Sunday, July 30, 2006
The Wannabes vs. The Jigaboos II - Colorism in Dating
Because last week's topic was so popular, I thought I'd continue this week, just with a different angle. As an extension of the discussion of colorism and its effects on the black community as a whole, this week we'll focus on how colorism affects the way some of us date.
I've often heard darker-skinned black men say they prefer dating light-skinned women. I've also heard light-skinned women say they prefer dating darker-skinned men -- even I have been guilty of that before, although I have dated light-skinned men in the past. I've even heard of darker-skinned women wanting to have a baby by a light-skinned man, so their baby can have "pretty skin" and "pretty hair."
As silly as all this may sound, its definitely real. As was discussed last week, black folks are known for differentiating themselves based on the tone of their skin. But it becomes something different when we start preferring a shade of skin that is not our own. To me, its a form of self-hate. A dark-skinned person who only dates light-skinned people clearly has a problem with his or her own skin color; and the same is true of light-skinned folks who only date dark-skinned folks -- although there is really no negative stigmatism attached to the latter. I guess its okay for black folks to want to be blacker, but not lighter.
I think this preference, especially dark-skinned men who only date light-skinned women, further divides the black community. Sometimes if I am out with a dark-skinned man, sistas look at me like I might as well be a white chick, taking away one of their chocolate prospects. I really take offense to that because I'm not white, I'm black, just a different shade of black than them.
To take it a step further, I think the problem is further exacerbated by black men who think that any woman who is light-skinned with long hair is cute. I've heard brothas make flattering comments about light-skinned women who were clearly not that cute (not to be hater or anything, but let's be real), and when asked what they like about these women, the answer is always that she is light-skinned with long hair. Whereas I've also heard comments like, "She's cute for a dark-skinned girl."
I realize that these issues with self-hate stem from problems that probably run deep into childhood, but again, I just think its silly that we continue to perpetuate the white man's ideology that "lighter is better," and that we allow ourselves to be divided as a result.