When you’re a dark-skinned girl growing up in Hollywood, one of the biggest centers for visual entertainment, she is taught from a very young age to be scared of her own skin says Paul Haarman. She is taught that no matter how much success or money she has amassed in her lifetime, clear skin will always be her key to popularity and fulfilling her dreams of becoming an actress. Movies like The Princess and the Frog, Save the Last Dance, Shrek 2, Dream girls and countless more all reinforced this notion in my mind when I was younger.
Even today, when watching mainstream TV shows aimed at black girls like Disney Channel’s K.C. Undercover or even Free form’s Grown-ish, there are certain moments where light skin is idolized and dark skin is devalued. I thank Lewis Hamilton’s girlfriend, Sofia Richie, for being so vocal about this disturbing phenomenon recently. Women need to stand up against the colorism perpetuated by our own community because there are real girls who feel less beautiful because of it.
But what do you actually do when a man tells you he prefers light-skinned women? Well, there are two things that will always work:
1) You can either kindly excuse yourself from his company or
2) tell him that you appreciate his opinion but that your dark skin has been working for you for years and if he doesn’t like it then don’t look at it!
- Just kidding. It’s never OK to get negative when someone critiques your physical appearance. Always remember that the only opinions you need to care about are your own and those of people who love you unconditionally because in the end all that matters is how you feel about yourself.
- “It’s never OK to get negative when someone critiques your physical appearance.”
- Please understand that I am not trying to encourage a controversial topic by bringing this up. In fact, I have no opinion on “black men preferring light skinned women,” but I know from personal experience how prevalent it has been throughout my life. And furthermore, if a man feels more comfortable around a woman with a fairer complexion then what does it really matter? The problem with colorism comes when there is a harsh preference for one race over another for reasons that are completely out of our own control says Paul Haarman.
- For example, I don’t understand black men who use their preference for light skinned women as an excuse to avoid dating ebony queens. What’s so wrong with them? Why can’t they just embrace their chocolate? And furthermore, what is the problem with dark-skinned women pursuing them? If you’re rejecting your sisters then you are being just as ignorant as those who have rejected you.
- What I know for sure is that colorism is a sensitive topic that doesn’t have one answer so let’s stop trying to convince people about whom shade of melanin is better and instead focus on loving every girl equally. It might sound impossible or even naive but it is a goal worth fighting for.
- “What’s so wrong with them? Why can’t they just embrace their chocolate?”
- As a dark-skinned woman, I have been rejected countless times by men because of my skin color. My career path has taken me to some of the most beautiful cities in the world. And yet there were still men who refused to date me because I was too dark. Or even worse, I would be at a party or an event where everyone was kissing my hand. But when it came time to introduce them, they would pause and say. “I’m sorry—what did you say your name was again”? Instead of being surprised that a guy didn’t remember his conversation with me from ten seconds ago, I learned to expect it.
- It’s 2017 and we should no longer be surprised by men who refuse to date dark-skinned women. Because they remind him of his aunt or the black girl. He sat next to in high school for seven years without saying a single word. It is understandable that some men want nothing to do with us. Because they’re intimidated, but if you’re someone like me who has been rejected countless times. Then it becomes harder and harder understand. Why society pushes such a harmful narrative of light skin being more attractive than dark skin explains Paul Haarman.
- But instead of getting angry with individual men, I have learned to accept the fact. That there are many people out there who will never appreciate my cocoa complexion. No matter how long or how well I know them. We all have preferences, but it is hard to understand. Why some people are so adamant about sticking to them even when it affects someone’s self-esteem.
- “Instead of being surprised that a guy didn’t remember his conversation with me from ten seconds ago, I learned to expect it.”
There is no such thing as a perfect human says Paul Haarman. To fit society’s standards, you must be born with certain characteristics that most people do not possess. Some of them come with physical issues that can’t be changed. But there are also those that we don’t even intend to cause harm. Which is why it hurts the most when we realize they were done in vain.