Miss Jia posted a video about a documentary called, Dark Girls. My first thought was, “Is this issue ever going to die,” and I have finally come to the conclusion that it’s not. I am a dark skinned woman. I have heard darker women say to me, “You’re not dark, you’re brown,” and light skinned women say, “Oh she is darker like like you,” when describing someone else. It finally hit me that many people don’t have a problem with their skin tone, they have a bigger problem with the word “dark” and how it is used by other people.
For example, I live around a lot of white people, and when their children are born with jaundice, which gives their babies a reddish or a yellowish tint, I hear them describe the baby as dark. It literally cracks me up because their is nothing dark about their children, but it implies that something is wrong. However, the same people when tanning, brag about how dark their skin complexion appears, and embraces the word dark.
That same word dark when used in the black community can have positive and negative connotations. Their is something inherently sexy when describing a “dark-skinned” brother, but that same since of beauty is lost when describing a “dark-skinned” sister. Generally if a woman is “pretty for a dark girl” people tend to use words like mocha, chocolatety, or “brown” skin to avoid the word “dark”.
Lastly, my mama always said, “If you don’t love yourself, who else will?” I imagine many of these women in the video have received non back-handed compliments, but still hold onto the negative ones. It’s not just a light skinned v dark skinned issue, it’s also an issue of self-esteem and self perception. My best friend growing up was the lightest person in her family, and she hated when people asked if she was mixed, implying that she was too different. She had a hard time with her fair complexion growing up, because beauty in her mind was having darker skin.