Two weeks ago, I had my first personal encounter with the “Dark vs. Light” debate. I was raised with my mom’s side of the family (my mother is white), so I grew up being darker than everyone around me and not thinking twice about it. I got used to not looking like those around me, so I never cared much. That being said, my mom always threw in lessons on African-American History while I was growing up. She made sure I knew of my ancestry and the responsibility that comes with my skin color. My dad was never one for discussing his ancestry. Anyways, the encounter happened between a friend and myself at the beginning of our African-American Studies class.
I walked into class from a workout, so I’ve got no makeup on, my hair is in a ridiculously messy bun, I’m pretty sure I’m a little stinky and I’m still in my workout clothes and I’m carrying a duffel bag and my backpack. I sit down next to my friend, who is quite a bit darker than me, and I say “I have no makeup on and my hair is a mess today. This is terrible.” At this point, she turns to me and says “Yeah, but you’re light skinned, so it’s okay for you.” I’d heard mentions of the light vs. dark situation and heard stories from family and friends about it, but never actually encountered it. I fully understand that this is a mild encounter and women everywhere have and will continue to have far worse moments than this. But ultimately, it was this encounter that caused me to realize this was still a stigma within society.
My point in sharing this is that, this is such an antiquated view of skin color, but it’s still a major part of life today. The idea that someone is viewed as “better” or more “beautiful” because they happen to be born a lighter color, is ridiculous. The idea that someone is viewed as “uglier” or less than because they were born a darker color is ridiculous. There’s no reason that women or men should be valued solely based on their skin color. It upsets me that even my friend feels as though I’m getting a pass in life because I’m lighter than she is. The reality is, she’s absolutely gorgeous, but society’s antiquated ideas of beauty have told her otherwise. Dark or light skinned, you’re beautiful. High yellow or low yellow, you’re beautiful. Anyone who tells you otherwise, any magazine that even hints at otherwise, isn’t worth shit. Women are majestic creatures. You’re fucking beautiful no matter what people say. It’s now up to women of all color to end this debate. Love your girlfriends, mother, sister, best friend, and anyone else in your life extra hard because society is doing their best to make them feel bad. I think you’re gorgeous. Remember that.