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Colorism: Prejudice Inside The Black Community

Today I want to write about something that rarely gets talked about. Some refer to it as colorism within the black community. I look at it as another form of racism. The reason I wanted to write about this topic is to bring attention to the truth/reality which exists within my own community. Ultimately, I hope this blog will at the least help create conversations on this sensitive topic which will enlighten the minds on the intricate social dynamics present in my community.

What is Colorism?

Colorism is essentially defined as the prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.

The amount of diversity in the black community can be astounding if you really think about it. So many people identify as black, yet have extremely different life experiences, cultural identity, and ancestry. One of my close friends identifies as black, yet has a Jewish mother and a biracial father (African-American and Native American). Even my own family is very diverse. Within my own family, I can see how colorism may have influenced how some family members interacted socially with one another in public atmospheres.

I assume everyone in the black community has either experienced or seen social prejudice towards black people with a darker skin tone. Colorism is a serious emotional and psychological battle that so many people in my community face everyday of their lives.

We all have to acknowledge the mental health crisis in our nation. However, I would also like to note the immense psychological impact of colorism. Which can easily be seen in how blacks struggle with mental health related issues, such as: identity, happiness, self-confidence, self-worth, and self-love.

There are famous wealthy black celebrities, including both men and women, who would appear to be very confident about their physical appearance, yet they suffered from insecurity and colorism. People like Michael Jackson (singer/entertainer), Sammy Sosa (professional baseball athlete), and numerous women in entertainment made decisions to go as far as to bleach their skin. While some deny it because they don’t want to be judged… however, due to the increase of people openly getting cosmetic surgeries and BBLs (Brazilian Butt Lifts), I believe more people are willing to openly admit to using skin lightening products because of the perceived personal, social, and entrepreneurial benefits.

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

Quote (I Have A Dream Speech) – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Do Black Men Prefer Dating Lighter-Skinned Black Women?

I was watching a podcast a few days ago, as I routinely do on occasion. A question was asked within the conversation, where someone said, “When are black men going to acknowledge that they prefer women with a lighter skin tone?” Immediately when I heard the question, I recognized its validity. As even I’ve been discriminated against by women due to my dark skin tone. So I asked myself the question inwardly, “Do I prefer women with lighter skin tones?” And, I will admit… I do.

Am I ashamed of what type of women I prefer? My answer is an emphatic… no. Like a well-known lyricist once said, “I was born in this world, I didn’t make it.”

Let it be known… it’s a lot of light-skinned women I’m not attracted to. Skin color, in itself, has never been the sole determining factor of my level of attraction towards a woman. Plus, I have dated and pursued women of all shades and races… and, please note I have been rejected by all of them as well 🙂 .

I’m a man, so physical appearance is important. And, I’m also a country boy, so I love natural sexy athletic sweet-spirited women who share my same faith. All to say… a woman’s body type, personality, and faith is most important to me, when I’m choosing someone to love. Nevertheless, I cannot ignore or dismiss the fact that I would prefer a woman who has a lighter skin tone, or is the same complexion as my mother.

Why Is It So Important To Love Yourself?

First and foremost, the Bible commands us to love others in the same way we love ourselves. The black community, my community, will always struggle to achieve unity and power if we do not address and correct our own issues.

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link… and a group is only as strong or successful as its weakest or least successful member.

Growing up, I personally had problems with self-confidence, self-esteem, identity and self-worth. I didn’t understand how my problems affected me, until I was in my 30s. I was able to see people who I grew up with, attain greater achievements and accomplishments than me, although I may have been more talented or more intelligent than they were. And, I could clearly see how my self-confidence was directly linked to my inability to make the best decisions in life.

There were many occasions where I didn’t even attempt certain things, not because I wasn’t qualified by others, but because I wasn’t qualified in my own eyes. Whether it was degrees I could’ve worked towards, women I could’ve dated, friendships I could have created, or passions I could have pursued.

It is a tragedy to see someone not take full advantage of their time on earth. We have to at least try to reach our full potential of who we are destined to be.

Loving yourself is not selfish. To me, loving myself is essentially respecting and valuing myself. When I love myself… I can share love and love others. The more we as colored people learn to love ourselves, the more our community will be able to free itself from the chains of self-hate, ultimately making the black community stronger and more resilient.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.‘”

Quote (I Have A Dream Speech) – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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