Light Skin vs. Dark skin: Are we at Race War with OURSELVES?

So, I came across a very compelling article the other day on the web. It was entitled, “10 Unnacceptable cycles Black People have to change.” I will make sure to have the link will be posted below.
The title immediately grabbed my attention, I had to see what this was all about! Scrolling through the list, I saw the cliche stereotypes that our race does seem to hold true such as poverty, crime, sexual promiscuity (For clarification, I am not saying other cultures cannot be held accountable to these stereotypes as well), etc. I came across the eighth thing on the list which was as follows: “Intra racial discrimination”.
Below its title, it stated “We are one community made of up various colors. At no time should we place one complexion over another. Without divisiveness, we are a force.”
Powerful. I began to ponder… what did they mean by this? I immediately began to think of all of the “Light skin” vs. “Dark skin” memes I have been witnessing lately. Are we at a stage in our history in which one complexion within black culture gets preferential treatment over the other? Interesting, right.
To fully understand intraracial discrimination and the skin color paradox/color complex within the African American community is an issue that I not only feel very strongly about, but it needs to be addressed.

The United States of America is known WORLDWIDE as the melting pot, made up of various cultures, races, religions, and backgrounds. While in some cultures, diversity isn’t typically embraced as freely, but here? We embrace it, we live it. And it hasn’t always been this way, especially in African American culture.

From the time period in which slavery was abolished, to the Civil Rights movement, to electing our FIRST EVER African American president of the United States, our country has come a long way. Although racism, as we know it, is still present, it is not necessarily PREVALENT. But there is a question that comes to mind… What is the actual meaning behind “racism?”

Sure, there is Racism as we know it, which can be defined by Google as “The belief that all members of each Race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that Race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.” This includes stereotypes against races, discriminating against other races, religions, or others who we think are drastically different than us, in a way that we are not accustomed to.
 Historically, you could argue that lighter skinned African-Americans get preferential treatment over darker skinned African-Americans, because they are seen as being closer to white. Unfortunately lighter people have received preferential treatment throughout the years, especially when it comes to educational, employment, and social opportunities. This standard that light-skinned people are treated better than other complexions has inevitably created a divisive skin color paradox, with serious psychological repercussions.
For example, this whole “Light skins be like” and “Dark skins be like” trend on Instagram and other social media avenues. Sure, this trend started off as jokes that DO IN FACT hold truth, but are we discriminating against our own race?
If I see a African American of a lighter complextion in passing, do I automatically assume they don’t reply to texts, or are more emotional? Is it meant to be light hearted, or is it new age racism?
And don’t even get me started on this whole Drake thing. Saying he’s emotional because he’s light skinned, or that he’s “soft” and everything. Again, these assumptions and stereotypes do hold some truth to them, but when is enough ENOUGH? Are we taking these jokes too far? Is someone bound to get offended? Is it fair to say that we are discriminating against our OWN RACE?
There is no right or wrong answer to this never-ending question; just facts, thoughts, feelings and emotions.  This topic has been heavy on my heart and I would love to hear your comments and thoughts below.
Are we at a race war with ourselves?
Thanks guys!
Always remember: You are Fearfully, Wonderfully and “Beautifully mane.” 

12 thoughts on “Light Skin vs. Dark skin: Are we at Race War with OURSELVES?

  1. One day we will all just be a lighter shade of brown from years of breeding between cultures and none of this will matter. But for now, it does. I think we should start with just calling ourselves “Americans”, regardless of where our ancestors are from. Although I’m proud of my heritage, I don’t refer to myself as a Scottish-American. I think that helps perpetuate divisiveness. As for Drake, didn’t he start on Nick at night? Pretty hardcore rapper there. He’s no Big Boi or Andre 3000. Nice post, cheers.

    • I don’t think we all have to ” be a lighter shade of brown” I’m a woman that’s a very DARK shade of brown whose ancestors survived slavery and segregation in America and here I stand today in 2014 dark chocolate as ever. Above all I am a HUMAN BEING. I feel the pain, joy, love, sorrow, anger, fear all human beings do regardless of phenotype. The answer isn’t to homogenize the world, race mixing isn’t a phenomenon of the 21st century it’s been going on since the very start of racially diverse human existence and yes we still have a MULTITUDE of people that vary in shades and skin tones. We need to work on seeing each other as HUMANS and therefore ONE.

  2. Great post. I love the comment from the gentleman above as well. My thoughts are simply this. Every change that needs to be made in life starts with the man in the mirror. The more we all work to improve ourselves the faster and quicker the negative issues deplete. Again, great informative post.

  3. Great stuff! I admit in my younger years I seriously thought there was a problem with my complexion because people would say things like “I saw a pretty girl but she wasn’t as dark (or as black as) you.” People would be outrageous enough to utter the words “you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl.” Sayings like that scars a young girl figuring out who she is and what we end up with is an adult generation stuck with a skewed sense of self-pride.

    There are still times where inferiority raises its ugly head and war is internally waged when you are compared to someone of a different complexion against your will- you get an unpleasant flashback of the thoughts you’ve worked so hard to banish. So yes, I do believe that we, in the African-American population (People of color in general because I’ve noticed this among other races) are in a war against ourselves. It’s sad really. That’s why as a mentor I have to consciously make the effort to share my pains and experiences in my struggle to love myself – as I now do! If this war is to ever end we need to start with the children. Children hold on to what they learn, they test it and either prove or disprove it. What they prove true they share with tenacity; and there is something compelling about a child asking you to be better in your thoughts and actions.

    Am I wrong?

  4. Thanks for sharing. I do believe the African American community should be doing much better. I had a friend tell me that a guy told her she was pretty for a dark skinned girl and i was in complete shock that people are actually taking this to the next level from IG and actually verbalizing it to others. Its distasteful and our community will continue to be oppressed and marginalized because we do things like this to ourselves.

  5. Thanks everyone for sharing! These are all such interesting perspectives; some shaped from our OWN experiences, and others shaped from knowledge, culture and what we have become accustomed to growing up in America.

    Glad I shared this, simply to stimulate our minds and get us thinking about what aspects of our culture need to be changed, and what is inevitable.

    If you REALLY liked this post, feel free to reblog this to your followers and or share the link! Much appreciated.

    With kinks,


    Always remember: You are Fearfully, Wonderfully and “Beautifully mane.”

  6. Pingback: Race … again? Yep. | Nina Kaytel

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  8. One of the most beautiful people I’ve seen were dark-skinned. Genevive Nnaji is dark skinned, but she is one of the most beautiful actors in Nigeria. And one of my good friends, she’s dark-skinned, but her picture circulates the internet over and over again. What I’m saying is that, it doesn’t matter whether you’re dark-skinnned. It’s your facial features that make you beautiful. I’ve seen light-skinned people that aren’t very pretty. I am light-skinned, and a great number of the people I’ve find very pretty have been dark-skinned. Dark skinned people have a glow that you can’t find anyway else. Look at this photo.

    • At Uchenna. You’re very childish. What you’re saying goes back to the reason why this topic is being created. Genevieve might be the prettiest to you but beauty is subjective… Who are you to determine she’s the most beautiful actress in Nigeria. Genevieve is pretty but over exaggerated in the beauty department. Some of the most beautiful you know are dark skinned… Do I believe you? Hell no. But you said that self actualization. Is that bad? Hell no.

  9. Pingback: Light Skin vs. Dark skin: Are we at Race War with OURSELVES? | According to Moriah

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