“Hello, My Name is Light-Skinned”

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So it’s been two months (sorry), and I have so much to blog about! However before I tackle any new topics, I have to tackle this beast called “Colorism” which is the reason why I named my blog what I did.

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It is so unfortunate colorism even exists. I don’t discriminate against people with darker skin tones and never saw them any differently than I saw myself, until it became obvious that they didn’t view me the same way they viewed each other. And I started paying attention. Now, It’s like there’s a whole club of heavily melanated people on social media uplifting and praising each other’s melanin but you can’t celebrate being light-skinned in the same way. Even though you are black, you don’t get to celebrate it. Is that not reverse-colorism? I mean I guess its just called prejudice, but its rarely addressed in my opinion. As a light-skinned woman, you have to take a back seat when it comes to addressing black issues that don’t revolve around colorism and light-skinned privilege, because you aren’t black enough to understand any other black struggles I guess.

I find myself feeling unreasonably weary upon meeting a dark skinned woman. Now, I think dark-skinned women are beautiful! I love getting a tan, I be flexing in my complexion, honey 😂. And if I get the slightest bruise or scar, it’s so obvious 😩. Also, I look horrendous in some colors, like they’re too yellow or they wash me out. I feel like darker women can pull off anything.  And this forehead. 😩 But do I want to be darker? Not anymore. Not because I want to be beautiful according to society. But because I am beautiful according to me. I will never be dark skinned, but it doesnt mean I can’t appreciate the melanin I do have and appreciate my own skin tone too. You can like apples AND oranges. And if you’re an apple, I hope you have some apple friends to relate to!

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Also, I have always been physically attracted to dark skinned men. However, because of society’s beauty standards, it is almost as if dark-skinned men are only attracted to me because they want to “date a light-skinned girl.” That’s annoying. And beautiful dark-skinned women look at me so rudely when I’m with my black ass boyfriend like, “Oh he’s only with her cuz he likes light-skinned girls.” 😂  (Meanwhile, he never really had a preference). (And another thing, finding good lighting for us-ies is a nitemare)! It makes me sad. (Not the lighting, but what I said prior about assumptions and being objectified).  I’m more than just a skin color. Although on the flipside, I have heard light-skinned women are lazy in bed. Hilarious.

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Which makes me wonder: What kind of thoughts/feelings/emotions does the name of my blog evoke for you if you are one of my black readers? I wouldn’t be surprised if you said you thought here would lie the thoughts of someone sensitive, stuck up/”boujie,” or privileged. Those are a few common stereotypes I have seen online and heard from other black people all my life, to describe people who fall within the “light-skinned” complexion category.  Frankly, I’m used to it. Doesn’t mean it’s not irritating. I mean, these are things my daughter will have to face, who I’m raising to be humble.

I want to address what is called the “Willie Lynch” syndrome. I have read that in actuality, the Willie Lynch letter never even existed. I still believe that doesn’t change the fact that the slave mentality that the plantation owner allegedly said he ingrained in his slaves, has a lot to do with why black people struggle with colorism today. To make a long story short:

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This tweet is obviously from 2014 based on the math, so technically here we are 306 years later.

From what many of us learned about slavery, light skinned blacks worked inside of the plantation houses versus their dark-skinned family members outside in the fields. Some people may argue that means that light-skinned blacks had a better experience as slaves. I don’t know about you, but that sounds ridiculous to me. A better experience as SLAVES. Seperated from other family members against their free will. I don’t want parts of any of that at all. That’s like saying, “If you had to choose, would you rather contract Cancer or AIDS?” Hmmm…let me weigh the pros and cons real quick. Seriously, thats how ludicrous it sounds to me. And EVEN IF my light-skinned ancestors had a better slave experience *rolls eyes* did any of them ask for it? Do you think they interviewed for the butler position because all of the cotton-picking positions were taken? And again, EVEN IF THEY DID, what does any of that have to do with my character as a light skinned woman born in 1987?

Now, I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE. To be honest, I love ALL people. It brings me joy to spread love and also, NOT to be a racist. So it’s disappointing to have to say that over the course of my entire life, I have felt more alienated by my own people than people of other races. I was a bright, artistic child. Reading by age 3, winning legit Crayola awards for my art by 8. (Stay with me, there’s a point). Welll the majority of my classmates in my gifted and art classes were white. I was maybe 1 of 4 minorities, 1 of 2 blacks at best. That was until high school, where there was a bigger pool of kids and that number increased by a few digits. The dirty looks and insulting remarks I received from black students all over the school who never got the chance to know me, are not things any child should have to hear. I didn’t understand what I did. I still don’t. I stayed to myself and slept through a lot of my classes, watching the clock when I was awake. A parent might tell you that kids tease you because they’re jealous. But what were they jealous of? My educational experience in a room full of white/mixed/asian/latino kids that I couldn’t relate to? I mean, my family was super poor. My classmates’ families didn’t appear to be. Their hair looked easier to manage than mine. The teachers liked them more and sometimes it was blatantly obvious. I mean the teachers may also have found it disrespectful that I slept in class, but none of them ever bothered asking what was going on at home. (That’s for another blog post). 98% of my classmates didn’t invite me to their birthday parties or care if I sat next to them at lunch. They still picked me last to be in groups. I wanted to fit in somewhere. I wanted to have chocolate skin and relaxed hair. (Why I Wear My Natural Hair now after over a decade of relaxers is also another blog post). I guess I should have been grateful though, because I was surely having a better experience than my black peers. I mean, because I asked to be in gifted classes. (Sarcasm, ok).

I still get told to this day I “talk white.” Excuse my language, BUT WHO THE FUCK INVENTED THAT TERM? Should I feel insulted because I use proper grammar and inevitably adopted speech mannerisms of the people I didn’t choose to spend the majority of my childhood around? I always listened to R&B and Rap music in my household. But I started hanging out with/dating more black people after high school. Different slang and dialect became more integrated into the way I spoke, wrote, and typed. It was like I learned another beautiful colorful language. (Fun fact: I used to be fluent in German). Anyway, I didn’t even feel comfortable using the “N word” until I was like, 18/19. And even now, I only speak “Ebonics” around people I know. I can turn it on and off in a professional setting.

Think about that though: I have to turn it on and off in corporate America. Both ways of speaking represent who I am, my past and my present. But I have to revert to “talking white” per se if I want to get a job. You may have heard of the term “light-skinned privilege.” Basically, it is the idea that I am more likely to get a job position over someone darker than me, less likely to be shot by police officers, more likely to receive positive leading roles in movies and be a leading lady in urban music videos. Other blacks may find me more desirable, as I mentioned earlier. I won’t argue that it exists. I wasn’t born yesterday. It ABSOLUTELY exists. But do I like it? Not at all. Did I ask for it? Well, who asks to be born, much less asks to be born a certain complexion? I have family members, friends, and currently  a significant other, whose complexions are darker than my own. I don’t want them to be target practice, I love them. If they are more qualified for a job than me, I would hope they get it. I’d love to see any of them on the big screen in a leading role. And if there were a white person more qualified for a job position than a light or dark-skinned black person based on criteria other than skintone, then that’s just the way the cookie crumbles! At the end of the day, I never felt privileged in a room full of white people, I just felt black. I have been the only black person in circles quite a few times before because of where my interests led me. It just made me the butt of token black jokes which I awkwardly laughed off but never really found funny. They still found a way to remind me of my blackness as if no one in the room could tell. It made me think, is it worse when I’m not around?

Oh and, let’s stop with the, “Are you mixed” question or just assuming that I am. It’s annoying. If I don’t tell you my race and it isn’t the topic of discussion, why do you need to know? And if you know I identify as black, (you do now) please don’t call me white. It’s not funny. I wanna reitetate this- I have nothing against white people. But I’m black. It’s no different than me asking not to be called a father. I could never be a father no matter how hard I tried. I have never felt a father’s feelings. Not for nothing, being light-skinned and not feeling like you fit anywhere at times is frustrating enough. And if you have 1 too many light skinned friends, you’d look prejudiced. But it would kind of make sense, because you naturally migrate towards people who might understand a struggle people who are dark skinned wouldnt understand. Again, unfortunate because we shouldn’t see each other as different at all.

And I couldnt imagine being mixed.  I see all the backlash they get. I see uproar about them being chosen for television or movie roles that the black community want someone who “looks blacker” to play. Who helps a mixed person when they’re experiencing an identity crisis? Do you seek out mixed friends? How? Mixed could mean so many things! (I’d be interested in your comments. My 13 year old sister actually has a white father).

In conclusion, if you still think I’m sensitive, stuck up, or privileged- You’re not 100% wrong. I’m a Cancer and I’m an artist, so Im sensitive about my shit. I also have depression (yet another blog post lmao).  I can see how people might view me as stuck up because in a public setting, I’m reserved at first while I observe my surroundings. I also am selective about who I exchange energy with and I realize I am not obligated to talk to someone if I don’t want to. And I don’t care how they feel about it. That has nothing to do with me being light-skinned though. Honestly I’m humble, and spent too much of my life feeling insecure in my looks and my abilities to be stuck-up. Am I boujie? Sometimes I guess. I like nice things, expensive settings, etc., but in all honestly I’m a simple girl. I like chicken nuggets more than steak. I know more about markers and baby hairbows than designer shoes and handbags. (I like them too though, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not the boujie-est person I know).

56blogsstillcrazy-when-u-take-her-to-a-nice-restaurant-for-14020947.pngAnd am I privileged? I don’t feel privileged, but I recognize that my skin color holds a certain amount of weight in certain situations. However, I don’t think it makes me better than a dark-skinned person. In all honesty, I hate it because I don’t want it and I don’t like the way I’m treated or spoken to/about because of it. If you ever wondered how a light-skinned black person feels about being light-skinned, I can’t speak for all of us. Just wanted to speak my truths with no interruption. Finally.

Please, comment! No matter what race you are. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is interested in what you have to say, and everyone is looking for someone to relate to. If I offended anyone, it wasn’t my intention. I understand sometimes you have to just agree to disagree but there’s always room for growth through knowledge. Thank you for reading!

 

4 thoughts on ““Hello, My Name is Light-Skinned”

  1. You Should be a magazine columnist!!! I think a lot of people out there would appreciate your thoughts on these matters, and a lot more would like to learn about these debates. Very intriguing.

    • Thank you so much Jeff! I wrote a few articles for a local urban magazine back in 2011 or 2012 but the magazine was short lived and the topics didn’t really give me a chance to shine. Hopefully my blog opens different opportunities for me that will reach a larger audience. I appreciate your comment!

  2. Hey girl! Or I should say Lady… I love your hair, I love your words, and I miss you! Keep writing, you have a voice. –MK

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