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Yung Berg’s Pool Test: The Color Game Remix

Rapper Yung Berg recently said he was a pro-wash-n-wear, anti-“black butt,” self-described racist for lighter girls raising the hackles of many. He’s an idiot, but he’s also more proof that were not going to get past the color issue in black culture if we don’t talk about it.

“Young who now?”

It’s so hard for The Snob to keep up with the rappers now-a-days. Not so dissimilar from the 80s and 90s when everyone was an “MC” or “DJ” something or other, today everyone’s a “Young” or a “Lil’.” I get them all confused. They all have neck tats. They all dress like they were gang raped by a Hot Topic and Pharrell Williams. They all rap about how their penis is the most magical, awesome penis in the history of penises. They all disguise disgusting “jump off” freak fantasies and love ballads. (See: “Bust It Baby”) They all look like they have mouth herpes. So let’s just say, The Snob is not a fan.

The Snob is a fan of men who can conjugate subject-verb agreements. Who are pleasant conversationalists of cool and collected demeanor. Who love their mothers and are respectful of the opposite sex. And have a real name, not some childish nickname, but a grown up name like Keith or Hakeem or Jacob or Wexley. Anything you can actually print on a business card. Hell, I like a guy with a business card. But Young-Lil-Super-Penis? Not interested at all.

That’s why I was slow on the up-take when my readers kept trying to drop hints about this Yung Berg character. I was using him in my celebrity photo layout because of how utterly ridiculous he looked (re: Hot Topic sexual assault). People were trying to let me know “the color game” was in full effect mode with this rascal.

He’s a little racist, he said? Not down with “black butts?” A “swimming pool test?” For me it was laughable because Berg was breaking one of the Secret Council of American Negroes’ Ten Commandments:

Thou shalt not divideth our sisters into “wannabees” and “jigaboos” for purely aesthetic reasons.

I’ll give Berg negative two points for honesty in both the sexism and the colorism apparent in that statement. I don’t believe his apology. Any man who gets grown on the radio and straight up says light is right wasn’t misspeaking. He likes ’em straight and pale. Great. Good to know.

And I’m going to say what countless black women already know — a lot of men think like this Yung Berg character. A lot. Most though tend to remember the commandment and keep their mouths shut. Even a slight inference for a preference for the Halle Berry end of the spectrum will reward you with side-eyes, death-stares, curses and roots placed upon you. This is largely so because our society has already decided who’s beautiful and we are not it.

It’s a sensitive issue.

To be routinely told over and over you are not desirable, admirable or a symbol of femininity can be devastating on the ego. A rejection of “baby hair” and brown gel and the fantasy of a woman who looks perfect at all times and farts Chanel No. 5 is essentially a rejection for any black woman who doesn’t look white enough.

Since the majority of us can’t do anything about not being born named Becky with wash-n-go hair, Berg’s statement is a pretty crude thing to throw in the faces of countless black women of all shades.

We were all raised in the same society where the Western ideal of beauty is the most coveted. For all the efforts at self-esteem boosting like “black is beautiful,” “I love dark women,” “I love dark men,” “blacker the berry the sweeter the juice,” the struggle in the face of blond ambitions continues. You could put up a buck naked, baby-oiled up, mile-high poster of Naomi Campbell, Djimon Hounsou, Serena Williams and Tyson Beckford and, sure, it would cause traffic accidents on the interstate, there would still be some people thinking, “But what is Zoe Kravitz doing?”

It irritates when black people go into denial about this as if we’d fixed the color issue in 1979, when people are completely divorced from the idea of why they want straight hair or the creep factor surrounding of guys I’ve met who’ve asked me to toss my hair around when it was straight. This is some deep seeded pathology and all the Serena Williamses in the world are not going to cure it. As long as the Western standard is the standard, even if it’s only the standard in our subconscious minds, people are still going to say foolish things like “swimming pool test.”

We should no longer get mad at this sort of ignorance and just call it what it is — tacky. I have a strong “just date the white woman already” policy for all men who desire light-skinned women then give them hell the whole time for not fulfilling their Aryan allusions, balking at us when we wrap our hair in scarves and being annoyed when we wear our hair natural because we want to give the perm a rest.

I don’t hate these men for wanting what they want. They get their negative two points for honesty as well. Now please, go date the white woman. Stop making us brown skin and lighter women miserable. I already knew I didn’t want Young Berg before he opened up his mouth, but now that he has, what have black women actually lost here? Getting this fool out of the gene pool is a net gain. I wish more people were honest about it so we could actually discuss the issue and get some of the pathology worked out for the sake of our children. I don’t like to see little black girls and black boys growing up thinking Heidi Klum is the prototype. Yes, she’s gorgeous, but a lot of other women are too. There needs to be an expansion in our definition of beauty.

We also need to get
to a point where we can talk about who and what people find attractive without being accused of being a colorist (or worse yet, a sell-out). Now Berg straight up embraced colorism even going so far as to call himself a “racist,” so he doesn’t count, but not every black man or woman who is dating or married to a different ethnicity or a partner much lighter than them is a self-loathing hater. We don’t need to over compensate for the lack of dark love by hating on pale people. There was a period when I was in college where people looked at me like I was insane for finding Allen Payne attractive when dark skin men were in style.

My reaction:

One, ew, I don’t believe in treating people like fetishes. If dark is “in style” that implies it could go out of style and good looking should never go out of style.

Two, they completely ignored the naked Tyson Beckford calendar I owned.

I feel pretty secure in my love of all things Negro so I’m fine with saying Keanu Reeves is hot and that Russell Wong could get it almost any day of the week, but it does irritate me when people make inferences that because I love incognegro actor Wentworth Miller and the green-hazel-eyed TJ Holmes I must have black man issues. (I do possess an inappropriate love for Isaiah Washington and have only the most longing and prurient desires for actor/musician Leon but Hollywood doesn’t present me with an abundance of photography of them like it does for Miller.) The Snob has always loved “the spectrum,” not just a solo shade. I don’t think you have to ignore how delicious Daniel Sunjata or Lisa Bonet is to make up for the lack of dark love in popular culture. You can embrace both, boost both and use them as examples of the variety of beauty within black culture.

Much like having a perm doesn’t mean you’re a bougie sell-out, sometimes saying you think Jennifer Freeman is hot is just about Jennifer Freeman being hot. Leave out the litmus tests for racial pride and focus on the actions, or in this case, words, of individuals who are unabashed in their “no pressing combs need apply” standard of beauty.

There’s nothing wrong with loving any part of black beauty. It’s the hate that has always been the problem.

Standard

23 thoughts on “Yung Berg’s Pool Test: The Color Game Remix

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have never heard of the ‘pool test’ but it could easily be a continuation of the ‘brown paper bag test’ which has its origins in the African American middle class community. These types of hyper-racial classifications represent a larger ‘caste’ system that still prevails to this day. I am not surprised by Yung Berg- in the past I have come in contact with black men who think like him. Thats why I wear my hair natural, ‘dumb butt’ repellant. But its not just black men who think this way, we should remember that.

  2. Snob, that post was the bomb! I have thought all of those things too (and I think I like the same guys you do). This is the first time I have heard of this Young Berg guy, but I think a lot of bloggers have been writing about him recently. I say good riddance. I used ti date interracially and my self-esteem was so low. I dated this Portuguese guy who said that he preferred Asians, and I still kept dealing with him! I had no self-esteem or pride at all. Now, I think guys who don’t want a Black woman like me can just get lost. I’m not going to try and do things to look or act “more white” for them. I can find other men attractive, but I’m looking for a Black man who wants a Black woman. That Young Berg is a moron. I don’t know what any woman sees in guys like him.

  3. anon and bronze: Ah … the ol’ paper bag test. Yung Berg doesn’t seem to be from the black aristocracy, so I gather “pool test” was the best he could come up with. It reminded me of Gregory Hines once mentioning his hatred for touching hair grease in Ebony Magazine. That eliminated a lot of black women.I get sick of the euphemisms and would prefer if people would just point blank say what an ex-boyfriend of mine would. He was basically “proud” to be light and “proud” of his “good” hair and thought anyone darker than a Cosby daughter was a sin. I didn’t stay with this individual (obviously) but at least I knew where he stood.When I was younger my chemically straightened hair was long. It wasn’t dramatically long, but it was long for most black girls and I did not like the affect it had on some brothers. Most folks were normal about it. They’d just say I had nice hair and keep going, but there was this certain class of fool who really needed to quit playing around and just date the white girl.I still don’t know which was weirder, the guy who wanted to brush my hair as some form of a fetish or the guy who once asked me to toss my hair around for his amusement.WTF? I mean, WTF? That’s just not healthy. I wish these sort of fools on no women, not even white women really, because I don’t have anything against white girls. Why would I want to punish them with Yung Berg? But perhaps there’s a chick out there with just low enough self-esteem to gladly toss her hair back and forth for him like Tawny Kittian in a Whitesnake video or as she gets out of a pool like Pheobe Cates in “Fast Times at Ridgemount High.”Because that’s what he wants. A Hollywood fantasy, not a real woman. That’s pretty much the problem with all this. I think most black men are appreciative of the many facets of black beauty, but the media preferences and old biases die hard.

  4. If you’re stuck on color you’re stuck on stupid. And let’s just say that Young Berg is not on the high end of the common sense totem pole. I want to talk about colorism in the black community but sometimes it just seems futile. Black people who use skin color as a filter to determine beauty are just simply ignorant. Many sisters of the darker hue are just hurt; cause being rejected by your own community hurts; but they’ve got to learn that their inherent God given beauty is all that should matter. That’s all that ever matters. Of course it doesn’t help that the Halle’s, Alicia’s, Beyonce’s of the world are constantly shoved down our throats as the standard of black beauty; but we’ve got to define beauty for ourselves. Something that I realize is easier said than done.

  5. It also isn’t easy street for light skin folks either. They either have to defend their blackness; or they aren’t thought of as “real enough.” That’s why it seems this conversation can be so repetitive and stupid. Once again the culture of power divides and conquers.I’ve seen light skin men being hurt over the fact that black women and women in general swoon over dark skin men. It’s ok for a woman to say she wants a dark man; but its entirely not ok for a black man to prefer a lighter woman.Light skin women are thought of as weak; lucky, people assume they get easier breaks in life, and “dark butts” usually don’t have the slightest sympathy for them. And I don’t think there’s a light skin person around who doesn’t understand that they have a one up when it comes to brothers….*Runs and hides*Now if we are gonna have this conversation we’ll have to air it out and it won’t be pretty.That’s why I rather turn in my black card and remain a member of the human race.

  6. get togetha: Yeah. It’s hard to have a mature discussion about this with people because of the rejection and hurt feelings. (And the arrogance of a few who really think the won the skin color lottery.)But I always saw it as a lose-lose situation for both light and dark people because of the tension that it causes and if you’re a woman, the degree of foolishness you take on in an effort to feel “attractive.”I can remember being jealous of skinny brown skinned girls with white facial features, mushroom hair cuts and name-necklaces in the seventh grade because they looked modern and edgy and cool. And I didn’t identify with lighter people because I didn’t see myself as light. Despite my hair and skin tone, all my features (nose, eyes, lips, hips, rear, legs, etc.) are distinctly black. Then I got to college and I was complaining to my roommate, who was very dark, about how the grossest guys always asked me to dance at parties and she replied that at least they asked me to dance. That’s when I realized there was something worse than getting hair fetishists and perverts.And she was a cute girl, but I believed her when she said that in her 19 years no one had ever asked her out anywhere to do anything. I just wish folks could embrace the spectrum without forcing out women and men who retained the most of Mother Africa in them. I can’t speak for all lighter brown people, but celebrating my “lightness” would be akin to celebrating the white man who raped grandmother about four generations ago. And I don’t think she thought she won shit when that happened.

  7. Black Snob you are the queen! I absolutely love your blog and this post is exceptional. I applaud you and those whom have commented. Thank you for addressing the issue in a mature substantive way, that I (and I’m sure many) can relate to.(Especially your last comment)It’s sad but true, I think Black people (and I’m only talking American at the moment because that’s the only reference as far as attitudes … that I have) still have a ways to go on this issue. Maybe if there were more dialogue like this we could get over this intraracism (sp?) and move on.

  8. Deedlelee says:

    Well, I don’t like anyone from the shallow end of the gene pool, so that saves us both a headache, eh Yung Jock?

  9. Berg. Jock. Jockstrap, whatever your “name” is. You will soon be irrelevant like all of you and your kind will be. Too dumb to read your own contracts, too fly to manage your own money, too lazy to care. Most of all: too stupid to wear a condom, so you can perpetuate your foolishnessSo I’m glad you don’t like dark women. Good. Find yourself a light skinned honey so she can hem you ass up in court with back child support.

  10. starrie says:

    never heard of berg until just now…i see no point in getting riled up about someone who has nothing rattling around in his head except this kind of nonsense…as far as i’m concerned, this is on more “rapper” who’s music i don’t have to buy…

  11. Thanks for the response Snob. Unfortunately colorism is an issue the affects all communities of color that have had their gene pool “hacked.” It’s the same in Africa (skin lightners), Central America, and South America. I live in Harlem and the Puerto Ricans hate the Dominicans cause they’re Africa black. And the Dominicans hate the Haitians even tho they share the same island.Divide and Conquer is the plan and if we as human beings cannot see the big picture then we’ll never heal….

  12. “I already knew I didn’t want Young Berg before he opened up his mouth.”My point exactly. Plus on top of it he’s 5’5” and weighs 135. YOUNG BERG is not MY preference therefore I am not offended. Plus he is an ignet little f@#k that perpetuates ignorence. The most hilar’s thing about the whole matter is in his apology he says that his OWN MOMS is a ‘dark butt’!!!!! Apparently SHE passed somebody’s pool test.Sadly, colorism is alive and well. Being a ‘dark butt’ myself, I already knew that ish. But, thanks Young Berg for reminding us that fear of blackness/black skin/nappy hair, still prevails in our times (see New Yorker cover.) in such an eloquent manner!Sad thing is… Black Snob is right: MANY PEOPLE SHARE HIS OPINION. Thankfully they don’t articulate it so tackily.But on another note…. I would cry if TJ Holmes (or anyone on that WALL OF SEXY said the same thing. DARK BUTTS UNITE!!!!

  13. mynameismyname says:

    Snob, ya da man …eh, I mean woman. You broke it down lovely. You’re absolutely right, colorism as well as all racial issues should be regulary discussed by all people, regardless of ethnicity.People lack any real history or knowledge of racial politics. They also possess many biases, so it makes difficult to have an impactful, valuable conversation on race. I mean, we have to. Race effects everything in our society.As far as this Young Berg or Little Berg or whatever the f*** his name is, I wouldn’t put too much value on his comments. He’s a kid. He has a very boyish quality to him. (Not to mention, a general unintelligent one; I don’t think he graduated from high school). And plus, the little f***er looks like a 3 foot, scrawny goblin. If there’s a black version of Lord of the Rings, he’d get cast first!Anyway, he’ll mature. I heavily doubt he’ll be chasing down every “light butt” he sees as time goes on. He’ll grow to realize that he wants a woman who’s down for him and has a good head on her shoulder, and it won’t really matter as much if she’s black, white, “light”, “dark”, or whatever. That is what usually happens in the long run with black men with his backwards way of thinking.You’re right that the media does appear to be biased with the few non-whites they show. On the black frontier, all you have to do is look at many of the black CNN reporters or some of the black female recording artists who’ve crossed over in the last few years to come to that conclusion. But then again, there are enough black folks in the media who counter such aforementioned examples. And the media is not 100%represenative of black people, at all. I say it’s about 20% instead. LOL. Upbringing has a lot to do with one’s stance on what’s beautiful and what’s not.I also agree with the above poster who basically stated the crucial yet often ignored fact within African American/Black colorism: Lighter blacks suffer an equal stigma. See, ignoring this fact will also not amount to a real discussion on this topic. (I mean I’ve heard a few black men say the opposite of what Little Berg said and we’ve already discussed the difficulties that fair or lightly-dark black women have always had in Hollywood.)Snob, keep the thought provoking posts on race coming. I mean folks like you and I frequently think about all of this complex racial ideas, but I don’t believe the average American does. Let’s keep trying to wake them up and give them some heavy duty food for thought.

  14. mynameismyname says:

    One observation, after reading some of the other comments:Get Togetha, good points you make but eh, PRs and Dominicans are both “Africa black”. LOL. So are you, presumably. We all are. Just, you know …altered. LOL. “Hacked”, as you put it. And “hate”? Really? Many Haitians and Dominicans and PRs intermarry. There’s actually one joke that says that you can’t tell a Dominican and Haitian apart. They’re a playful ribbing between the two ‘groups’ but I’ve never witnessed full-out hate like the media and various anonyomous internet posters depicts. And I’ve yet to meet all of these PRs and Dominicans or any mixed or predominatedly African-descended Latin American who’d rather have open heart surgery than embrace or at least, acknowledge their African roots. I mean I don’t want to discount anyone’s personal ancidotes, they’re valuable on an individual level, but they do not tell the full story. (Like how Dominicans and PRs are the two Spanish-speaking groups that identify as ‘black’ racially, according to the Census)

  15. I have purposely never addressed this topic on my blog because it is just soo divisive.But I appreciate, your post. I couldn’t have said it better.All of my friends span the spectrum. We never address each other as a skin shade. Anyone who does gets an instant side eye. It’s soo low brow.

  16. I am new to your blog and this post is right on time. I just learned about this rapper’s comment yesterday and I was saying to myself… who is this guy?What an ignorant comment to make, that is not to say that he can not have a preference but his comment was just rude and disrespectful to other women. Also in his “apology” he said his mother has a dark complexion…so is he an idiot or what.And I love what you wrote in your post “The Snob is a fan of men who can conjugate subject-verb agreements. “LOL I could not have said it better.product Junkie DIva

  17. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for wack ass fuc ass yung berg his career wus gonna be anther hit but he had to say sum crazi shyt like that..its sad how america still has colorism, and they also judge by hair texture and race..fuc yung berg though thats what his ass gets and now he bringing back the conversation of skin color in the african american race

  18. Anonymous says:

    let me comment on this…Berg.. may I say Christian Ward is one of the most respectable men that I have ever met in my life. Seriously, women… listen to his lyrics and too all the women that have met him and those that do know him know for a fact that he’s not a racist. Think about how many times that you have said something in response to someone teasing you or talking shit about you..what you actually do and when you say something back to them you put a little more emphasis on a point than you meant too. He didn’t mean that he was actually racist. The interview was blown out of proportion and out of context. Although you can print the actual words that he did say and it seems so horrible, but there is more to that than what was posted on the internet. The time that I have spent with him, talking to him, and getting to know him.. majority of the conversations have been about the fans and how much he cares about them. So for you guys/women to jump up and flip out on a nigga, well let me be politically correct for those of you that are critiquing every word.. I’m so disappointed at all the comments am so upset that I personally can contest that this man stays in the studio day and night.. go to clubs and events to mingle with his fans (which most artist don’t even care to take the time to do that) and stays committed to producing hit after hit for people to listen to that his fans would respond like that. I don’t know, it may be different for other people to understand how I feel because you haven’t met him and had serious conversations with him on the subject. Imagine meeting someone that all they talk about is how they are happy that they can wake up everyday and work on their dream and create new things that people love everyday, that music is their life and they are thankful to have the ability and opportunity to share their talent and collaborate with others to make great music. Regarding his album release any female that doesn’t buy this album will be missing out. The shit is hot…I think that any female that doubts his intentions and how he feels about women should listen to the album and think about what he is actually saying in the album..because he doesn’t write his own lyrics, produce songs, and spend every waking moment in the studio for no reason. He’s does it because he cares and want to voice to his fans how he feels through his music. Just suggesting to women, don’t let some bogus ass interview and website break what you feeling when you listen to his music. Seriously if you are considering boycotting someone or something I think that you should consider boycotting artist that produce songs and write lyrics that degrade females and refer to them only as gutter bitches, hoes, bitches, sideline hoes, groupies, etc. For all the real ass women and fans out there I’m sure you understand what I’m talking about and will support him cause I don’t know any other 22 year old black..wait African American male that is one the grind, staying positive, keeping God first, staying focused, and caring so much about his fans like he does. Please don’t let something so petty and false change your mind about him. I love him to death and I’m sure you do too.. AND to be honest I didn’t even know who he was when I met him but from the time that we have spent together… I can say that he truly cares about his fans and really want to make all of you regardless of skin color, gender, ethnicity or whatever you want to classify yourself as happy as a listener. THAT is why he works so hard. AND yes I would like to remain anonymous just for obvious publicity issues! Much love and support to YB and the whole YB gang!!!

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