Colorism is defined as discrimination against darker-skinned people, especially among members of the same ethnic or racial group. In other words, the lighter you are, the more privileges you can receive. You’ve probably encountered colorism when you heard sayings like, “If you’re white, you’re right,” or “You’re pretty for a dark-skinned girl.”
Dating while melanin drenched can be a battle. Although, there is a resurgeunce of black beauty happening, it doesn’t erase the self esteem issues that some women still have trouble with today. For some women, they weren’t considered “pretty enough.” Colorism starts with self perception from day one. It starts in the home. As you get older, the media starts to play a role with how we view ourselves, of course in comparison to others.
The social media driven world we live in can be a hard playing field. The way our favorite celebrities are or aren’t praised can be an inkling for how we see ourselves being treated by a significant other. Unfortunately, pop culture isn’t the best at accurately portraying dark-skinned women without lightening techniques, addressing the issue by engaging all cultures, and ditching the notion that we all crave to be the fairest of them all.
This prejudice for lighter skin encourages competition among women, and has been discussed by celebrities such as Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union and Lupita Nyong’o, who have shared similar painful stories about being rejected (and later rejecting themselves) for their darker complexions. There is already a competitive air in dating. Being viewed as attractive to a potential suitor is always the first phase. Factoring in the potential suitors’ “type” opens the door to another conversation.
The comparison of beauty in dating is the hardest part. Men, well let’s be honest, black men, have the hardest time accepting and appreciating the heavily melanated woman. Remember when Kodak Black made those ridiculous comments about his “preference?” He said, “I love all my fans. It’s some beautiful black women out there, it’s just not my preference to deal with a dark-skinned woman. I’m already dark. I like light-skinned women.” Now, this preference conversation in dating can get a little sketchy. Yes, it is perfectly okay to prefer chicken over beef, or salmon over cod, but to say that you prefer a woman BASED ON HER SKIN TONE shows the lack of knowledge and ultimately, self love. The notion of dating a black woman equating to “dealing” with a black woman is unsettling.
Unfortunately, this is the mentality of a lot of black men. Other races of men seem to appreciate our rich skin and kinky hair more than our own. Dating is hard enough. Dating with melanin can leave a young black girl thinking to herself, “How I can I compete with that?’ Being a regular black girl isn’t good enough.” It is more than enough! Being a woman of color is a special club that people all over the world secretly wish they were a part of. Quiet as it’s kept, some of the celebrities that are praised for their “ethnic enhancements” wish they were apart of the elite. Our skin, our hair and our strength are things that are often imitated but never duplicated. We are the culture. In short, your melanin is magic, Babygirl! Don’t let the opinions of an idiot make you feel less than beautiful!
Written By: Faith Stewart
Follow Faith on Instagram: @faithy_