In my senior year of high school we somehow ended up talking about race in my English class and I began to talk about the pedestal that light skinned black women are placed on compared to darker skinned black women in the black community, and I was sincerely surprised at my classmates’ reactions; they had no idea.
They all began to ask me questions as to why, and the only thing I could offer them was that throughout history the idea of being closer to white, which has been portrayed and perceived as superior in all senses, makes them better. In the black community the saying goes, “light is right.” It is not unusual that a light skinned person marries another light skinned person in order to maintain that skin tone for the future generations of their family.
Here’s something crazy; Howard University—which is a Historically Black College/ University (HBCU), meaning it is a school that specifically prioritizes for a high black student enrollment —but even into the late 60’s early 70’s they required applicants to send a picture of themselves which the school board then compared to a brown paper bag and if the applicant’s skin tone was darker than the brown paper bag they were immediately rejected!
The black community at large knows and accepts the fact that these light skinned individuals’ genes come from the times of slavery; sometimes a white man chose to have a relationship with a slave or as time went on a black woman, or as is most often the case the white slave owner raped his slaves. Even with this negative attachment of being a light skinned black person, many light skinned individuals insist on the idea that they are superior to darker skinned individuals.
Bringing it back to present day life, the only other black girl on my floor is dark skinned but she is a beauty, no exaggeration. Since we’ve been at school so many black guys have told her she is pretty, for a dark skinned girl. Why can’t she just be pretty?! It makes no sense. Anytime a light skinned girl walks into the room, without even seeing her face, black males are programmed to call her cute. I’m sorry but looking good has nothing to do with the color of your skin, you may not be the most beautiful person in the world (in term of society’s definition) —I’m not going to call someone ugly, because everyone is beautiful in their own way— but changing your skin tone will definitely not make you attain that status, by any means.
I know this is a lot to take in but watch the video for an episode on Tyra that shows the true mentality of certain people and you may get a better understanding. I have not really addressed the dark skinned girls’ mentality in this post or the issue of skin tone when it comes to males but those topics are for another post. Please feel free to ask any questions or comment for/against my thoughts.