3 Signs Colorism Still Exists In The Black Community
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

3 Signs Colorism Still Exists In The Black Community

And why it's a problem.

3 Signs Colorism Still Exists In The Black Community

“You’re pretty for a dark skin girl”, he said to me one day as I was shopping in Walmart.

I'm sure there are women of a darker skin complexion that have been told this line at least once on their life. As I received this line a few days ago prior to getting a white chocolate Reese's Cup, this statement hit a nerve. Questions and comebacks were all over my mind about how it rubbed me the wrong way. What does my skin color have to do with my beauty? What do you mean for "a dark skin girl"? A simple "you’re beautiful" would have sufficed. Even though I came out of the store with an irritated attitude, it made me think about how the black community wasn’t making much progress with colorism.

On my way home, I thought of how colorism is one of the most taboo subjects in the black community. We see, hear, and speak about it almost every day in our daily lives. Since then, I could remember there has always been the "battle" of light skin and dark skin women. Even I was caught up in the mix at one point only for the dark skin team. Now it has gotten so deep that they even threw in team brown skin. We all know about this problem but, it has been brought to light in several occasions such as the documentary that can now be found on Netflix called "Dark Girls" and on Oprah Winfrey's channel OWN was an episode called "LifeClass" with Iyanla Vanzant about colorism, which during the discussion, a few light skin women talked about what they face colorism in the black community as well. I thought deeply of this matter and came up with three main reasons colorism is still alive and well in the black community.


Everyone has been stereotyped. For example, having the “resting b*tch face;” which is when are person looks like they are mean mugging you or is always looking upset. Another example would be “You don’t text back, you are such a light skin” or “Dark skins always have an attitude problem and try to fight.” How do you act light skin or dark skin? What are the rules of acting like one? The stigma of light skin women as being stuck up and conceited that breaks every boy’s heart and dark skin women are portrayed as ghetto and overly aggressive.

2. Media

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter doesn’t exactly help the cause either. For example, memes comparing phone carriers with people. The phone carriers that are deemed horrible are represented by dark skin women whose hair is not socially accepted as done and not as attractive in the eyes of the masses. On the other hand, the more popular carriers are represented by women that are lighter skinned wearing make-up, longer hair, and are more attractive according to the masses. As well as other memes floating around Instagram comparing dark skin and light skin. Even ASAP Rocky had a hand in colorism with his interview with "The Coveteur," as he made a comment about dark skinned women and red lipstick, that dark skin women shouldn't wear red lipstick because it is unattractive and light skin women shouldn't wear purple lipstick. In music videos, the main woman is usually a light skinned woman as opposed to a dark skin woman. As seen in Drake's Hotline Bling video, it was mostly light skin women being seen and only one dancer that was dark skin, but her face was covered by a hat.

3. The Black Community

The black community, family, and friends also take a part colorism. From the interviews from the documentary "Dark Girls," the women would say that their mothers, friends and peers would degrade them because of their darker skin tone, for example as little girls people would call them names such as tar baby, gorilla, and mud duck, while as for the men growing up they were taught to talk to the lighter skinned and marry a lighter skinned woman. In the Own Lifeclass episode discussing colorism, a few light skinned women rose to speak about their own hardships with dealing with negative comments of being called redbone and light bright as well as the outside world treating them harshly simply because they are black and go through the same struggles as dark skin women. Everyone has unconsciously added to colorism in some type of form by either in school when there was a time when light skin women were looked more highly upon or arguments about who is the darkest and what "team" they are on.

Even though we as the black community are starting to get a little growth in accepting all shades of blackness as beautiful, we have a long way to go with comparing ourselves with the color of our skin. This dispute is causing a rip in the black community by seeing each other as enemies and trying to be better than the opposing force. Colorism causes young men and women to learn disdain for a certain skin tone, some men and women only date dark skin or light skin people. It’s time to start healing within our black community because no one should here that you’re pretty for a dark skin or light skin. We have to do more than sharing posts about black is beautiful but, to also put it into action by teaching people that we are not in competition with each other on who looks better and start to love one another.

Let’s celebrate our blackness in all the beautiful shades we come in because if we can’t accept us as a whole, how can the outside world?

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments