing this. Too often, I feel like we “light brights” aren’t considered entitled to voice our concerns of being on the other side of the coin, and although I do feel beautiful, it’s not because of my relatively long hair, green eyes, or light skin. It’s not because Lil’ Wayne prefers red over brown. It’s not because many men have a standard preference, and I might happen to fall into that category. It’s because my mother raised me to feel beautiful, even when I had the braces, the acne, and couldn’t really dress to save my life. Even at 27, I still become slightly offended when I’m told I’m not black enough because of my lighter skin, or told that I don’t really have “black hair, anyway.” I see women of all shades, and am amazed at their beauty, which is only complemented by their complexions. This article was fantastic in expressing how light-skinned women have a burden to bear, although many expect us to bear it silently and with a smile on our faces. Thank you for being that voice.

  • Crys S

    Oh Dear God! (Seriously calling on Him) This comments section is making my stomach turn and my head hurt, I must go! But not before leaving my two cents :)

    I was having an abbreviated version of this conversation with a friend last weekend. I didn’t realize until now why a chocolate hued man & a “light-skinned” woman having this conversation was important. We basically agreed on the whole color-complex issue being outdated but unlikely to disappear. Why were we able to have such a civilized conversation and not a dispute or debate? Because of how we were raised. Complexion was seldom acknowledged growing up, and it is something that I am eternally grateful for, the same was true for him.

    Pain IS pain, who is anyone to try to qualify someone else’s pain?! Growing up I was a good 50-100 pounds overweight through little to no fault of my own, and THAT was painful, but because of it, most of this complexion stuff missed me. Fast forward to being a slim adult and the weight and importance given to something as completely superficial as complexion baffles me. But it is so. ::Sigh:: I’m not naive enough to think that I, or most Americans or citizens of the free world of that matter, could give an unbiased opinion on complexion, but I hope we can overcome it one day, for the sake of the generations to come & the millions of actual pressing issues.

    Demetria, great writing! As a hair afficionada, I particularly appreciated the “whether you’re 27 light, 1B dark, or a middle shade like 6 brown” :D. Namaste!

  • ???

    Wow! You might want to work on your self esteem if when you see a lighter girl winking it makes you cringe.

  • afropuffs

    word.

  • Gina

    Seriously. Get over it everybody.

    I’m tired of hearing the whining that light skinned women still get privileges. You know what? Thats an insult to the OUTSTANDING dark skinned black women who have made a difference for us all. (Harriet Tubman, Oprah, Toni Morrison, etc)
    It’s not a fucking competition. We are ALL BLACK.
    I swear, some of ya’ll act like light skinned people may as well be a different race. While I know there is a lot of light people who won’t defend my dark ass, I also know that there are many of them who feel the same as I do about my hue in the face of western beauty sometimes.
    I think this victim mentally that dark skinned people are having is pathetic in the 21st century. Black people have been dealing with others ‘privilege’ for a long time.
    We have adapted but have yet to change our minds.
    If the dark skinned Indians or even dark Asians/Latino’s have been able to come to America and make something of themselves despite their skin color than we need to do the same. I know, I know they haven’t had as bad a rap as we have but this type of victim mentally is the same reason why we haven’t progressed in America or Africa.
    We need to start liking even hell, loving, each other as dark or light skin, men and women in order to level the playing field or we will never achieve success.

    In conclusion,

    AIN’T NOBODY GOT’ TIME FO’ DAT!

  • BrookeAmor

    Phuck your feelings, Light Skin Privilege is undeniable and should be at the forefront (if anything) of the article. Can’t deny the “one up”.

    I truly don’t understand the big deal…and I’m a Brown Skin woman. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… If you’re insecure about your complexion, blame your parents. Eric Benet created Chocolate legs. I think he’s evening the playing field, unlike lil Wayne who has a clear preference. Preferences are ok, ya know. (Journalists are an exception. They must be unbiased when creating content when rating black women)

  • isolde3

    “I was skinny growing up and was picked on for being skinny, but I was also complimented a lot for being skinny. I would never tell an overweight woman that the suffering of skinny women over their weight is comparable to that of an overweight woman.”

    @my_reply

    It’s funny that you should mention that, because this piece is shades of a previous piece on this site. There was this article on here musing about the whole “real women have curves” meme, and how silly it is because women come in all shapes and sizes. So, this one uber-pressed broad went H.A.M. talking all kinds of shit about how she didn’t care about the opinions of “fatties” and how only fetishists would ever love them. It was beyond messy. So this other commenter (an overweight woman) chimed in and called out the crazy chick, and the two of them were dialoguing. All throughout their discussion, the crazy chick was being totally disrespectful and rude, justifying it by dredging up old memories about how she was teased for being skinny.

    Two minutes later, Britni writes some BS response article about oppression Olympics and how the skinny woman’s pain is on par with the overweight woman’s pain as if thin privilege and fat phobia were non-existent and the crazy chick wasn’t being belligerent all throughout the previous discussion.

    Search the archives for “Your Blues Aint Like Mine, and That’s OK” and see what I mean.

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    Oh geez…my self-esteem is fine. The winking makes me cringe, not the girl.

  • http://gravatar.com/deechagirl Deecha

    spot on!

    sick of ‘defending’ those who have been privileged from the very start.

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    It’s the photo in the context of this article. I wouldn’t think twice about it anywhere else.

  • Jess

    I’m honestly very disappointed in how poorly this piece was written. The topic was irksome enough, but the points, if they even exist, were all over the place.

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    It’s the photo in the context of this article. Not the best one when you’re trying to be sympathetic.

  • SimplyFantastic

    This was a very good article, and I feel the pain of both sides. I am a brown skin female, and ridicule comes from both directions of dark and light skin. It all depends on your neighborhood. When I was a child, the majority of the girls my age were light skin, and they teased me all the time for being darker. And when we reached high school…they wouldn’t speak to me at all, because it killed them to know that guys thought I was pretty too. It made me grow up with a dislike for lighter-skin females. It wasn’t until college, that my hate and anger was addressed by a good friend of mine. She and I took a long time to be friends, even though we hung in the same circles. Once we were close, she told me that she felt it took so long to become friends because I didn’t like lightskin females and she was right. I have now overcome this hurt, but I am constantly reminded by Black men, that there is a difference…and the preference is generally light. If you’re brown…you need to mixed or from the islands or something! That’s why its hard for me to date inside the race at times…because men outside of my race are the one’s to make me feel like a beautiful black woman, and that’s just sad!

    I wait for the day…that the black community can be united as one again. White people may have divided us, but in my opinion, black men keep us divided. The only way for the black woman to come up…is through the black men. So as Spike Lee once said…”WAKE UP!”

  • Erin

    +1

  • http://gravatar.com/deechagirl Deecha

    “Pain is pain no matter if you’re dark or light.”

    no it is not.

    that is what many black women are trying to say on here.

    at the end of the day LS people are validated. not those of darker hue. take it how you want.

  • Shasha

    While this article is very woe is me, there is something to be said about some feeling pain for feeling like they too black while others feel pain for feeling not black enough. Where does anyone fit in? Is there a right amount of Black. We all know that generally people who are seen as ‘too black’ get backlash from all over while the ‘not black enough’ set generally get strife from mainly other black people. There is no need to compare, hurt is hurt but the issue is trying to navigate through centuries of associating blackness and darkness with things that are not good enough bad. ALL black people are marginalized and those of us who seek to express our blackness through our various identities often times buck up on some racist societal standards that require much self reflection. No need to launch a light-skinned women defense, what we do need is collective appreciation for all our variations.

  • YB

    +1000

  • The Comment

    I appreciate this article. It is much needed.

  • YB

    Thunderous applause.

  • Erin

    What’s unfortunate Renee, is that your comment shows your inability to look past skin color. Light skin black women have issues/challenges just like dark skin women. Unfortunately, it’s often inflicted on us by our own people because they have self-image issues. If you fail to recognize that, that’s because you are dealing with some self-hatred of your own. Just because someone has a lighter complexion doesn’t make them more privileged. It sounds to me like you’ve been sipping on the light skin vs. dark skin kool-aid that has been forced fed to us by Whites for generations. They pitted us against each other for generations to keep us down, and your comment shows that it’s still working.

  • AJ

    “The vitriol hurled at a darker woman for being melanin-infused doesn’t somehow trump that of a lighter-hued woman, also marginalized but in her case for not being considered black “enough.”

    Oh boy..cut the drama. when has anyone said that light-skinned Black women aren’t Black enough? that’s mainly the bane of Blacks form countries outside the Americas. To criticize Eric Benet and Lil Wayne’s ignorance has nothing to do with light skinned women being Black enough, which everybody knows they are. Nobody thinks Beyonce, Rihanna, Vanessa Williams, Stacey Lattisaw, Lena Horne, your light skinned momma, your mommas momma, your sister, your friend, or your light skinned coworker is anything but Black. So please.

    The problem is the fact that generally, those spewing colorism throw much more shade on darker skin tones than lighter, usually because they are mimicking the American racist cultural phenomenon of distancing oneself from “African-ness” and valuing those who have some features closer to their ideal European-ness/whiteness – in the case of Black people, some of us have lighter skin, some have straighter hair. Blacks who follow racism and colorism value those with those features more than those who do not have those features. Plain and simple. Black people, products of the American racial system, follow this cultural phenomenon to a tee and many Black men want someone with anything that seems to match what white women have, as closely as possible. In this case, it’s skin color. Most won’t admit it because it is not PC, but they are in awe of white, and use light skinned Black women as the first stepping stone before jumping off to white women.

    And yes, light skinned Black women have caught just as much hell for being Black as dark skinned women – Lena Horne was disrespected, segregated, and passed over for many a role just like so many other Black people simply because she was Black – racists didn’t care whether she was light or dark – she was Black and that’s all they needed to discriminate.

    However, the racism and colorism coming from within the Black community is for different reasons – Black men chasing a white ideal lead them to glorify ‘lightness” just until they can crossover to ‘whiteness’. Once they cross over to ‘whiteness”, they don’t care if you’re a light skinned or dark skinned Black – they are through with you – you were just the stepping stone!

    There is no need to defend light skinned Black women – we all know they have gone through the same thing as every other Black women – but societal preferences were formed out of a racist system that has been adopted by Black people, and now Black men want to practice the racial hierarchy created by whites within our own communities. So expect Black men with beliefs like Eric Benet and Lil Wayne to exist in heavy numbers in the U.S. And expect self-respecting Black women of any shade to have an opinion on it.

  • Erin

    Sure, there are some light-skin women that might play the victim. But it seems to me that some of the darker complexioned women fail to realize that they are projecting self-hatred and racism with their own race. If you take issue with me because I’m light skin, you take issue with yourself. Why? Because we’re both Black.

    Leave Colorism in the past.

  • SimplyFantastic

    Exactly! I believe that the key to restoring the image of the black woman is the black man! A man of another race has never said “not black enough” or “cute to be dark skinned.”

  • Erin

    erica you’re just showing your ignorance. You automatically associate pretty with light skin. That just shows your own self image issues. Damn shame.

  • Anon

    Eh. The “lashing out” that I’ve seen from darker women after this “media onslaught” concerning black women is crazy. Add in natural hair and hair-typing and the in-fighting has become intense. Quiet as it is kept, a lot of lighter and medium black women have been distancing themselves from darker women recently. Too many won’t address that some of their anger is at MEN, not other women. And folks need to drop this “black community” because with 70% OOW births, ain’t no community left.

  • AJ

    I don’t think light skinned Blacks have any more privileges ina white supremacist world than dark skinned Blacks. I think Blacks ourselves give other Blacks who happen to be light skinned more privileges because we’ve internalized white supremacy and racist colorism. BTW, the first mammY dolls and characters were light skinned Black women. And they were made to look just as stereotypical (fat, pink lips, hair rag) and ridiculous as the dark skinned dolls that replaced them as the more modern mammy that we’re used to seeing. White racists didn’t care any way about any Blacks, but saw skin shade as a great dividing tool.

  • Lisa

    Damn! You stay pressed.

  • AJ

    ehhh…I don’t know about that – people in India are very good about disparaging their own darker skinned women, colorism is not just a Black American problem.

  • CaraBS

    “When has anyone said that light-skinned Black women aren’t Black enough? that’s mainly the bane of Blacks form countries outside the Americas. To criticize Eric Benet and Lil Wayne’s ignorance has nothing to do with light skinned women being Black enough, which everybody knows they are. Nobody thinks Beyonce, Rihanna, Vanessa Williams, Stacey Lattisaw, Lena Horne, your light skinned momma, your mommas momma, your sister, your friend, or your light skinned coworker is anything but Black. So please.”

    You are clearly not light skinned, which is fine. But you have no clue what you are talking about, which isn’t. I and every light skinned woman I know have been told “you’re not Black enough”. And I guarantee you every single woman you listed heard the same thing.

    There is a need to defend. Just look at the comments that continually dismiss the feelings of other women as less important and competing for who is hurt more! How can anyone expect their validation to be acknowledged when they won’t acknowledge the other side? This comment section is pathetic.

  • YB

    “If you take issue with me because I’m light skin, you take issue with yourself. Why? Because we’re both Black”

    Ummm no. Your skin isn’t black, it’s light. People take issue with the privilege your skin rewards you to and the fact that your privilege puts darker skinned people at a disavadantage.

    Light skin people need to quit it with that “We all Black” bullsheet. It’s a tactic used to dismiss accusations of colorism and sweep it under the rug. It’s like privileged people (light, male, white, straight, cis gendered, able bodies) all have this handbook that they refer to when being called out on their privilge.

    Colorism will never be left in the past as long as their are people who still be benifit from it.

  • Serene

    As a darker skinned woman, I was picked on by groups of light skin women from kindergarten to today. They always wanted to make it clear that I was the ugly one that was inferior to them.

    I don’t feel inferior to anyone. Light skin women to me are just as insecure as the dark skinned women. Some men don’t prefer light skin women, and that does hurt their feelings. It also hurts their feelings when a darker skinned woman looks better than them.

    Anyway, I feel like the most hurt that was done to me was done by Black women. Whether they were dark or light. There are plenty of insecure darker skinned women who will tear down secure and confidence darker skinned women as well. I often times heard darker skinned women tell me that there was nothing special about me and “I don’t know why guys like you” etc, etc. And also, you’re too dark to wear that color. And often times these women want to date White men so, they’re very own children could come out light and not dark.

    As Black women we really need to work on our self esteem. I am not an insecure darker skinned woman, my skin color will not stop me from achieving anything. Just because some people may have privileges, I just have to work a little harder, that’s all. Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, and countless other darker skinned women made it. And there often times the most successful in our community, i,e Oprah Winfrey.

  • Erin

    AJ, I appreciate your comments. You made some valid points, particularly about blacks practicing the racial hierarchy created by whites within in our own communities as well as light skin women facing similar discrimination to dark skin women just for being black period.

    However, I have to disagree with you about people not saying light skin blacks aren’t black enough. As a light skin woman, I’ve personally experienced that. It does happen. I can remember be ridiculed as a child for speaking “white” or looking “white.”

    It’s a damn shame, but it does happen.

    But you are so right that every time we inflict colorism on one another we’re just doing to ourselves what white people have done to us for generations.

    Your’s is one of the best responses on here.

  • Cee Cee

    Great piece! As I read I figured that it would not be received very well but you said many things I have felt. I am brown (like Megan Goode I guess) with middle back length curly hair and in many ways can identify with both sides…for some i was the light chick with long “pretty” hair and for others I was too dark but thankfully overall I haven’t faced much adversity when it came to skin color. It breaks my heart that so many hurt so deeply over these issues. It also breaks my heart to see the back and forth on who feels the most pain or has had the more traumatic experience. We are all beautiful. Period.

  • YB

    God damn you are a generalizing idiot. Can you even stay on the topic of the conservation, also without blatantly lying and creating even greater divisions amongst color.

    “a lot of lighter and medium black women have been distancing themselves from darker women recently.”

    Just because you have the ability to type and talk doesn’t mean you always should.

  • AJ

    shut up idiot.. omg. This is a serious conversation

  • Cee Cee

    I think the key is that we all as humans need to respect the humanity in each other and learn to appreciate and lift-up all forms of beauty. Can’t look to one group to restore the image or self-esteem of another group. Sadly regardless of who is lifted up, praised, etc. by men that doesn’t mean that the woman will feel good or beautiful…Halle Berry and Stacey Dash two of our “finest” have said on numerous occasions that they often don’t feel pretty or good enough. We have to look to ourselves to restore self-esteem.

  • http://gravatar.com/deechagirl Dee

    care to sit’cho azz down somewhere, thnks.

    always the detractor in threads like these.

  • YB

    Why are some commentators commenting about hair length and texture when the article is about skin and Colorism. I never understood the belief that light skin= long hair.

    Is there some quick hair growing gene infused with light skin? Why is hair brought up? Just wondering.

  • http://gravatar.com/deechagirl Dee

    i believe it’s black males keeping this thing alive. if we’re black then why all the qualifiers and why all the announcements about what skin tone is better?

  • Erin

    LOL. So true.

  • CaraBS

    your bitterness is showing too. i’m sorry you weren’t born light. there. feel better, now?

  • 726

    +1

  • Erin

    LOL. When people bring up long hair or light eyes they’re just showing that they have been misguided by stereotypes.

  • Natalie B.

    Ms. Information hit the nail on the head; white folks certainly did do a number on us. If only we would let that number be up.

    Nothing is as divisive as colorism among Black women, and articles such as this one only inflame the issue. There is internal privilege within our community for being light-skinned; that can’t be denied. No matter progressive and educated a Black family is, when describing anyone from a new boyfriend to a new baby a description of complexion is generally one of the fist things described, and most of the time there is an unspoken sigh of relief when descriptive terms associated with being light-skinned are used. That speaks volumes. As Black women we need to examine our hurt and anger about colorism, and be authentic and truthful about the parts we play in it- from benefiting from the privilege associated with being light-skinned, to alienating a sister because she wasn’t dark enough- and everything else in between, then we need to acknowledge it, talk about it truthfully and then move past so that we can focus on the important issues that truly need and deserve our time and attention.

  • African Mami

    Meow meow meow meow!!!!!!!

    Clutch magazine! I want to see more articles about THE POWER OF LIGHT SKINNED BEAUTIES AND DARK SKINNED BEAUTIES uniting to strengthen our economics! These articles, although well intentioned (sp?!) never go over well (not saying that this topic should not be addressed), but ya’ll had the Eric Benet article last week, that had folks all up in thurr feelings, bout how dare he! Now, we have this one, and folks are already snatchin wigs and what have you’s. I think you should space these articles out, like every two weeks.

  • Sashay

    Yes Cara, In the same way men should defend women. In the same way that heteros should defend gays. In the same way the Europeans should defend minorities, especially blacks. In the same way the rich is suppose to defend the poor. It is the responsibility of the privileged not to complain to the oppressed, but to help. Yes, light skin people need to suck it up and help, not complain.

  • OSHH

    This is a sad thread, and from these comments it doesn’t even seem a like a complexion issue but rather a heart issue. What people hold in their hearts toward others, strangers or not, of the same race at that.

  • Crystal

    Curious, what are all these light skin privileges everyone speaks of? To the rest of the world, we are all black. I’m brown skin and my family is multi-hued from beige to dark velvet. We are all black in my eyes.

  • 726

    “How about an article that is called “In Defense of Black Women PERIOD!” Written by multiple blackmen”

    Don’t hold your breath for that one.

  • Chika

    I’d just like the to say as a sister who is blacker than the night sky, I have received the whole “acting white”, “you’re not black enough”, “why do you talk like that” ever since I moved down south in middle school. Getting “you’re not black enough” definitely isn’t a light skinned only experience. I think a lot of that has to do with your actions and preferences. Other than that, I agree with your cosigning AJ’s comment. Keep living and loving!

  • Crystal

    Yes and Yes Again!! If something on another person brings out pain inside of you, it’s time to check your heart. We, as a race, have internal work to do.

  • Crystal

    “Yes, light skin people need to suck it up and help, not complain.”

    You cannot be serious. I hope this is sarcasm.

  • http://sparkleandboom.wordpress.com Nina Renee

    I agree with Dee: Black men have most definitely kept colorism alive. Kanye West comes to mind. The man is in utter awe of mixed women–forget light skin. He doesn’t speak for all men, but I’d say a lot of these rappers, ballers, and others dudes dislike what they see in the mirror and project that disdain onto Black women. We women of ALL gorgeous hues of Black have got to love ourselves in spite of what some of these colorist buffoons think.

  • http://gravatar.com/prxtence Salmon

    Here’s the thing… when songs are written about “chocolate” and “dark skinned” women, it challenges a paradigm that privileges white/light skin. When songs speak of light-skinned women, it reinforces centuries of light skin hegemony and in doing so challenges any rhetoric (including the recycled argument of the “chocolate legs” song) that challenges light skin/white privilege.

    “Pain is pain” argument is only feasible if it is taken out a historical and social context. Otherwise its completely meaningless. Your social positioning affects why you’re in pain and to what extent that pain is mitigated. So, no, light-skinned girls don’t experience pain JUST like dark-skinned girls. &yes, hierarchies matter. Not even that hyperbolic and satirical “Olympics Oppression” analogy can disprove that.

    I’m sorry but light-skinned girls weren’t crying when they felt they had a better opportunity to get a job than a dark-skinned person, or when all the “black” (majority bi-racial) celebrities & politicians looked like them (validating their self-worth; and yes there is a symbiotic relationship between cultural production and lived realities), or when they walked around a high-end store and weren’t followed or glared at (to the same extent a dark-skinned woman).

    How about this for a solution… light-skinned girls acknowledge your privileges and ally yourselves with all black people to challenge hegemonic notions of beauty/class. Dark skinned girls direct your energy to deconstructing white privilege and symptoms of white privilege i,e, colorism. And, no, bullying the light brights is not an effective tactic in combating colorism.

    -light skin

  • http://wiseedits.wordpress.com MsLady

    wow, this is a room full of wounded souls. reading all these bitter comments hurts my heart and my head. everyone experiences pain, and everyone’s pain is VALID. no one’s troubles are harder or easier than anyone else’s because we all walk our own journey; they’re just different and varied. the solution is in how we choose to deal with our pain, whether it be self-inflicted or dealt by the hands of someone else. when are folks going to see that we’re in this together? to the rest of the world, whether our complexion is light or dark, we’re all just a bunch of niggers. being called “tar baby” is just as hurtful as being called “dirty snow”. people need to stop being so doggone cruel to each other. how bout we prove them wrong and actually UNITE on something to uplift our communities? the only way we’re going to make any headway in this ridiculous society is if we acknowledge the validity of each of our experiences and make steps to help each other deal with them. aren’t yall tired of this mess yet? jeez.

  • Mr. Man

    Some of you guys are killing me with your comments..Some of You (darker)skinned women are really working hard on convincing me personally that you really are angry/bitter and thus feeding the stereotype…In all these threads its your voice thats the loudest, and the heaviest with expressions of your contempt. This article was spot on…Fact, Pain is pain and yes every color and hue has its fair share of jerks.

    *Throwing it into second and passing on the right*……Might I suggest you all do the same..

  • 726

    I stopped reading after she made the comment that light-skinned Black women aren’t told they aren’t Black enough, because that is completely false!

  • Valentina

    @My-Thoughts, I get what you’re saying. People seem to focus on the real & perceived privileges of being of a lighter hue, and completely ignore the REAL pain of being excluded by your own group. When your own FAMILY treats you differently because of your skin color, that hurt is REAL, no matter how you play it. My complexion is brown, but their are several members of my family that are light skinned. I honestly feel for them, having to endure the snide comments and exclusion from some members of the family because they are “light bright damn near white.” It’s especially hurtful for a little girl/young teen who just wants to fit in. It’s like some darker-hued people go out of their way to make lighter-hued people feel as though they aren’t “black enough” simply based on the amount of melanin of their skin. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in a situation where you don’t fit anywhere; your own people don’t accept you/value you because you aren’t black enough, and you obviously don’t fit anywhere else because you are black.

    It’s unfortunate that we can’t stop the hate amongst ourselves and see both the value and plight of everyone. There are plenty of people of other races more than willing to hate us, why do their work for them? There is enough bitterness and hate coming towards us from outside of our race, it’s saddening to see the bitterness and hate being perpetuated from within (ref all the negative comments on this article).

    It’s impossible to raise yourself up by tearing someone else down.

  • Valentina

    Amen 10000 times! I couldn’t agree more.

  • Alexandra

    I think this article should’ve been written in another direction. Too often these type of articles turn into a sad memoir, ending with no solutions. Why is there never a solution? With the title alone, I’m sure Ms. Lucas & Clutch knew what they were doing. However, I do think it’s about time lighter-complexioned Blacks were given a room to voice their issues. The colorism debate is too one-sided for me, and some of y’all should be ashamed at yourselves for dismissing someones pain.

    But I’m also questioning the supposed attempts of lighter women trying to darken their skin. That I don’t believe, because even light skin women can bleach and fear sunlight.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    no, it is not…….

  • YB

    Your comment is the perfect display a what you get when you mix misogyny and sexism with Colorism. You are the perfect example. Because calling out one privilge makes them…..bitter. SMH

    Sad that the only black male on this thread has to be you. Way to represent for the “brothas.” What a shining example you are.

  • JuneBug

    Someone who gets it.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    defending our women is a primary role of the blackman.
    we have failed at it. perhaps because we never had the rite of passage to teach us what a man is.

    my apologies to the sisters.

  • Love My Light

    I am Light

    I don’t need defending

    I really appreciate the kind gesture Ms. Lucas. If more Black women were like you (with seeing and acknowledging pain that isn’t yours) we wouldn’t have half as many problems as we do

    With that said, I agree with many of the posters. We are privileged and we know it. Few of us would change are skin color to a dark hue if given the chance but in all honesty I would never want to be darker (I would never want to be lighter but for different reasons tbh).

    I LOVE my skin tone.

    Not that I’m saying this is right but It’s been the only thing about my “beauty” that hasn’t been disputed by most people throughout the world (even though some might feel it’s not the “best” color, most don’t feel it’s the “worst” color to be either) but I really love it because I can see it’s beauty and that has never been tainted or tried.

    Guess what light women? ^That’s some of the privilege everyone is referring to!

    I don’t understand why many of my fellow light skin sisters are pretending that our level of pain is worth mentioning (and to our darker sisters)? In my opinion, it’s not (but i do recognize that we have different experiences).

    All pain is not the same. Losing your elderly mother is not the same as losing your child, is it? There are levels of pain

    Pain is worst if you have nothing to cushion it. Yea, dark Black people might mistake us for “stuck up”, “saddity”, “color struck”, or say we’re “not Black enough” but on the other hand we don’t experience constant rejection due to our skin color (maybe our race, but not our skin color) in the way that they do.

    Also, I am from California so I know better than anyone else that a hierarchy exist even among light skin beauty with “mixed-race” beauty at the top and “recessive light gene with big African features” at the bottom. Once you factor in hair type and nose size, you got a full hierarchy of non-White beauty over African beauty complete within a beauty standard that mirrors the general one.

    So if you’re mixed-race/light skin, you are kinda winning in this (Black) world.

    So with all that being said, I have say this to the darker Black women who love being in the role of the biggest victim…

    Don’t be afraid to empathize with your fellow light sisters. You ignorantly put us in the same category as “White” women and other non-Black women. Sometimes, you guys forget that we are still “Black”. When non-Black people talk about “Black people”, they’re talking about us too!

    When that article called us the “ugliest women in the world”, we took that hit too.
    We do not run the opinions of the world, we don’t have any power or control. We are not White.

    And my final words go to other light women…

    Let’s stop pretending like we go through as much as darker women. Think bigger than your own personal experiences

    We need to speak out against the ignorance directed toward dark skin women more often. If we don’t already, we need to stop cuddling color struck men, men who give us code words about “preferring” our skin tone.

    Their problems need to become ours because, in reality, they are ours. The vitriol hurled at darker women annoys, hurt, and pains me. As much as I love my skin tone, I would rather live in a community, world, where I have the same amount of privilege as everyone else and colorism doesn’t exist. Wouldn’t you?

  • http://gravatar.com/deechagirl Dee

    co-sign

  • isolde3

    “It’s like privileged people (light, male, white, straight, cis gendered, able bodies) all have this handbook that they refer to when being called out on their privilge.”

    @YB

    Actually there is a handbook. It’s called Derailing for Dummies. Get into it.

    http://www.derailingfordummies.com/complete.html

    Mr. Man’s comment is found under the “you’re being overly sensitive” section

  • ChickenHead

    Yeah and it’s sad to see.Pavlov at its finest……

  • JuneBug

    I would like to add that it’s interesting that SO many have referred to dark-skinned women as bitter based on their comments. Just because one a) Acknowledges that someone else has privilege and b) Wants that person to acknowledge his/her privilege doesn’t make one bitter.

  • JuneBug

    Oh and I should add that acknowledge one’s own privilege means NOT derailing.

  • JuneBug

    acknowledging*

  • Leonard Smalls

    Interesting comment; however, allow me to add the following:

    i) questionable statistics are the hallmark of erroneous arguments;

    ii) “light skin privilege” only exists in the minds of the Coloreds, because your enemy dislikes ALL Coloreds;

    iii) speaking for others is also the hallmark of erroneous arguments;

    iv) your use of the phrase “better than” arguably serves as proof that your mental facilities have led you to personally conclude that so-called “light skin” Coloreds are “better than” you — this is sad;

    v) your assessment arguably leads me to believe that you too are included in the crowd that “objectifie[s]” so-called “light skin” Coloreds;

    vi) “light skin” is a comparable term that requires that one compare the complexion of one Colored person to another? Or are you comparing the complexion of one Colored person to a person that belongs to an alien group? I am confused, please advise;

    vii) I don’t mean to be rude, but I venture to say that if you concerned yourself with acquiring a top rate education and a significant amount of wealth, maybe your outlook on who is “objectified would arguably change. I mention this only because in your comment above you come across as one from an extremely poor educational background that is likely the result of very little analytical training.

    Carry on.

  • YB

    Your right. It’s a shaming tactic used to silence people. It’s so predictable and pathetic.

  • Kristina

    I agree. I knew a girl in grade school who was very dark skinned black but had mid back length straight hair. I think the hair topic is for another post.

  • LemonNLime

    And once again my comment from the article matches perfectly with this:

    “The comments on here are the reason why I ALWAYS laugh in jest when people talk about the “black community”. There was no such thing and there never will be. There were house slaves and field slaves, those who pasted the paper bag test and those who didn’t, those who are middle/upper class and those who aren’t, blacks from the Americas and black Africans, and of course the ever popular blacks versus one-droppers/biracials. There will always be divisions of some sort whether they be due to color or class. The sooner some of y’all realize that, the better.”

    Now everyone stop whining and move on with you lives! Everyone got picked on in grade school, kids are mean even if you weren’t light or dark I promise those kids still would have found a way to make fun of you. That is what kids do. Stop using it as justification for your pity parties.

  • whyme

    Light vs. Dark – umm tired of this.. what about us brown skinned girls???

  • Anansa

    1flyynerd you are 100% correct!

  • http://twitter.com/honeyjinx buki o (@honeyjinx)

    geez, can we get some positive non self masturbatory articles on here about how to understand each other effectively? this article left a lot to be desired especially relating to historical and social context, this shit doesn’t exist in some vacuum devoid of the influence of white supremacy and various societal privileges… the comments are proof of that.

  • 726

    Why are brown skinned people here trying to speak for what us light skinned folks think, feel and have experienced?

  • Gail

    I think you hit part of the root this problem on the head without even realizing. We as black women are pitting ourselves against one another because of ‘MEN’ in our community! They cat call at us on the street or the club, and regardless of color, they are the ones who just see a color and not a person. We foolishly internalize these boys’ simple remarks as gold and worry about our self-worth, worrying about our color and how it defines us as a women and if a man will notice us.

    I think that is a major part of the problem: men having fantastical ideals of what of woman should look like, light or dark, and also the continued disrespect of us women. Back in the day they wouldn’t dare say the crap they say to us today, in music, blogs, or the general community. They supported us as a black women then, not referring to us as dark skinned shorty or light skin Halle Berry or whatever the crap that runs out of our generation’s mouths. They need to know to speak to us women respectfully and realize the words out of black man’s mouth has power to uplift or cut.

  • Anansa

    This right here!!!

  • Anansa

    LOL!

  • Anansa

    Nice!

  • http://blackgirlmd.wordpress.com blackgirlmd

    sorry, i have to say…. this article was pretty weak. lol

  • http://tressiemc.wordpress.com tressiemc22

    There is pain and then there is structural violence. Let me clarify the difference. Pain is being told you’re not black enough when you are 12. Structural violence is when:

    1. Light-Skinned Black Women Receive Lighter Prison Sentences: http://newsone.com/1328605/light-skin-black-women-prison-sentences/

    2. Light-Skinned Black Women Fare Better at Marriage: http://bgtcblog.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/light-skinned-black-women-fare-better-at-marriage/

    3. Light-Skinned Blacks Earn More: http://www.clemson.edu/economics/CERF/Data/JHR/2007/Goldsmith1.html

    There are two different issues being conflated here. Your light skin may cause pain and that should not be dismissed, but marginalizing these longitudinal, deep structural advantages of having light skin as inconvenient to your argument is to effect the very structural violence against darker-skinned black peers that angers many. Light skin pain of snides and losing friends is not on par with the structural marginalization of darker people. It simply is not, no matter how much pain one feels individually. Pain is not the same as being disproportionately poor, single not by choice, or getting life in prison because you read as dangerous to a jury.

    Yes, you get to voice your pain. But do not reduce concern about real, empirical evidence as to the disadvantage of darker skin to “Oppression Olympics.”

  • Paul

    The thing I find funniest and most hypocritical in these debates is that nobody loves light skin more than a darker skinned black woman -
    as long as it’s on a male of course, if it’s on a female the daggers are drawn.

    If I had a penny for all the stories I’ve been told by light skinned males, disclosing their experiences with colour struck DS black women, desperate to be “graced” (or ratther disgraced) by a light skinned ****, I’d be a wealthy man.

    The phantom pain that light skin privilege is alleged to give rise to is not resentment at light skinned women’s generally more privileged position in the socio economic order. It’s no where near as noble as just wanting to be equal to everyone else. It’s far more odious than that. It is simply sexual jealousy on the part of some DS black women of what they percieve as light skinned women’s access to a wider pool of males.

    How do we know that?

    black women who always whine about light skin privilege are most often the same ones upholding it. See Oprah – a woman forever lamenting the woes she experienced growing up “ugly” and dark skinned (her words), yet chose a light skinned male to be her SO.

    Sorry but as a non-light skinned black male you lose me when you whine about light skin privilege only to perpetrate it in your own personal choices.

    I despise hypocrites..

    When we find black women who

    1) totally reject white supremacy
    2) are prepared to challenge its fallacies and impositions at the form, function and execution level

    then I’ll ride along wit ya.

    until then I couldn’t care less than some black women (because this is a women’s issue) get hurt feelings over not being a white boys pin up, or not being some non-black males first choice bedtime “playmate”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mariacjackson Maria Jackson

    As a light skinned girl myself, I’ve been subjected to many questions and assumptions about my genetic history, but I have never ONCE felt lesser than b/c of my skin color. It’s never be something I’ve had worry about (in POC circles. White folks..eh)

    I don’t think light skinned people need any sort of defense. As long as we live in a nation focused on maintaining white supremacy anything close to white is going to be looked upon as more favorable, flat out.

    I never realized colorism was a thing until I was in middle school (thanks to light skin privilege)! I heard a girl say she thought the boy was cute but she wouldn’t date him b/c he was “too dark”. I looked at her in utter disgust. WE’RE ALL BLACK! I wanted to scream.

    When I told my mother about it, she explained colorism to me and I was kinda upset she hadn’t told me about it, being a very brown woman herself.

    I really don’t understand how anyone can deny that darker skinned folks have a harder time and that lighter skin is more acceptable. Light skinned folks don’t need a defense. We need to shut up, listen, and appreciate when our darker poc tell us what they’ve had to deal and CHECK other folks who try to shit on them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mariacjackson Maria Jackson

    No one has looked down on me for being “too light” or said I was “pretty for a light girl”. I have been asked lots of intrusive questions, but to pretend it’s anything like what my darker ladies experience is absurd.

    *IF* light skinned women need defending it’s from spreading or accepting ignorance like this.

  • kc

    *Snaps*

  • Boo

    Chile cry more.

  • Cassie

    Dear Clutch,
    I can’t take you seriously with this as the cover story. I simply can not. I can’t be convinced that they was nothing else of more importance to black women today then the contents of this article. Please do better.

    Sincerely,
    Cassie

  • Marie

    All I’m going to say is, check your light-skinned privilege to all the people who agree with this article and to the person who wrote the article.

    Signed,
    A Light-Skinned Black woman.

  • Lauren

    This says it all.

  • Lauren

    Colorism is the devil. That is all.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Agreed! And looking at it objectively my thing is black women aren’t winning in the grand scheme of things in society IN GENERAL, because we are either ignored or trying to be erased from history so regardless if you are light, brown or dark skin we need to WAKE UP because we are surely under attack with the constant negative press, articles, studies, stereotypes thrown at us, sources and people saying we aren’t worth it or unimportant is being thrown in our face left and right and we are infighting over some BS instead of combating it we are making more scars that have to be healed. Of course colorism is an issue and darker skinned individuals face the blunt of the burden in that regard (I don’t think anybody is denying that or overlooking that fact) but turning and fighting the other side rather than finding the source of problem isn’t helping. True, pain is pain and though your pain might not exactly be the same as anyone else’s that doesn’t mean you can’t sympathize and empathize and IMO I think that is what lacking in a lot of comments posted. It reads as if “oh since I have it a lot harder and you have these privileges than I don’t have to feel your pain or see your point…” when in actuality it doesn’t work that way. As a light skin individual just because I can’t walk in my dark skinned hue sistahs shoes you best believe I would be the first one in line, writing letters, and protesting if they (any black woman in general) are disrespected or disregarded in anyway and I would hope I would be extended the same action. But atlas it seems like a lot of external and internal healing needs to go on. Nobody wants to be solely valued or judge for their skin alone.

  • tulip

    Its obvious that society validates lighter people however lighter people are not at fault and its sad that it keeps the african american community as a whole divided. If we want to see more diversity represented in media in terms of varying hues of blackness portrayed than the emphasis should be placed on creating our own films, ads, magazines, etc or writing the current people in control of the current media. Not being mad or upset at each other about it!!!!!!

  • tulip

    @Renee Its obvious that society validates lighter people however lighter people are not at fault and its sad that it keeps the african american community as a whole divided. If we want to see more diversity represented in media in terms of varying hues of blackness portrayed than the emphasis should be placed on creating our own films, ads, magazines, etc or writing the current people in control of the current media. Not being mad or upset at each other about it!!!!!!

  • erica

    i’m not bitter or pressed , i’m just not here for the bullshit and y’all can drown in all the light skinned tears for all i care. and no i do not associate being pretty with being light skinned. can’t you tell when someone is being mocked?

  • tulip

    Its obvious that society validates lighter people however lighter people are not at fault and its sad that it keeps the african american community as a whole divided. If we want to see more diversity represented in media in terms of varying hues of blackness portrayed than the emphasis should be placed on creating our own films, ads, magazines, etc or writing the current people in control of the current media. Not being mad or upset at each other about it!!!!!! At some we need to focus on a solution not just the issue

  • erica

    people often accuse others of being bitter and having low self esteem when they don’t have an actual argument. when the choice is given between making ad hominem attacks and admitting wrong-doing people usually choose the former.

  • http://fatfempinup.wordpress.com FatFemPinUp

    yes there is pain associated w/ not being darker but there is also PRIVILEGE and this article….well it doesnt say much about the colorism in the African America community which is inspired mainly by white supremacy and reinforced by ALL of black culture. Light skin is closer to white so it means that light skinned women will always be considered more beautiful and more valuable because that is the nature of our SOCIETY. Light skinned women get more media than any other kind of black woman, more male attention..but its important to remember WHY….. The problem is that we get stuck on colorism bc light skinned people refuse to acknowledge their privilege and dark skinned ppl do not trust light skinned ppl…the root problem is white supremacy which oppresses you regardless of your color and it has effectively keep us at each others throats over a social hierarchy created by that self same oppressor. This is one of those things that keeps us from addressing racism COLLECTIVELY…colorism and sexism has kept the black community from organizing and resisting its own oppressing and it is getting out of hand. It may be easy for me to say this bc I am light skinned but its seriously messed up that we’ve let racism infiltrate our unity …light skinned ppl need to check their privilege and dark skinned ppl need to address their pain, we MUST come together and reject the white supremacist push to define beauty for black people.We MUST reject the white beauty standard PERIOD bc lighter skin will always be more beautiful if we keep going by white supremacist standards. Black women will NEVER meet white beauty standards, but every shade of black is beautiful when black beauty has its own standard.

    Colorism and Sexism are hot button issues in the black community. Black men oppress black women and reinforce colorist beauty ideals by attempting to objectify and place value on lighter skinned women in order to appear more powerful in the eyes of white men/culture and other black men who hold white cultural values as GOD. Sexism….this idea that women are the property of men and the BETTER the woman the more status a man has …FEEDs this problem of colorism …because white men have defined beauty and black men are attempting to regurgitate that image of beauty in order to obtain power. Its sickening and we can’t address one issue without the other…so my question is….where are all the articles addressing the ways in which sexist black men contribute to colorism?

  • tulip

    Its obvious that society validates lighter people however lighter people are not at fault and its sad that it keeps the african american community as a whole divided. If we want to see more diversity represented in media in terms of varying hues of blackness portrayed than the emphasis should be placed on creating our own films, ads, magazines, etc or writing the current people in control of the current media. Not being mad or upset at each other about it!!!!!! Privilege isnt the issue not focusing on the source of it is.

  • erica

    +10000000000000000000

  • Shay

    Thank you. i’m tired of women in general telling me that they thought I would act stuck up because some light skinned chick from 20 years ago made their life a living hell. I struggle with dating, being 100% confident and I’m fat. So to hell with you all thinking that because I’m lighter, life is rainbows and sunshine. IT IS NOT.

  • tulip

    Its obvious that society validates lighter people however lighter people are not at fault and its sad that it keeps the african american community as a whole divided. If we want to see more diversity represented in media in terms of varying hues of blackness portrayed than the emphasis should be placed on creating our own films, ads, magazines, etc or writing the current people in control of the current media. Not being mad or upset at each other about it!!!!!! What would you like a light skin person to do about an entire society that treats them better????

  • Jess

    What’s all this hooey balooey about defending light-skinned Black women from dark-skinned Black women? Black is Black, light or dark. Dark and light skinned Black women treat each other as equals in America. Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett are right up there together, working together, happy and not hating each other. I think Black Americans (particularly the women) are much more intelligent about color issues than Blacks in most of the world. Africans who immigrate to the U.S. tend to look for validation from whites, and Jamaicans do the same.

    Somebody mentioned Lena Horne above(who was light skinned), and I know this much – I’m chocolate, and most of my family is chocolate and when it comes to the entertainment industry, they LOVE LOVE LOVE them some Lena Horne! They told me she was roller! She spoke her mind on racism and never backed down to anyone. Truly a strong, intelligent and beautiful Black woman and inspiration to us all, dark and light.

  • tulip

    Its obvious that society validates lighter people however lighter people are not at fault and its sad that it keeps the african american community as a whole divided. If we want to see more diversity represented in media in terms of varying hues of blackness portrayed than the emphasis should be placed on creating our own films, ads, magazines, etc or writing the current people in control of the current media. Not being mad or upset at each other about it!!!!!! How can light skin people unprivilege themselves for lack of a better word so that we can get along better with our brown skin sistren more?

  • tulip

    Its obvious that society validates lighter people however lighter people are not at fault and its sad that it keeps the african american community as a whole divided. If we want to see more diversity represented in media in terms of varying hues of blackness portrayed than the emphasis should be placed on creating our own films, ads, magazines, etc or writing the current people in control of the current media. Not being mad or upset at each other about it!!!!!! What can we do to un-privilege light skinned black people?

  • DiaShoni

    No, your life isn’t rainbows and sunshine. You do not, however, have to deal with the pain and disregard that darker women do. That’s what a lot of people are saying.

  • 726

    “I never realized colorism was a thing until I was in middle school (thanks to light skin privilege)!” – That’s not light skin privilege

    “We need to shut up, listen, and appreciate when our darker poc tell us what they’ve had to deal and CHECK other folks who try to shit on them.” – We are and have been listening. It’s been the opposite where the brown and dark folks aren’t listening to us telling them we have dealt with colorist issues too.

  • Jess

    How is Gina a detractor?? She’s right! Black women don’t have time for this stupid stuff, which is why most of us don’t engage in it. This article is stupid and many women across the color range respect and admire each other. Talk to the Black men if you feel the need to preach about color prejudice. It’s mainly their issue, not Black womens. BLACK IS BLACK – light or dark, we always have been and always will. If all Black women learned to love themselves and stop looking for validation from self-hating men, we wouldn’t have these dumb conversations. Done!

  • 726

    How do you know what light skin people deal with? You’re not light skin!

  • DiaShoni

    Probably because y’all are trying to make out like it’s all the same, and it isn’t. Maybe try not agreeing with an article that claims what you have to deal with is just like what we have to deal with when, the majority of the time, they will step on our necks to favor y’all.

  • S.

    Light skin women

    Our favorite topic :)

  • Jess

    BLACK IS BLACK – end it people!

    A light skinned Black woman with a stuckup attitude is just a stuckup Black woman, and a dark skinned Black woman with a stuckup attitude is just a stuckup Black woman.

    Society and Black men who only value one skin color just want to weild power over you and hate themselves, so forget them.

    Beautiful Light skinned Black woman = Black woman.
    Beautiful Dark skinned Black woman = Black woman

    Got it?????

  • DiaShoni

    This article could have been very good. There was, however, entirely too much “light-skinned women feel pain just like dark-skinned women to, so you dark-skinned girls need to be quiet.” Yes, there are things we all have to deal with being black women. That does not give anyone the right to ignore the fact that being a light-skinned black woman gives you a leg up over a dark-skinned black woman. Yes, that may be the only person ever that you have an advantage over. It’s still there, and you WILL receive criticism for refusing to acknowledge that.

  • DiaShoni

    Yeah…I’m not light-skinned. I got told I wasn’t black enough because of the way I speak. That’s not something only light-skinned women deal with. Even the darkest person can get told they’re not black enough if they don’t satisfy the blackness police.

  • DiaShoni

    No, I don’t think they need to suck it up. I think they need to not talk about it in terms of comparing their issues to the issues dark-skinned women face.

  • lol

    what a surprise, a dark skin black male coming in to throw his sh!t at darker women.

  • Child, Please

    There are a few things I didn’t know about myself that I learned in this thread: 1) My light-skin makes me more privileged (even though my experiences have dictated otherwise); 2) I think I’m better than people because I’m light skinned (even though that hasn’t come out my mouth; 3) Because I am light skinned, I can’t be a victim of oppression (at lease not systematically) and thus speaking on my “pains” is irrelevant to the topic of oppressed individuals, more specifically those discriminated against due to the color of their skin, but I should recognize that individuals who are darker than me have experienced harsher “pains” than I have and are less privileged, thus deeming them more oppressed than I am and more likely to be discriminated against.

    I guess this makes sense, because theoretically, I would have sat at the front of the bus during the civil rights movement rather than being asked to move to the back. I also wouldn’t even be black (in theory) if it weren’t for the one-drop rule in many states. I guess this would also mean that I would have been a “house slave” (or none at all) because my complexion was favored, but I wouldn’t have been taught to read, write, and do things master’s boys and girls would have done because at the end of the day I was just a slave, like the dark-skinned brethren in the field.

    And yet, I’m more privileged than a dark-skinned black person because I’m light-skinned even though, we faced similar plight and fought in the same trenches. And somehow I’m better because I would have sat at the front of the bus. And somehow I’m not oppressed even though one drop of my blood is viewed as black, deeming me lesser than.

    Yeah, there are a lot of things I learned about myself in this thread. A lot.

  • DiaShoni

    @726: And you’re (apparently) not dark-skinned. You want to explain why it’s ok for some light-skinned women to disregard what dark-skinned women go through in order to prove that “we have pain, too!” but it’s not ok to point out that it isn’t the same? The people claiming light-skinned women don’t experience pain are ridiculous. But, for you to think it’s the same as a darker woman’s pain is equally so.

  • TW

    I think this article really brings to light how historical contexts have pit us against one another. AND it’s truly unfortunate people can’t pity all black women in general, BECAUSE WE ARE ALL BLACK. As I read these comments, I am just shaking my head because we have some issues that we need to get over. So what if you are darker skinned or lighter skinned, we are all affected by white supremacy in America. Regardless of what color you are, you will be affected by racism at least once in your life.

    I definitely feel like this issue of COLORISM should be known more so that we can educate ourselves about how society has created institutions in which one color is favored over one another. AND we need to consciously try to change those things. Not hate one another. Hating on any hue of color will not get NOTHING fixed if we don’t see the bigger picture. Yes, we should be aware that colorism exists and yes we should be taking the necessary steps to educate our children and our communities about it. But these comments really show how much hatred people have in their hearts. Instead of bashing each other, we should take the time to love our blackness and love ourselves. Society can’t do that for us. Going after society’s approval will do nothing.

  • DiaShoni

    You (meaning light-skinned women) really can’t do it. Most of the light-skinned women I’ve dealt with haven’t been the stereotypical stuck ups. You have no control over how society views you in comparison with darker women. You do, however, have control over whether you acknowledge that.

  • Ms. Information

    3 types of lies….lies…damned lies and statistics…………not going to listen to educated archetypes lie even more to divide us………………who judges who is light skinned in the study? Is that not objectionable?

  • S.

    Clutch

    Can we get an open thread on the Jackson family shenanigans? Or at least an article on how the media is portraying them?

    I’m watching Jane Velez-Mitchell and I want to punch this white chick in the face who said Janet Jackson has “NO RIGHT” trying to take away the cell phone from Paris

    Like really, who the f*ck are you trying to tell Janet what she can or can’t do with her niece?

    The White media, I swear…

  • DiaShoni

    “Phuck your feelings…” This is why a lot of light-skinned women are so pissed. You want them to acknowledge they don’t deal with quite the same bullshit they do, but you want to disregard theirs altogether? Ok…

  • DiaShoni

    *quite the same bullshit *you* do.

  • http://templefamiliar.wordpress.com templet00

    great article. weak, prejudiced & rant inducing comments from both sides.

    stop using enslavement of several centuries ago as an excuse to continue behavior that you are FULLY AWARE is hateful & dehumanizing. there are no longer white plantation masters & mistresses chaining you & forcing you to behave like inferior beings.
    stop blaming one group when every one of us is FULLY AWARE that both black men & black women continue to perpetuate crap that we are FULLY AWARE is hateful & dehumanizing.

    correct yourselves & the broken ones around you, people. the excuses show a serious lack of pride, strength, & self-love. in other words, you glorify white people long dead as superior to you & your enslaved ancestors. GTFOHWTS!

  • DiaShoni

    Except…they are black. Why are they all of a sudden not allowed to claim that? Good god. Folks get pissed when black folks claim everything but black, now folks want to get pissed because black folks are saying they’re black?

  • YB

    Some of the comments……….acting like all black people get treated the same…..like colorism doesn’t…..I can’t with these dismissive “all black is black” shits on here…..all the shitty strawmans

    SMH

    *insert face palm jpg. here*

  • 726

    DiaShoni No, I do not want to explain, because I cannot explain to you what are not my own feelings. I don’t believe I said that the pain of light-skinned women was the same as dark-skinned women. I do know that I specifically stated that light-skinned women experience colorist issues too.

  • DiaShoni

    How do you “leave in the past” something that affects your present life?

  • DiaShoni

    @726: Where did I state you didn’t? I said they weren’t the same. I didn’t say you didn’t experience them.

  • 726

    Who are they and whose fault is it that ‘they’ favor us? Come on now. How can you tell people what they can try not to agree with?

  • Kimmie

    I think this article lack a great detail of depth. I am so tired of the dominant discourse about dark skinned black women being about the difficulties of having dark skin. Yes this is part of the discourse-but it certainly not the only story. What about the dark skinned female who never felt slighted or less than because of her darker complexion? Where does her story fit in this mix? Also, we can ask our light skinned / fair skinned isistas to reflect on their privileges, but we (darker skinned) must also realize that it serves no purpose to belittle and demean them. They do not have to be smaller so that darkedr skinned black women can feel better or good about themselves. Frankly, I want to read stories about dark skinned black females who knoew they were the shit early on and the brown skinned black females who get to slide by… LOL!

  • 726

    On an unrelated note – Why do some of the people here always have to insult the writer and/or this site when they don’t agree with something?

  • jamesfrmphilly

    not the devil but a tool of the devil that is used to keep us from uniting……

  • DiaShoni

    I never said it was your fault. I take issue with you not acknowledging it happens, or that it gives you an advantage.

    Also: I wasn’t telling you what to agree with. You can agree with whatever you like. You just don’t get to expect people to not have an opinion on what you’ve agreed with. Especially on a public forum.

  • DiaShoni

    Because it’s easier than discussing the topic. They haven’t figured out that you can disagree without demeaning, or that, if you don’t like the site, you can go somewhere else.

  • http://gravatar.com/deniserena so what?

    No one knows that trouble light-skinned women have seen…Cry me a fucking river. Help, I have a universally favored skin complexion. Won’t someone think of MEEEEEE!

  • http://gravatar.com/deniserena so what?

    EXACTLY. I like this site but fuck this article with a hard dildo.

  • http://gravatar.com/deniserena so what?

    You’re mistaken. Meagan Good is not light-skinned. Tichina Arnold is light-skinned.

  • http://gravatar.com/deniserena so what?

    LMAO these light-skinned tears are hilarious.

  • DiaShoni

    So, this whole thread is proof that lightness and darkness of skin are objective.

  • http://youngheaux.blogspot.com Young Heaux

    Yeah, I don’t agree. Do I get irritated when friends jokingly call me a light bright? Sure. That’s about all I have to deal with. Also, discomfort & internal struggle on the FEW occurrences when men have expressed their “preference” for my skin tone. I don’t feel any real plight as a “light skinned” woman though. I do as a black woman in America, but not for having lighter skin. Now I’m hella curious, what y’all been dealing with???

  • http://gravatar.com/deechagirl Dee

    it’s BLACK MALES that keep this divisiveness going. look online, youtube, any song on heavy rotation by rappers, and interviews.

    i say stop fighting with one another and go to the real source.

    white folks are not all to blame for why this shtt keeps fresh.

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