You’re Pretty for a Dark-Skinned Girl…..WTF??

Ignoramus (Him): Damn, I don’t really talk to dark skinned girls but you are beautiful?”

Me: Wait, what?

Ignoramus (Him): I mean I don’t really talk to dark skinned girls cuz there not a lot of pretty ones out there but you are definitely an exception to that rule.

Me: Wow, that sounds so ignorant and if you thought that you were giving me a compliment than you clearly failed. I don’t date guys or intend to date guys who take my skin tone as an exception to their RULE…ASSHOLE.

Sigh.

Unfortunately this has been going on for YEARS.  I was born this complexion and I love my skin. For years I have garnered compliments on my even tone and clear skin, but I have also heard some nasty, hateful and ignorant comments.

My mother is caramel complexion and my dad is chocolate, put both of them together and you have me. Depending on the weather and the season my skin can have a yellow undertone or a red one. I love that about me but there are some others who would prefer a lighter hue.

Growing up I was reminded that my skin tone was darker than all my other cousins, even my mother. My family members would call me ‘black beauty’ and I would smile at that reference. Growing up with my close cousins I was the darkest of them all but I didn’t feel inferior to them because of my skin tone. I was pretty as my closest cousin, only difference was she was lighter than me.

As a teenager growing up in Boston, there were so many different shades of brown that none was discriminated against. If you were pretty you were pretty, period. There were ugly light skinned girls, brown girls and chocolate girls…it wasn’t your skin tone that made you ugly it was your features!

I had a great time the first two years of high school. I was Varsity track, cheerleading, softball and I had a boyfriend who was a senior and  just so happened to be Latino. I was confident, intelligent and content with myself. It wasn’t until I moved to Houston that I realized that skin tone was a huge deal in the African American community.

How are you dark and your momma red bone?, he asked.

What does red bone mean?

It means light skinned.

Here we go again. Are you freaking kidding me??

Hearing constant insults about my skin tone was discouraging and overwhelming. I was only 15 turning 16 and I slowly started internalizing what I was hearing. It didn’t help that my mom kept on telling me to brighten up my skin-whatever that meant. Screaming and yelling could be heard in our house and we were constantly arguing about her reasoning. I hated the fact that she felt that her only daughter skin tone was not beautiful enough. Well, if my mom believed that crap than maybe what everyone else was saying was true.

My self-esteem was almost non-existent and it didn’t help that boys were always making me the exception to their skin tone rule.

I remember ‘dating’ this boy. He was tall, handsome and of caramel complexion. I forgot how we met but we definitely hit it off. After a couple of talks on the phone, we decided to hang out. I was excited to see him but that excitement was short lived. Not only were we not alone but he decided to bring his friends; I found out later that they were there to give him stamp of approval to date me. I was hurt and humiliated at his callous behavior but he assured me that he wanted to get his friends approval on me because I was dark-skinned.

Say what now?!?!

I was at loss for words. Shoot, typing this reminds me how ignorant people can be. I thought attending a HBCU would be different but man was I wrong.

Let’s just say countless guys who held on to that mentality roamed my  campus. Were dark skinned women really that ugly? That when they see a beautiful one around, they are  so enamored by it?

Bullshit.

There are countless dark skinned girls that I have seen that have beautiful, flawless complexions that get NO love or if they do, they are told that they are rare. How have we come so far as a race to be brought back at the hands of our own mouth?

Growing up, I hardly saw anyone beautiful represented in the movies or magazines, unless you were Naomi Campbell but I hardly saw her grace the scene and if she did she was the “token” dark skinned model. In movies/television shows/commerical ads the dark skinned women were portrayed as loud, overweight and not attractive. If one happened to be in the music videos, she was not portrayed as the love interest, rather she was in the back shaking and popping what her mama gave her.

I’ve heard time and time again that most dark skinned women have bodies but don’t hold your breath for anything stunning above.

Ignorance.

The worst part that this was coming from African American men of all skin tones. How frustrating.

But what does one do when they hear things like this:

Kevin Hart likes to make ‘jokes’ that women the same colour as me have bad credit.  Or  Lil’ Wayne mused in ‘Right Above It’ that  certain black woman would ‘look better red.’ How can we forget about Young Berg’s pool test or that Tyrese believes going with the best means omitting black women. Who remembers Neyo’s distasteful comment that “all the prettiest kids are light skinned anyway.”

Thank God, that I have risen above the ignorance and the self perpetuated hatred that most hold onto.

If you are on Twitter and the #teamlightskinned #teamdarkskinned battle arises, I quickly log off. The fact that we hold onto our self worth through our skin tone is disgusting. Not saying that other races don’t go through that, but the way that our culture has raised one group of people over another due to skin tone is ridiculous.

My best friend is of caramel complexion. In college she would always complain that guys would only talk to her or show her attention because of her skin tone. I can’t imagine that someone would only talk to me because I fit their skin tone quota. I can’t believe that most guys looked past that she was intelligent, funny, witty, charming but merely focused on her shade.

Interesting enough since I’ve moved to DC, I have been approached more by White, Asian and Middle Eastern men who love my skin complexion and don’t dote on it. Never once have I’ve gotten the insulting compliment of being pretty for a dark skinned woman. To them I was just beautiful, attractive, sexy, hot, cute, etc. They were attracted to me and as time went on they get to see that I was more than my skin tone and shape.

So what happens when this conditioned  way of thinking trickles down into the younger generation. What do we tell them  and how do we tell them to love themselves and each other despite of skin tone, when we see videos like these ones!

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