Colorism 2012: Will We Ever Love The Skin We’re In?

November 26, 2012  |  

“I like a long haired thick red bone. . .” – lyrics from Lil Wayne’s song, “Every Girl”

“#handsdown Light-skinned women usually have better credit than a dark-skinned woman…Broke a** dark hoes…Lol” – A tweet from comedian, Kevin Hart

“I just don’t think that really dark girls are pretty.” – a quote from a “friend”.


What did you say???  Did these statements really come from the mouths of black people living in the 21st Century?  Or have I been whisked into a time machine that’s taken me back to Spike Lee’s movie School Daze where the “Jiggaboos” and “Wannabes” battled it out.

Yes, modern mamas – colorism still exists in the African-American community.  This hateful throw back from the days of slavery when white masters gave preference to their light skinned offspring still clings to us like a nasty virus.  But my question is why?  Why does this type of behavior that offends black women of all shades still exist in 2012?

I believe it’s because we – modern Black moms – allow it to exist.  According to the Chicago Citizen:

Colorism is present in many of our own families.  We allow family members to show favoritism to children in the family who are lighter, while slighting the children who are darker.  And we support entertainers like those mentioned above who say this horrible comments about black women.

The reality is that if we aren’t a part of the solution, then we’re a part of the problem.  And because of our apathy, the problem will continue for generations to come.  Here are some ways that I’m personally working to stop this crazy legacy:

  • I’ll check myself.  I’ll watch my own behavior to make sure that I’m not subconsciously favoring one shade of person over another.  Especially when it comes to my own family.
  • I’ll speak up for my sisters.  The next time I hear someone say “She’s pretty for a dark girl” or anything like it, I will stop them dead in their tracks.  With the utmost respect, I’ll explain to them how this backhanded compliment is really an insult.
  • I’ll support those who are making a difference.  Checking out the documentary “Dark Girls”, a movie about colorism,  ( ) is a great way to start.
  • I’ll educate my daughter.  I’ll make a point of emphasizing to my daughter that her shade of black is beautiful and so is her cousin’s, her friend’s and every other black girl’s that she meets.

I’m sick of this archaic behavior in our community.

Do you believe colorism still exists?

Words by Yolanda Darville

Yolanda Darville is a mom, writer, communications strategist and blogger focusing on philanthropy and empowering women.  Learn more about her on her blog .

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