The Color Game

Miss USA Crystle Stewart and stock footage of a black American model. To the left a black doll, popular in the late 1970s, early 80s. It belonged to my oldest sister. Could a dark skin black women ever wear the sash?

When Crystle Stewart was named Miss USA, one of the few black winners of either Miss USA or Miss America, I found myself contemplating the history of colorism in black culture. Specifically my history of colorism.

Growing up no one in my house talked about skin color. It wasn’t an issue. We were told we were all black and based on the fact that I was not treated nicely at school, not as nicely as the two lightest girls in my class were, I concluded that I was not light-skinned.

I was, and still am, very proud of being black. But even at the age of 10 I was disturbed at how my peers were expressing their views of blackness.

I can remember waiting in line for lunch and hearing girls go on and on about how they were going to marry a white man so they could have “pretty babies.”

Everyone was obsessed with skin tone, which I’d say is black America’s number three obsession behind racism and class. It’s not entirely our fault. We all knew the rhyme.

If you’re white, you’re all right

If you’re yellow, you’re mellow

If you’re brown, stick around

If you’re black, get back!

This isn’t just some fantasy. It’s burned into our DNA from birth. We are told our value is in our skin tone, that it is a signifier.

Four years after the “pretty babies” talk, I learned that I was not as dark as I thought I was. I was friends with a girl who I thought was “high yellow” and one day we compared our arms on the bus. I was horrified to find our arms were almost the same color. So I suffered from a junior high color complex. I was caught between hating the fact that I was not, in fact, brown, yet at the same time coveting the hair of a biracial girl who had perfect, brown ringlets. When she straighted them with a relaxer I was horrified. How could she destroy what I always wanted?

But there was nothing wrong with my own hair. It was long. Easy to straighten and thick. And I became obsessed with the length and thickness as more and more people commented on it, loving it and coveting it themselves. I later developed a severe hair complex to go with my skin complex.

In junior high, high school and even college people wondered if I was biracial because they only saw my mother and she, despite having two black parents, could look very South Asian at times. They assumed my dad, with his forever afro and dark skin must be white since they’d never seen him. And a few people assumed he was our gardener because he worked in our yard so much.

Because my mother immersed me in black culture and history as a toddler and beyond, I was rather militant and protective when it came to what I thought people should know about my people. I was also militant about what I was/am. On one hand, I pinned for a West African culture that was alien to me. On the other, I pinned for the esteemed blacks who strove for intellect and excellence in spite of a racist society. But I also wondered why I had to be stuck on the color continuum. If I couldn’t be blacker than black, why weren’t I as pale as my great-great aunts, who I had the pleasure of knowing before they passed. Educated and proud of being black, they both looked like white women and had long, wavy hair. But they were from the same family that produced my dark father. It was confusing to me at the time, further agitating my conflicting feelings about skin color and hair.

When I went to college, I was mentally a militant. When someone told me that the rumor on campus was that I was a light Puerto Rican or some form of tragic mulatto, I snapped. They’d meant it as a compliment. But I took it as an insult. I wrote an editor’s column at my college newspaper about this racial confusion declaring that if anyone ever again asked me if I was mixed I would answer that I was mixed with “slave master.”

And I did just that, freaking out quite a few people.

But my militancy did not prepare me for love. My first serious boyfriend was very light and overly enamored with himself. He only liked other light skinned people. He was proud of his straight hair. He bashed “lower class” blacks. Calling people in the ghetto lazy, welfare miscreants. And he had little sympathy for anyone and anger at being lumped in with the lot of blackness.

He hated black history, even though he went to Morehouse University, arguing that the slaves were “stupid” because they did not fight for their freedom, but waited to be freed. I remember getting into an argument with him about it and actually started crying because I was so hurt, in pain for ancestors I’d never known. And it stung especially so, as I loved him and he was so ignorantly wrong.

He told me how much he loved my hair. He hated it when I didn’t wear it down. He hated it when I wore it natural. He hated to see me without make up. I was a trophy he showed off to his friends. But I felt awful. I didn’t feel any pride in being light complexioned. In my family I did not become this way because of loving relationships between white and black people. Both sides of my family were marked with rape. How could I be proud when I knew this was the end result of my ancestors being taken against their will, repeatedly, only to bare “white” children? Where was the pride in that?

But he didn’t care. We were “light.” We were better than other black people. And he said he’d dump me if I
ever cut my hair.

I’d like to say my drama with black men and my hair/skin tone died after I dumped Mr. Light Bright And Almost White. My next boyfriend was very dark, but he too was obsessed. He was controlling and strangely jealous, angry at me because he felt white people treated me differently. Going on and on about the beauty of dark women, but dating me. Then later one day, in a moment of weakness, he talked about his crush on a white girl as a child and his youthful dream of one day having a light skinned girlfriend with long hair. This was a stark contradiction from a man who was going on and on about my “processed” hair and how I should cut it off and go natural.

When I later did cut my hair and go natural, something I’d been wanting to do since I became aware that my hair obsession was unhealthy, he balked. I was not pretty to him anymore. He still went on and on about the beauty of India Aire and bashed Halle Berry, said people were unjustified in saying Whoopi Goldberg was ugly, yet he was with me.

Needless to say, we aren’t together anymore either.

Moschino image from Make Fetch Happen

But that’s how bizarre we are. How divorced we are from ourselves. How we tell ourselves that we love dark women and that they are beautiful. But when you open magazines, they are not there. When you turn on the television, they are not there. When you go to the movies, look at the runways, turn on the music videos, they are not there. You’re lucky if you even see a girl with two black parents like myself. It is almost always a mixed girl, that perfect blend of light skin and the “right” kind of curly hair.

We say we love one thing, but then we do another. And it’s because it is so ingrained, beginning with that first black skin doll my mother bought for my sister in the 1970s. The one that was “for us.” The only one she could find to buy. How that doll was us and we should embrace her, but when we went out into the world everything said reject her. Reject that black doll. Reject the black skin. Reject the black girl. Reject black people.

I know that I suffer from this dual consciousness. This pathology. And if others are honest, they will recognize that they suffer from it as well. This is something that must be unlearned by everyone. There should not be dark black girls pinning for “pretty babies.” There should not be light skinned people proud of their paleness as if it made them better or special. There should not be dark skinned men swearing their allegiance to dark women, but marrying the lightest woman they could find.

I had a younger cousin call me and my sisters “white” because we were the lightest people he knew. I had a little girl in Arkansas beg to touch and comb my hair. She told me how she did this to the white girls in her class and how she wished she had long, straight hair like them. I felt ashamed of who I was, of my hair. I wished for the days back when I didn’t know this because my parents didn’t make it an issue. My grandparents didn’t make it an issue.

When I was very little, my father saw me coloring all the Barbies in my Barbie coloring book white. He didn’t scold me. He asked if he could color with me and he colored his Barbie brown with black hair. It blew my five-year-old mind. It never occurred to me that I didn’t have to color Barbie white. And my father’s Barbie was so different and so beautiful that I colored nothing but black people from then on. When I noticed my baby sister doing the same thing, I did for her what my father did for me. I didn’t tell her she was wrong. I simply showed her that she had other options. People, dolls, toys, beauty could look like her. She had the option and she took it. Like me, it was only black people to draw from then on.

My parents corrected me. They reeducated me. They did the best they could before the ignorance of the world enveloped me, looking like Vanessa Williams with straighted noses like Janet Jackson. Before the snow on television became so blinding that I’d too want to look like Jennifer Aniston and shun anyone darker than a paper bag.

I wish more black people would talk about this. It is such a scarring pathology and all the “black is beautiful” slogans in the world can’t over power a hatred that runs so deep we deny it’s even there. The love/hate towards light skinned people. Light skinned people bashing dark skinned people. Dark skinned people bashing the light skinned people. And everyone hating everyone. Everyone looking for racial qualifiers, for proof that they are truly “down.”

This shouldn’t be happening. We try to hide it but the self-hatred still shows.

Until we deal with that pathology, “black is beautiful” is a myth. The children’s rhyme remains true. And a river of people will claim to love a black girl, pine for a mulatto and eventually drop all pretenses and wrap their arms around whiteness, hoping it will rub off and finally make them pretty and clean. Finding light women attractive, liking spiral curls or straight hair, marrying a white person does not make you less black. But looking down on and denying the beauty of black does.

We need a mental immolation to cleanse ourselves of these demons. To set the pains of the past ablaze and watch those plantation gradations turn to ash. We need to destroy the racism within the black race. We need to take our ancestral hatreds, lock them in the plantation house and watch as Tara burns to the ground.

45 thoughts on “The Color Game

  1. My people are from New Orleans and my sister is your exact color and has your hair texture and she was tortured in school for being “dark” and “nappy”. When we moved to Georgia, she suddenly became a stuck up “high yella bitch” with “good hair”. Weird. Black folks are just weird about color. But I still don’t think we’re half as colorist Latinos. No way. Most will never acknowledge their African heritage.

  2. dewfish: Thanks. I just know that EVERYONE has to deal with this at some point. Might as well talk about it.anonymous 11:32 am: The Latinos often seem in deep denial about their issues in relation to color. I think it’s because they were allowed to separate into different racial “classes” where America’s racism did not allow any new racial categories. Blackness was too “taboo.”But I still can remember folks trying to deny a black Miss Venezuela her prize a few years back because she was “black” skinned. Telemundo is allergic to reporters/actors who don’t look white. But America is considered to be the center of all racism. Go figure.

  3. This is absolutely beautiful. You are such a talented young woman.I am Mexican-American. I also embraced the blonde dolls in my youth, and I see my sisters do it. That we would reject the doll that looks more like ourselves is tragic, and I have no doubt that our perception of pretty was malformed before anyone could right it.My mother is Mexican but guera, with hazel eyes, and my father is black-haired and brown-eyed like me. It wasn’t until I moved to Seattle that I began hearing “what are you?” on a regular basis, sometimes coupled with wild guesses like Brazilian or Pacific Islander. I can’t explain to everyone the racial mashup that is Mexico, so I leave it at Mexican unless I have an especially receptive audience. Another of the bloggers I read wrote about fielding those questions <A HREF="“ REL=”nofollow”>on the bus out here.And still, media and entertainment seems less rejecting of latina raíces (though white features are still celebrated) than dark skin on women. Thank you for calling it out.

  4. This was great.As far as there being dark-skinned beauty pageant winners, Kenya Moore’s the darkest pageant winner that comes to mind and she’s gotta a curvaceous figure to boot. I’m still surprised that she won cuz her look’s antithetical to the Euro standard of beauty.Now, throughout high school and my early years in college, I had issues with being dark-skinned. When I wasn’t being reduced to a piece of meat by men, I was invisible. When I was visible, I was made to feel as though I was “acting White.” I really don’t know which one is worse amongst the three.Because of those experiences, I always felt paranoid around Black people. I felt like my people just rejected me cuz I didn’t fit some Americanized mold of beauty or Blackness.Every once in a while, I feel a little uncomfortable with my skin but I’m not in the same place that I used to be.

  5. We are so messed up in our self image that I don’t know how you can change it.I’ve know lighter skinned folks like your ex-boyfriend and I’ve met light-skinned folks who the most militant folks on race and skin color I’ve ever met.A friend of mine who comes from a family whose background is so infused with European blood that she and her cafe au lait skinned mother are considered dark cursed me out when I even mentioned the fact of her obvious European heritage. She’s black and that’s it!Now that isn’t to say that I don’t understand why she would be so against indentifying with her white heritage (because lord knows I’m not proud of my own) but I can’t believe we can ever stop having a brown bag test as a permanent part of our thinking if we can’t face up to the totality of our history.The African, European and Native American roots that make blacks in this country who we are and understanding all that entails.Because I do not feel that black who are light, dark or in between would feel a sense of shame, guilt, or self-hatred if we could get some honest conversation about ourselves.We know so little about who we are that the gaps are filled with racist nonsense.

  6. I often hear Black people tell of their being forced into color-awareness as small children. My experience was totally different. I went to a very, very racially mixed elementary and middle-school. I can’t remember any discussions of skin tone amongst the Black children or anyone else.I, during those years, just thought of my self as me. Not Black me but just me.I really didn’t begin to contemplate race until my junior year in high school. That came from reading books that were dealing with race.I have my mom to thank for my race-free early schooling. She chose those schools for me rather than sending me to the schools I was zoned to go to.And on the subject of those two guys you dated; what attracted you too them? They seemed to have serious self-hate issues.Monie

  7. vanessa: Thanks Vanessa. When I was in California I befriended quite a few Mexican American women who had experiences similar to yours. We would watch Univision and talk about how the “bad” girl in the soap was always the brown one, if they had a brown one at all.It was just bizarre. Especially considering most Mexicans who immigrate to America are from Northern Mexico where they have a lot more similar traits to Native Americans indigenous to that region. It was a little odd to watch TV and see nothing by Daisy Fuentes looking women and no one who looked like the hordes of Mexican Americans I knew in California.Hollywood will put more brown looking Latina’s on TV (ie, “Ugly Betty” and “Prison Break”), but they’re still a lighter shade of brown. American television is still confused as to how to use a Latino who looks black outside the realm of Major League Baseball.anonymiss: Kenya Moore was that rare exception. I thought about her too as I was typing the story. She’s gorgeous, but her beauty isn’t celebrated in the mainstream because she is too “black” looking. A similar thing happened to all the non-biracial female actors on “A Different World.” I knew TONS of brothers who loved Dawnn Lewis but as beautiful as she is she struggled to get any work after the series ended.She was “too black.” She was too curvy. Her lips were full and her eyes were big and she was beautiful but Hollywood had no use for her.The skin color drama will make you want to withdraw from it altogether. When I was in California it almost wasn’t an issue at all. But my fear is always that I don’t seem “black enough.”I’m obviously an educated, middle class kid so I can’t even fake the patois of the inner city yough or the slang of the dirty south. As soon as I open my mouth a judgment is rendered by some that I am either “uppity” or “acting white.”Plus as I moved up higher in professional circles I grew further apart from a lot of black people. So I feel a lot of guilt for not being able to relate to about 60 percent of black folks.baltogeek: The color game is definitely an illness that affects everyone. My white looking aunts were insulted if you called them ANYTHING but black. They were proud of being black. But, like I wrote, their paleness was rooted in shame so I can’t blame them for being so militant about it.But to still being going through this now is rather tragic in itself.

  8. monie: Per the crappy boyfriends, there were a lot of factors at play there.I was attracted to the first guy because he was so smart, seemed “gentlemanly,” was cute and said he went to “Morehouse,” which sounded beyond fascinating when I was 18. The second guy pursued me relentlessly for two years. We had little in common, but I think I was trying to “prove” something in that relationship. He seemed like a “good” man at the time and I felt I was unfairly snubbing him because he did not dress or behave in a manner I typically found attractive. (He was a Marine. He wore nothing but Wu Wear and fatigues. He listened to nothing but Wu-Tang and collected Dragon Ball Z figures. We had NOTHING in common.)In a nutshell, I attract egotists. I attract narcissists. It’s a reflection of my own insecurities, especially the ones I had when I was 19 and 21 years old. I was an enabler. I validated their egos with my behavior. I did not know or understand myself. They seemed so self-assured. The seemed strong and confident. Nice guys that I did like didn’t ask me out for whatever their personal reasons were. Maybe they weren’t attracted to me. Maybe they were shy. Maybe the were like most guys in college and didn’t want to get involved in me because I was not a one-night-stand sort of girl. My knees were practically sewn shut. I was repeatedly told I was the sort of girl you married, not fooled around with.So I basically clung to the first two guys who had the stones to ask me out but didn’t look like those grungy whores who ask every girl out.There was more going on there and I may at some point elaborate on it. But I did correct by behavior to prevent a three-peat and the last guy I dated was WONDERFUL. But it didn’t work out because of religious differences. Plus, it was the wrong timing as I was still all kinds of bitter from the last relationship. Total bummer.But I will write about it someday.

  9. This is a really moving, honest post. Thank you for taking the time to write it and to share it with all your readers.

  10. I just want to give a Hispanic/Latino point of view on this subject. The same feeling that The Black Snob felt are what Hispanics feel also. Our skin color is one of more defining feature besides our “passion”. Just look what is on T.V. these days. All of a sudden you are seeing Hispanics all over the place. (The lighter skin tone ones) Being brown is what is in. With every white women running to the Spray Tanning place to be that so-called perfect shade of brown. It just funny to me when I see these orange ass women walking around thinking that they are so cute and tan! * Shaking my head in disbelief *Unlike you, Black Snob, I am very proud of my skin color! If I was Black, Asian or White I would be extremely proud of myself! I am proud because I was given the privilege to be born and in my eyes I am perfection. (Excuse my vain nature) Life is gift that should be cherish and embraced regardless how we come out! If you are Black, Be Proud. If you are Hispanic, Be Proud. If you are Asian, Be Proud… Now let me be honest here, in the Hispanic culture you get a lot of racism just based on slight difference of skin color. The lighter tone Hispanics ALWAYS feel that they are better then ones who might be slightly darker. Why? I wish I could give you a reason but I just can. It seems to be part of their nature. Just look at my own family, every time we go back home my family always pushes on me, lighter skin tone women to date. So we could make some of those “pretty babies” and that just sickens me because both my Mom and Dad are my exact skin tone and they want me to date a white women or light skinned Hispanic. Where is their sense of pride? I do agree with you on how important skin color is to Black Women. I have dated my few share of black women and everyone single one of them had a strong opinion of their skin tone, either it being a positive or negative one. I actually had one girlfriend tell me that she only dated me because “together we would make the cutest babies” I for one can’t understand why anyone would rather be something else, instead of being happy of who they are. You know what; I take back my last statement. I do know why societies, especially little Hispanic & Black kids are so self conscious of their appearance! It is the media and their ridicules standards of beauty. All in all these feelings of insecurities are within all of us and it is up to us to make sure we get above them. Remember that we are perfection and the differences we have is what truly makes us special.

  11. Great post! I love your writing style.I never had an issue with my skin color; I’m somewhere in between. But I did get: the hair gene.You know that gene right? The one where you cut your hair in Jan and by March it’s back down to your shoulders?I got teased all the time when I was younger because not only did I have long hair, I didn’t have a relaxer (Mom didn’t believe in them for little girls).So I spent elementary school getting my hair pulled and being told I thought I was cute because I had long hair.Fast forward 15+ years later and I’m back to the long hair. But this time, no one pulls it. They now ask me if it’s real!

  12. geovanny: I really appreciate other people chiming in on colorism issues in other ethnicities. With a Western beauty standard, it pops up in all sorts of places.I proud of being “black,” but I feel like I can’t be proud of being a red-bone, golden brown, high yella whatever I am because of the stigma related to light-skinned blacks historically treating darker skinned blacks like they’re unattractive or worse, like they’re shameful. Since my family comes in a variety of shades it always seemed weird to celebrate it. Especially given the historical roots of it I mentioned in the piece. I wish I could be more accepting, but I don’t think I could do that and not catch flack from people who’d see my “yay for being light brown” talk as “boo, black sucks.”But that’s America for you. Racism will make you crazy.texasladybird: I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I too have the fast gro hair. And I too would get the “is it real” questions when it was straight. I’ve had some people be rather indignant about it. The worst was when I was 13 and a girl at my lunch table whose hair had been ruined by getting a perm too early lashed out at me, telling me a perm would cause my hair to fall out too. She was just so hurt and I didn’t know what to say. So I think it was my hair that confused people. Most black folks did not believe that two parents who were not mixed and did not have straight hair could produce children with such long hair.

  13. This is a really great post. Thank you for your honesty.When I was little, I never really thought about the colour of my skin in the colour spectrum way. My brother, sister and I were all in Florida and outside all of the time so we were all quite brown.(I remember asking my mother at a very young age… maybe 5… why we were called Black People. I’d noticed that my skin, no one’s skin that I knew, matched the black crayon in my 64 pack of Crayola. I and my siblings we a mixture of sepia, siena and mahogany, and than she was a mixture of sepia and apricot and daddy was a nice solid brown and sepia. But truly he was the colour of brownies. I used to wish that Crayola made a brownie crayon. She said, “We are Black People with brown skin. Black is the race, brown is the colour. Your white friends don’t match the white crayon, do they?” No. They were usually closer to peach.) I remember the first time I became aware of the colour spectrum. I was 11. We’d moved to CT where my mother’s family was and my Grandmother used to comment all the time about our colour and hair texture. I remember being shocked and very hurt when she said that she’d always hoped that maybe my mother wouldn’t marry my father because he was so dark and his whole family was dark and his hair was so nappy. But that I am my brother were lucky because even though we were brown we weren’t as dark as our younger sister. Now… I didn’t even know what to do about that. I’d always coveted my sister’s complexion. It was smooth and brownie coloured like daddy. It made me wonder if the colour of our skin, particularly my sister’s, colored my Grandmother’s feelings for us.My grandmother is a fair woman with fair hair. She married a fairish man and had children that span the spectrum. (All of her daughters just happened to marry men browner than them.) My grandmother honestly believes that a woman’s hair looks best straightened and is no stranger to lightening cream.She still talks with dismay about how my mother cut off her “good hair” in the 60’s to wear her hair in an Afro. She hates the picture of my mother (which just happens to be my favourite one) taken when she was pregnant with me with her Afro combed out so big that casts its own shadow. My grandmother’s response when I finally decided to lock my hair up was, “I don’t know why you want to run around all nappy-headed like them Africans.” I’ve had my locks for nearly 10 years now and every time I see her, without fail, she’d taken to pulling them (quite hard) and sort of… hmphing. She’s beside herself that the rest of the ladies in the family have now locked their hair up too.….So the spectrum is something that I think about and really try and work hard on my feelings about it.Sometimes I feel a little bit funny about the fact that I’m going to marry a white woman. (There’s a lot more there than just the colour spectrum and this is not the time.) Sometimes I worry if all of my grandmother’s talk has gotten to me and I wonder what this will mean for our child (who I sincerely hope is brown). And I’m working on it. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one.So thanks for putting yourself out there so openly and really giving me something to think about.

  14. Thank you for being honest I like the part about the boyfriend being two faced about colour.As long as men are still having a fetish about light skinned girls then the situation will not change. Hip hop has fuelled the flames because on those videos it is light skinned women who are featured.This is a brave post.

  15. PuckFinn: My parents (and grandmother and a few cousins) had a similar reaction when I went natural. They were a bit more understanding, but it took them awhile to get used to seeing me without straight hair. My mother prefers my hair straight so she’s ALWAYS happy when I straighten it out with a hot comb for, like, five minutes. Per the self-doubt, did the colorism seep into my brain, I’ve been there two (and technically, I’m still there.) When I was younger (a teenager) I wouldn’t even acknowledge that any men but black men were attractive. As I grew older and created a more diverse base of friends I relaxed some on those beliefs. But I’m still constantly questioning myself.Sometimes you have to push it all aside and just do what makes you happy. We shouldn’t feel forced into any sort of box. We should follow our hearts and minds. But that’s difficult to do when all that baggage is still sitting there, filled with guilt, disappointment and antipathy. There are a pair of invisible eyes in head watching my every racial move. Ready to scream “self-hating sellout” whenever I make what should have been a non-political decision.In black America EVERYTHING is political. Even hair. Even love. Some folks can turn anything into a test of your blackness.dawkinswatch: The fawning over the biracial video girl is really getting exhausting for me. It flies in the face of all the empirical evidence of brown or darker skinned women who are universally recognized as attractive. Like Gabrielle Union or Naomi Campbell or Iman. It’s incredibly stupid. I tire of this fetishism as well. Grow up, rappers. Catch a clue.

  16. Hey,I was always aware of my skin color. I had uncles and cousins who in the 60s, were some of the most militant folks around. And yet, the same uncle ( one in particular) married the LIGHTEST skinned woman he could. My mom asked me one year what I wanted for X-Mas; I told her I wanted the new Malibu Christie doll. That doll was the bomb! She was the black version of the barbie doll, and I was the only one of my friends who had one. Later on, much to my mom’s horror; I cut out my Jheri-Curl so I could wear the same cut Grace Jones wore.My family hated it. To death.Eventually, I gave up the natural for dreads. I’m even trying to convince my cousin BaltoGeek to grow her locks (she has beautiful hair; it would lock like crazy). I guess what I am trying to say is that growing up in a family with such strong black nationalist roots gave me a source of pride about my dark skin. Shucks, I even have a friend who I am sometimes insanely jealous of because she is about 2 or 3 shades darker than I am. One of my aunts is dark skinned and absolutely gorgeous. I just think that who are who you are at the end of the day. Just be proud of who you are. Period.

  17. Oh, and Snob;East Indians are definitely more color struck than any race of folks I have ever seen in my life. Tyra’s model show had the beautiful Indian girl on there ( Anshul?), and she was darker than most of us, and even she said that other Indians find the darker ones less attractive than the lighter ones. She said in her culture, being dark has negative connotations ( sound familiar?). We are all colorstruck!

  18. Deedlelee: First of all, Grace Jones! That’s fierce!And I’m not surprised by the East Indians. I learned about some of that in history in regards to how the British treated the lighter complexioned Indians to their darker brethren. And since the lure of Westernized beauty has escaped no one, it’s no surprise that nearly all the stars in Bollywood are light brown. I’ve never seen a dark Indian in anything other than news/documentary footage.

  19. Hello just flying through but had to stop and say this was a hell of a post. A great read, I always cringed when ever the topics of skin tone came up with my friends, I always thought it was childish, but failed to ralize how you can carry this into adult hood.

  20. I’m all about solutions. What advice would you give to the young woman/man who is still dealing with the issue of colorism? What would you suggest he/she read or listen to? Unfortunately, your dad isn’t “everyman.” You’re fortunate.

  21. Great post and thanks for your honesty on this issue. I am mixed and hate being what corresponds to the blond of black women. The objectification and racism in it are just icky. I think things have definitely improved since even the 90s but it’s still there. It is really disappointing for me that even now that I wear my hair natural I still get the “ooh, you have good hair comments” – I thought that was what the natural hair world was exactly not supposed to be about. But I think it’s a minority of people who still think like this – at least in the DC area. And even being a light skinned mixed person doesn’t mean I am unaffected. I look a lot like Lisa Bonet but often got comments from black and white people that they’d never guess I was half white (even though I think I look rather typically mixed but hey that’s America for you) so as a pre-teen I wished I was just slightly lighter so people could see more easily that I was half-white. But by the time I hit college I was all militant and if someone said “I would never guess you were half-white” I was all like “what, should I have one lock of blond hair? Should I have blue eyes? Please tell me what I should look like!” I was not bitter those days… ha ha!But now I don’t care about this anymore and call myself a mixed black person because I identify strongly as mixed but also black and just don’t have the energy to care if other people see me that way. Any way, I love the not-black-black-person label you came up with. That’s how I feel 🙂

  22. anonymous 8:29am: I think if I had to give any advice is to probably reach out to someone you trust to talk them about this. Someone who’s not going to judgmental or accuse you of being prejudice in some sort of way.I’d also say to challenge your perceptions. (Like when I cut my hair, but that can be a bit extreme for some women.) To explore what you think is beautiful and why. To analyze if you are making choices based on color or logic.And lastly, you have to set some of it free. It’s miserable to feel trapped, constantly questioning your every move and intention. After awhile you have to become comfortable in yourself and other black people (and white people and Latino people, etc.) You have to unlearn the burden of colorism and stop worrying what others may think and do what makes you happy.So educate, evaluate, then elevate above the drama.anonymous 8:49 am: The “what are you” melodrama is a pain in the ass. I’ve been there a-many of times. It looks like you worked through well and I think you’re doing the right thing by not allowing others to dictate who you are. You’re following your own path.And I’m glad you like the term not-black-black-person. I thought it was appropriate for people who don’t deny their black heritage, but don’t necessary feel they have to be called black. Think everyone has the choice to define themselves. This isn’t the 1800s. Just because America still acts like there is a one-drop-rule at times, you don’t have to buy into it. You can appreciate both your cultures and be able to relate to the black experience. I’m pretty non-judgmental in this area.

  23. great post black snob…there’s alot of discussion on the blogs these days about light and dark, creoles and good hair bad hair..i’m just going to say that i’m black and proud and happy to be nappy..;)

  24. Okay, I get a latepass on this one. Great post though. I had never heard that rhyme “Brown stay around, Black Get Back” or however it went. I am conflicted on so many things involving my blackness. I’m only 21 and have met the majority of non-familial black people that I know post 18. I sometimes wish I had grown up in a more diverse area… I mean, it’s more diverse now but it has not helped me face some of the craziness of the black life. When I was younger (mostly Lousiana Life) people thought I was light and “red” but not “high yella” but in Maryland I was “caramel” (except for one Lite Brite boyfriend who considered me dark skinned) and then in Atlanta (the darkest I had ever been) at CAU people thought I was a Dominican. They were in love with my long pretty curly hair (that I’ve recently cut off!) and since I wasn’t a lite brite I guess I had to be Dominican? Ridiculous? I know mad Dominicans with “nappy” hair. I can’t say I’ve witnessed A LOT of colorism between black people but lately I’ve been noticing a lot of “he’s good looking for a dark man” and “Eventhough that baby is mixed, it’s still ugly.” I don’t understand this mentality. I was not raised this way. :/

  25. AMEN AMEN AMEN.Tell it. Man, am I feeling this. I am at work so I can’t get into it like I want, but thank you…I am mad folks wont see this truth too….thank you.

  26. It seems in the media, everyone is suffering from that skin tone, beige, light brown!Very good blog, your a very good writer.In another post,I was talking about how I look white/ Rashida Jones style.I always wanted to be darker, and have curly hair. I mean its a commont thing, that people want what they don’t have, but mine was because I wanted to look more black and ‘prove’ my blackness in my mxed heritage so many people questioned.When I was younger I didnt like blonde barbie, this might of been an influence from my mum who used to take me to activist stuff and had malcolm x and bob marley on the walls, I actively asked for one. It seemed to me, my dad is white but his whole lifestyle was just so black, he was into reggae etc…he adopted the culture more than his ‘white culture’. Mixed race girls were always seen as ‘pretty’ at school and also hated, but I so wanted to be the same skin tone as them. I never had a problem with peoples skin tone at all, I was colour blind until secondary school, around 14 when everything was shit. Now I accept my colour, but I stil lget labelled a try hard, please people why don’t you talk to me I would never label someone like that and tell them that they are ‘acting black’ or lying and saying they are mixed race! wtf is that about? do u hear yourselves?

  27. what i meant was, that i asked for a black barbie, and 3 people bought me one that year, i was 9 i had an uncomfortable experience last year. A ‘dark skinned’ black girl at my work (whom i always thought was very pretty) made a comment to me and got it me mad.i said in my last post that i dont think i judge ppl by colour, well i probably do, as everyone cant escape from this whole race thing, but i suppose wot i meant was that i was always accepting and would never not be friends with someone from a different/’race’ (this word is evil!)/culture, infact i embrased it.Anyways, one evening we all sat down after finishing and someone mentioned how stacie (a pale blonde haired white girl) was the ‘minority’ as she was the only white girl there (i think there was about 10 of us, an assortment of asian,black,mixed,purple…)and how decades before it would of been opposite. A this point this work colleague (the black girl) said ‘No Natoyas white’ and someone said ‘no shes mixed race’. Then she said ‘no your white’ and then I said ‘well my mums jamaican & Irish, and my dad english & cypriot, we had this conversation before remember?’she said ‘well your stillwhite’then I said ‘no im mixed race, i dont normally used that word, because i personally dont like the whole ‘race’ labelling, but i dont call myself ‘white’ ‘ then she said ‘i dont know y ur getting all defensive, your white to me’I said : ‘no im mixed race, plsu y cant i get defensive, ur telling me wot ‘i am’ or who i am, only i know who iam’she just repeated ‘ur white, accept it’ and walked offi REALLY hated that conversation, I felt so angry, i she got highly strung quite quicklyi just thought keep ur opinions to ur self.months later my mum came to se me at work and the shock on her face, so hilarious, she started cuddling up to me after that and i just tried to ignore her. yes u can have ur own opinion, but i didnt fit into her circle of friends, and ‘mixed race’ look she liked?you see i would NEVER say that to someone, they give me an answer if i ask and i just accept wot they say. i dont what her problem was/is maybe she has issues?

  28. Buenos Dias,I really like your blog, blacksnob! I have to stay that this post came right on time. I’ve been exploring the depths of colorism within the cultures of people who were colonized by Europeans at some point in history(i.e. Latin Americans of ALL races; East Indians; East Asians, etc.). I’ve been especially interested in how colorism has played out in the African American context, being that I am a younger black American man myself.I really like your post and agree that you hit on many hard and tired-and-true truths BUT I also think that your post overall like most of the information I’ve came across on the subject of AA colorism doesn’t fully capture the complexity of the matter.See, most of the opinions and commentary that I’ve found either takes gravitates somewhere between these two extremes:A) Light is right in the black community. “Light skinned” blacks are preferred, more successful, better perceived and priviliged while their darker brethen (most other black folks by the way) are poor, discriminated against and overall disadvantaged.OR B) “Colorism? What colorism?”LOL. I’ve come to the realistic conclusion that both of those approaches are bullshit. Like you, I have many black relatives are EXTREMELY FAIR (think a Jason Kidd/Lena Horne type). They grew up in the Jim Crow South (Georgia) in the ’60s are were treated estentially the same as the darkest of the other blacks. They got no preferntial treatments. They were niggers, no matter how light or dark. There actually was a racist old redneck joke that illustrates this point: “There’s two blacks. One light skinned, one dark skinned who jump off a bridge. Who survives? Neither, they’re both niggers!”. Simply put: A nigger is a nigger. To this day, that sentiment remains true in most of white America’s eyes.In my research, I’ve found that contrary to the typical exploration of anti-dark prejudice among other blacks and non-blacks, it was the lighter skinned blacks who faced the most ostracaztion. IMO. They were treated with resentment, envy, spite by many other blacks who either harbored ill will because they looked different or had the undying slave mentality that they were treated better. On the flip side, they were too dark for white America. Where does that leave one to go?So, in other words, colorism in AA/African diaspora contexts are far more complex than in non-black cultures in that light skin in NOT always preferred. To put it quite blunty, both lighter skinned and darker skinned blacks are prone to discrimination by people who practice colorism.That crucial truth is something that is frequetntly missing from much of the commentary on this subject.It’s a complex, love/hate relationship between the lighter and darker brethen. Lighter sisters are sometimes put on a pedestal because of the proxomity to the western standard of white female beauty. Then discredited when they do something of note (“she only made it because she’s light”). Darker black women are often undervalued because they deviate so greatly from the white female standard of beauty but then they’re told that they’re more beautiful because they’re more “authenthic”. That’s some complicated, contradictary self hate going on. But can I blame AAs? Who put this in their head in the first place? All of this is a nasty reaction to 400 years of devaluation and white supremacy on African people in the Americas.I do agree with one poster in that colorism in AA circles is relatively mild in comparsion compared to other cultures. Although, I do believe that he/she shouldn’t generalize most Latin Americans by saying that all of them deny or denigrate thier African ancestry. I’ve personally met many Latin American people who were very vocal and very proud of their African hertiage (mainly Carribean types- PRs, Dominicans, some Cubans; as well as some Peruivans, Salvadoreans [Surprise! Surprise!], Panamanians, Brazilians, etc. etc.). So that blanket generalization was very misguided in my opinion.Also, I see that like most people who explore AA colorism, you bring up the entertainment industry as a arbitator of colorism among blacks. While I will say that there is truth in the sometimes tendency for lighter skinned, more fine featured (which are really African features, BTW) black women to cross over greater than a black women who’s OBVIOUSLY black. That accounts to the racist notion that a racially ambigious woman is more palatable to the (white) “masses”.More relatable. Different enough but not too different from the white norm. It’s pathetic but I can understand it. It’s all about money. The more money to be made off of you, the more they will milk every angle they can to secure you reach the biggest audience there is. It’s that simple.(On that note, I will continue this post in a seperate message for the purpose of length.)

  29. I’m very upset right about now. In the middle of typing a lengthy, elaborate post, my computer went beserk and deleted every word I wrote. In the post however, I basically pinpointed:-While lighter complected black women who fit a certain mode may sometimes be seen as more familiar and less threatning in the context of the entertainment industry (and to a lesser extent among a segment of white America in the real world), their skin/hair doesn’t necessarily equate to automatic acceptance or success.-If light skin were truly the only preference, then Lena Horne, Fredi Washington, and Lonette McKee, among others, should have enjoyed the careers that they truly deserved. Beautiful, brillant, multi-talented, but “too light”. They lost much work due to their fair skin. I also noted that if this notion proved right, then the Tisha Campbells and LisaRayes wouldn’t be toiling away in black Hollywood obscurity along with all of the other sistas. Hell, you mentioned A Different World, if proven right, Jasmine Guy, another multi-talented lighter-skinned sista should still be working if this notion was always true. -I then asked if anyone could name any lighter skinned or ANY sister for that matter, who’s doing big things in Hollywood ACROSS THE BOARD at the moment. I don’t think any of us can answer, sadly.-I stated that Rihanna and Alicia Keys are the only black women who can truly be considered “light skinned” who get substantial (only relative to other black females) mainstream press. Yet, they usually are tanned or heavily bronzed when they appear on magazine covers. This becomes very apperant when you see the disparity of their actual (very fair) complexions in candid shots versus the airbrushed, digitally altered photos of them that the world sees. -I went on about Halle Berry and Beyonce Knowles, the two main black female celebs who come up in any arguement about colorism in the entertainment world. I stated while the alterations that they both made to their looks (they’re both actually more of a medium caramel color but with the aid of makeup and lightning techniques they appear lighter; wigs/weaves/extensions; tasteful plastic sugery)did affect successfully help their ascent to crossover success, they still don’t get the same respect and oppurtunities that their white counterparts get. Halle Berry was an established black actress and sex symbol (among black men) for 11years before she even got noticed by the white mainstream. Then, she got the prize of being a token, safe negro who still hasn’t managed to have a single critical and commerical hit film as a lead (outside of the X-Man/Bond franchises which she wasn’t the star of). She still bemoans the immense racism she goes grow on a daily basis in Hollywood as a working black actress POST-OSCAR. I was saying that she pretty much goes through the same thing ever other sista in that twisted industry goes through at the end of the day.(It’s also important to note that Berry was the last choice of the role in Monster’s Ball. Latifah and Angela Bassett were originally approached first but both declined.)About Knowles, I stated that her solo success was mostly sprung off of being the center piece of a highly popular group (Destiny’s Child). Her overall solo output (worldwide sales; concert attendance) don’t match a candle to what DC had. I also noted that when she married longtime beau, the equally famous Jay-Z, most of the white “mainstream” media didn’t have to have any intrest in covering it. When asked why, many editors pretty much reasoned that Knowles isn’t that big of a name and that their readership wouldn’t have been interested. So, I summon the fact that despite the obvious attempts to appease herself to white mainstream tastes with the blonde wigs, blue contacts and light makeup, she’s still a nigger to this very same audience at the end of the day.-I then transitioned to the fact the same editors who waved off Knowles stated very freely that unless a black woman’s name is Oprah Winfrey, she’s not likely to get covered.Oprah, the only black woman (and just woman period) is only black women with any REAL clout in all of American media.Does Oprah look “light skin with long hair” to you?-I then transistioned to the fact that despite the arguement of otherwise, most of the top black models that I researched were far from light skinned and had much more a “Native African” looking than a “diluted Western Black” looking. Naomi Campbell is one of the most successful models ever, of any race. She was always a bigger name than say, Tyra Banks, who did attempt to physically appease the white mainstream.-I also noted that in recent issues of Jet magazine, they’ve ran pictures of their Fashion Fair showcases and most of the models were not “light skinned” by any standard. They were all beautiful black women of a multitude of darker brown shades. I also noted that the model that they use for ads for this showcase is a gorgeous dark-brown-complected women with curly hair. -I also noted that I see many OBVIOUSLY black women in mainstream ads (print or television), targeted to either the general (“white”) market or the black demo.-As far music videos. I don’t watch many. (I personally haven’t watched BET or MTV in about 6 years.) I do constantely hear that OBVIOUSLY black women aren’t showcased as much. Yet, all of the video models that I know off (based off looking at different hip hop-oriented media) are VERY curvy black women who would fail the paper bag test. (Which proves my point, that for most brothas, a big ass wins over everything else. Even looks in some cases. But that’s a whole ‘nother post. LOL). I actaully went to a site last night after intially reading this point that showcased all of the popular video models. While there were an abundaunce of racially ambigious and/or Latin American types, there were still MANY sistas, most of whom were OBVIOUSLY black. But then again, who the hell wants to be a model in a rap video?!?! I’d love it if they don’t show black women period. Who wants to see our women exploited like that? (It’s also important to note that rappers don’t cast these videos, casting agencies do. The music video department of the record company are in charge of the females that are used. As we’ve discussed before, racially ambigious secures that someones “different, but not too different” for mainstream tastes, in racist industry talk.)-It’s also important to note that I’ve found in my research that most of the sistas in the entertainment overall are not what I consider “light skinned” (subjective, I know, but we’ll get to that in a minute). Most of the famous women who I know a lot of the brothas love would fail the paper bag test entrance exam. LOL.That brings me to where I left off. This brings me to the point that black women OVERALL aren’t represented throughly enough by the mainstream, Eurocentric media. It doesn’t affect or not affect any particular type of sister. They ALL could stand to get a lot more love. The notion that “lighter and brighter” sistas win the race is noxious and esentially false. In reality, they’re not doing any much better than any other sista.Like I stated in the first segment off this post, colorism in an AA context, whether positively or negatively, affects both lighter blacks and darker blacks equally.Now, onto my final point: In seeing some of the pictures of you that have been posted on the site- I actually wouldn’t consider you to be a “light skinned” individual by ANY standard. Your skin tone is very average for an African American. I’m very surprised that you stood out among other blacks. This goes to show you that this whole “light/dark” thing is all subjective and a matter of perception. Maybe the other blacks that you came across in college were ESPECIALLY dark so you came across as light skinned in comparsion to them. You’d surely be considered dark by any non-black group of people, as would MOST blacks. All black peopl
    e are dark, just in different shades (lightly dark, medium dark, regular dark, especially dark). What’s light skinned to a lot of us is dark to another group of people and so forth.You say you were ostracized for being light, but I would never consider you to be light at all. In fact, I find it bizarre that your ethnicity was questioned. You look run of the mill African American (which usually means very attractive wink wink) to me. It’s all perception. Subjective. Hence, why I chose not to put much thought in the subject.Even throughout my research I’ve seen Barack Obama, Condoleeza Rice, Nas, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Kelis, Janet Jackson, The Rock, Boris Kodjoe and many other normal, medium-dark/regular-dark black celebs described as “light skinned” by various internet posters. I WOULD NEVER CONSIDER ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE TO BE ‘LIGHT BROWN’ OR ‘DEPIGMENTED’ BY ANY STANDARD.By hey, some people do. Perhaps those aforementioned celebs were substantially lighter than the individual who posted those messages.(I’ve also seen Naomi Campbell, Gabielle Union, Chilli from TLC, Stacy Dash and many other, again, normal medium-dark black women described as DARK by some of those same internet posters. To give you a better illustration, I’ve seen Jill Scott described as “dark skinned” by some (ignorant) internet posters YET in a magazine interview years ago, she recounted the abuse that she suffered from being “light skinned with long hair” in elementary school.)It’s all subjective. In my opinion, if you didn’t feel particulary light growing up, maybe it’s because you’re not. (Also, I don’t find your mother to be ambigiously black at all. But then again …it’s all a matter of individual perception.)So as you can see, I felt very provoked by your very eloquent post and all of my thoughts/frustations about this very subject- colorism in an AA context- kind of just exploded. LOL.Very nice blog. You’ve got yourself a new reader. I’m very anxious to see your response, if you chose to type one. ;-)-Mynameismyname

  30. You continue to amaze me with the depth of your insights and your ability to make your readers really think about these issues. This was a brilliant, painful, honest, ground-breaking piece that everyone needs to see. I was weeping as I read it.Interestingly, I was thinking about this issue these past few days in relation to the mighty Michelle Obama–I can give you a run for your money in the “who loves Michelle more?” sweepstakes.I love that Michelle is so lovely, so smart, so funny, so warm, and so. . .Brown. I think it’s blowing the minds of people white and black alike. The image of Michelle Obama as the First Lady of the United States is as meaningful to me as her husband assuming the Presidency. The photos of her that will be transmitted around the world will send such a message to little boys and girls in every nation on Earth.And maybe, just maybe, that will help us all a bit, as we continue to struggle with this “color problem”.

  31. G’day,Wow a wonderful response. First, before I go indepth, I have to say that your entire family is very beautiful. Gourgeous mom, handsome pops, (the ‘fro is rather ill. LOL)Beautiful, beautiful BLACK people.That withstanding, the various photos that you posted of yourself display evidence of why a lot of this light/dark “drama” is rather silly: there’s too much variation in one’s skin tone due to season or lighting. So, how can we truly determine who’s “light” or “not”. Someone who is a light brown can become dark brown in the summertime. So are they only ocassionally “light skinned”? LOL. You are right, many Southeast Asians do bare a relative resemblence to your beautiful mother. It kind of serves as a reminder on which mighty continent reigns as the mother of civilization.By admitting that you are not truly “light skinned with long hair” yet others perceived you as such thus spawning some issues for you shows you how much of a social construct this how concept of race truly is. Our perceptions of ourselves, while good on an exstenial level, do protect us from harrasment/discrimination/questioning. In a way, in society we all are what people think we are, to an extent.Hence, the whole “biracial” concept. Your breakdown of the history of the “one drop” determination of blackness is eye opening. Some people agree with you, in reasoning that a child born to a black parent and a non-black parent should not be considered black. But I say, that they’re VERY black. If the one drop rule caused a unifaction among blacks, then it seems weird to seperate another generation of mixed black folks (since we’re all mixed any damn way). That’s why many blacks become very upset when a black person with recent mixture doesn’t identify as or with their blackness. It’s a slap in the face to many of us because it’s like they are breaking tradition. It also gives the impression that these recently mixed blacks are trying to escape the ‘stigma’ of blackness. By saying they are something else (“biracial”; “multiracial”- WHAT BLACK PERSON IN THE WESTERN WORLD ISN’T?; “cablinasian”; “half goat, half deer”- KIDDING), they are distancing themselves from the heavily stigmatized “black” label. I’ve read many books on the subject of “biraciality” and there’s nothing in these stories that ANY other black person couldn’t say which defintely gives credence to my notion that this whole “biracial” sthick doesn’t work in the U.S. when it comes to black folks. Maybe, when a recently mixed person becomes famous, they can have their ‘heritage’ celebrated, even while many people (if most) still see them as ….niggas.Also, while visiting some race related websites such as,, and, there is a definite, definite anti-black angle that many of these posters flaunt. Their reasons on wanting an acknowledged “multiracial” identity has an appearant need to dissocaiate themselves with the percieved “stigma” of blackness. There also is a weird notion of superioity among these people. They have a bizarre fixation on who’s “light skinned”, because it’s their way to further their desperate attempt to de-blackify African Americans like themselves. Like many of your anonymous website searchers did with (the obviously ALL-BROTHA) T.J. Holmes, these people would aimlessly speculate and include many noted non-“biracial” African Americans who they perceived as “light skinned” or “atypical-looking”. By seperating these blacks who they felt resembled their black asses, they were furthering their cause of distancing themselves from blackness. It resulted in a very screwed up, colorist mentality that has a eerily similiarity to the brown paper bag/blue vein society/ruler test days of yore.So you’re very correct in that although the effect that the ‘one drop’ mentality did to unify black folks was much greater overall, there is still much jealousy, self hatred and a weird superority/inferority complex among a (sadly) sizable segment of us when it comes to what shade of brown we are.It’s interesting. Although I admittedly shy away from antidotial evidence as I feel that it’s all too subjective. (Everyone’s very different and our experiences will be as diverse as we are individually). I rather look at statistics and overall large reports and observations before making a conclusion of anything, namely social phenonemons. Hence, why I went so in-depth in the last post about the overall presentation of our women in the entertainment industry.I say that to preface that most of my experiences with colorism is mostly relayed from other people’s experiences. It has never been too much of an issue for me, intrestingly. Admittedly, I have gotten remarks about my color from other blacks here and there when I was MUCH younger but even then, that was limited. It may have to do with the face that my shade of brown skin is so common among AAs, primarily black men (although I have big, almost-Arabic eyes and smaller, less “Negroid” [whatever that’s percieved to be]), that I don’t stand out enough to be called out for looking different. Although for those few people who had something to say back in the day, I did look ‘different’ enough to comment on. (It should be noted that these few blacks who made these ‘comments’ were usually my shade of skin or sometimes darker, never dramatically lighter.)However, I have heard some AAs tell me of their horrific experiences dealing with colorism among other blacks. It’s truly hurtful to me. And it’s almost worst than white racism in some ways, in my opinion. I mean, I expect that from whites, but to have people who look like you lash out you BECAUSE you look like them is very disheartning.But it speaks to the type of society we live in that blacks are often burdened with such self-hate. The fact remains that anti-black predujuice is the root of all of these intra-racial squabbles (colorism; classism; “you act/look/talk like a white person”, etc.). That’s why I fight for a world where not only anti-black sentiments are erased but one where the whole entire concept of race is eradicated, by being an anti-racism activist. Let’s learn to fight back.I’d love to collabrate in the near future on the affects of colorism among the world over. Mynameismyname

  32. Corrections:Like with my last two posts, there were some typos!I meant to type:By admitting that you are not truly “light skinned with long hair” yet others perceived you as such thus spawning some issues for you shows you how much of a social construct this WHOLE concept of race truly is. Our perceptions of ourselves, while good on an EXISTENIAL level, do NOT protect us from harrasment/discrimination/questioning. In society we all are what people think we are, to an extent.Also, I meant to type that I have (perceived) “less Negroid” features. (keen nose, small lips, slightly wavy tightly curled hair).I also forgot to note that as you witnessed with the “TJ Holmes mixed” search inquiries your site gets linked with, there is a disturbing trend on the internet for attractive, OBVIOUSLY black celebs to have their parentage questioned.I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read some nut (or nuts) arguing over whether Will Smith, Vanessa Williams, Beyonce Knowles, Tyra Banks and other typically-AA entertainers had a white parent. It’s bizarre and VERY racist. It seemed like an unconscious way for one (persumably non-black) to justify a black person’s beauty, talent or success. All black folks in the western hemisphere have non-African DNA. That’s a given. So, in the mind of some, for a black person to have all of those positive traits I listed above, something about them has to be ‘not-black’. The “stigma” of blackness lives.-Mynameismyname

  33. anonymous 11:37 am: I like TJ and Wentworth because they’re both incredibly good looking. (Although both “obsessions” border on parody.)But I don’t think you should read too much into it. That was kind of the point of the post. I wanted us to be free of the burden of colorism and the politicization of blackness. My liking of those two individuals should not be an indictment on how I feel about men of all colors, especially black men.One simply can just find a person attractive.

  34. Do we become politically a post-racial society when a one-white-drop rule confers acceptitability by the current power holders? Is this what really happened in North Africa?

  35. I noticed the mention of in the comments. Although it wasn’t necessarily complimentary, the publicity is still appreciated. I’d just like to make clear that isn’t a colorist community. It’s a positive space (although we do have a separate free speech board, so as not to censor alternative voices) for the global community of people who self-identify as having substantial european and sub-saharan african heritage and admixture, as well as family, friends and supporters.It’s really interesting to read The Black Snob’s perspective on this blog, as well as her very intelligent commentors.I wish the best of success to this blog!

  36. This does not only happen in Black America! Whenever I go back to West Africa to visit my family, I always get looks because I am considered “lighter”… It’s Black people everywhere. It’s sad but the self hatred we have has been ingrained in us and as you stated we need to talk about it more.Thanks for your post!

  37. I agree… Just think it would be neat if white or hispanic women could print their opinion (LIKE THIS) without someone waving a flag. Interesting, the webs we weave

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