My skin is brown.
And, all I see is a buncha Black people… arguing… while we’re all (light, brown, and dark) struggling. I mean, I GET IT. I do… but as long as we all realize that we’re all Black and have a common history and struggle, to be stuck on the dark skinned vs. light skinned thing just seems like the White man has succeeded in distracting you.
I think the point isn’t to say look this is who is better and who is not and who is treated worse and who is not, but to call people out who still perpetuate this shit. Of course we’re all oppressed, but things are historically set up that way. Distraction or not, we still have niggas rapping about redbones, we still have darker skinned women bleaching their skin, we still have animosity towards lighter-skinned folks for their ability to pass and for having the ability to escape some of the treatment that darker skinned people face (even if they don’t want to). We still have light skinned girls get in free days, we still have paper bag tests, we still have good hair vs. bad hair discussions, we still have authors and notable scholars having these discussions about playing in the sun and recounting the things that they heard from their own parents.
We still have videos were the youth in a NY highschool can talk about how dark skinned people are evil and the devil. We still have #darkskin tags on twitter. So no, it’s not just going to go away because it is a direct result of hegemony. When we argue without hurt feelings, then maybe those conversations can happen in a serious way. What if we said to our favorite artists, stop lightening yourselves on your album covers. Add more darker skinned women to your videos. Hire more darker skinned models. Stop rapping about how much you want a lighter skinned bad bitch. This is not about disenfranchising lighter skinned women. This is about calling out the white supremacy that we all have ingested.
So if you are lighter-skinned and you’re mad, you have no place to be mad, simply because you have more options. That would be like the lighter skinned Haitian elite being mad that they couldn’t get rights but didn’t want to help the enslaved darker skinned Haitians get free. Oh wait, that happened though. So when lighter skin equals institutionalized benefits, lighter skinned people have no reason to get upset when the colorism discussion happens over and over and over again. Of course, we’re all fucking brown. But “brown” still doesn’t hold the key to escaping the global phenomenon of white supremacy. Take your darker-skinned ass to India and see what treatment you get. Now, take your lighter-skinned ass somewhere and see if you even have to THINK about what treatment you’ll get. Don’t worry.
When you leave the United States, skin color does become a privilege. It’s hard to see that when we’re all stuck in this black-white paradigm. But in places where there is no black-white, but instead a shade-ist system of racism, you’ll understand why we have to keep talking about this.
Shit we’re too black for: BEING TOO BLACK.