There’s no color in #Team

I wish I could pinpoint the day Twitter began to explode with the hashtags #teamlightskinned and #teamdarkskinned. Maybe it was happening all along, and I just never noticed it — I’m usually blind to the Trending topics of the days. But it rapidly became something I could no longer ignore. Black women were dividing themselves proudly based on skin tone. There were the arguments that said you were not attractive if you were darker, or you were undesirable if you were lighter and vice versa. The amount of colorism and hatred between black women made my chest ache. I wanted nothing to do with it.

I am the biological product of two black people. My father’s skin is dark – rich like chocolate – while my mother is lightly olive skinned – prone to sunburn. I personally don’t think I look like either of them, but it’s evident that they make up my skin: caramel skinned and a probable victim of the sun if I’m not careful.

Growing up in the school district as I did, I was surrounded by people of all shades and different backgrounds. I never knew any different. I wasn’t even slightly aware that not many years later (while trying to adjust to awkward limbs and skipping training bras) that my skin tone would be something else I could be ridiculed for. My black-girl friends had to shun me because I wasn’t “black enough”. My skin wasn’t dark and I spoke “white.” I didn’t dress like they did, and this all made me less black than they were. And this would all make me resent myself.

On the whole, I’m now proud to be a black woman. I’m proud of what I am and where both of my parents’ ancestry lies. I had to address my own ignorance and anger before I was able to understand I should be proud. More importantly, I also had to understand that my skin tone comes with a privilege from outside of our race that I can’t ignore. That same privilege that white Hollywood likes to exploit, so that Zoë Saldana gets to play Nina Simone in her biopic, and has to be made up to look darker, but not Viola Davis. Becoming a proud black woman doesn’t mean pretending this doesn’t exist, or pretending to “not see color” – it is acknowledging that it’s wrong and not playing into it.

What makes this twitter trend worse for me is that a lot of these opinions are based around male preference, and how it must be the general consensus. It expanded to not just being about looks, but about personality traits that either group were stereotyped to have. Black guys don’t like dark skinned girls because of their temperament, or they don’t like light skinned girls that aren’t “easy” because they’re supposed to be. We were no longer black women as a whole. We were separated almost by species, based on the validation we thought we were owed by black men.

A$AP Rocky, a black rapper, recently stepped out and spoke about how much he dislikes when dark skinned girls wear red lipstick, and I shuddered at the thought of how many girls actually listened to him. It’s bad enough that we’re conditioned to wear make-up not because it makes us feel good about ourselves, but because some man at one point said to us “I only like when girls wear make-up,” or even “Girls that wear too much make-up are trashy.” Now, only girls with this skin tone can wear make up? We’re gonna play to that level of misogyny and colorism too? We’re gonna let black men divide us?

Ladies of all shades, we are black women. Colorism needs to stop from the inside, from within us, because all we’re doing is giving the world we live in another platform to judge us on. Racism is a war we’re all fighting, but how can we win when we’re still battling one another? Always love yourself, and love your sisters.

7 thoughts

  1. I’ve only been vaguely aware that this sort of thing existed– and only to the degree that Hollywood is obsessed with ligter-skinned African American women for some reason.

    Thank you for putting this out there– not just to my attention, but to everybody’s. Because the only way it’s going to change is if more people speak out against it.

  2. thank you so much! And I agree, it’s not really spoken about as something that is wrong, but something that just happens. Like people have actively spoken about the white-washing of Beyonce and Rihanna in the media, but not so much about what that really means in the sense of colorism, in my opinion. I’d love to answer any other questions you might have, thanks for the support again!

  3. Learning how to appreciate what we have is nvr easy, bcos human are gredey by nature. Learning how to cherish things or pple ard us usually comes at a price of when we don’t have them anymore. Why do sm pple even though they may have all the titles, status and riches they are nvr contented. Simply bcos they are insecure and they are empty inside. They want all the material status and things to make up of what they lack of. But even achieving all these things, they would still feel in adequate.What is enuff? What is that one thing would one feel full ? In my understanding, it is simply able to have someone to share your success and achievements no matter how big or small. That alone is something worth more than gold. No matter being ultra successful but no one to share your joy. You will always feel alone.To let go of anger or forgive someone is not simply saying I forgive you. Before being able to do that we must first able to forgive ourself. Forgive ourself for the hurt we are going thru, the anger and fustration we have in us. Forgive ourself that is okie to be anger with another person. When we can really forgive ourself, would we than able to forgive the person who hurt us. It doesn’t matter whether we are able to get an apology from the person who hurt us. Once we are able to forgive ourself, we naturally forgive the other person. By then you would be able to really let go of the hurt and anger All these things takes time How long? There is no time limit. It is entirely up to you do determine that.In Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other & forgive whatever grievances you may have against each other. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

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