The Colorist Confession

Our eyes locked, instantly my stomach became fluttered with butterflies as I didn’t expect the familiar face I hadn’t seen in nearly ten years. The opportunity presents itself for us to catch up and reminisce. The admiration I had once felt for this young black man was not entirely reciprocated. Now as he stood before me, I could feel lady justice tipping the scale. We make small talk about what we currently have going in our lives. He proceeds to tell me that he’s a father of a then 8 or 9 year old daughter; he takes out his phone and pulls up a couple of pictures. She was a beautiful young Queen, his spitting image. He must have felt the vibe of my inquisitive thoughts, because out of nowhere he provides an explanation, one that I was totally not expecting.

He then says, “ You know I was really immature back then, the way I thought about things just didn’t make sense.” With a puzzled look on my face; I asked, “what do you mean?” He replies, “I know you was feeling me back then, and I was too; but I aint gone lie, the fact that we are both dark skinned was an issue for me. ”I wasn’t taken aback by his confession, as I briefly reflected on another conversation I’d had with a former boyfriend and his homie whom were both dark skinned men; his homie expressed a similar sentiment. I just didn’t expect that level of honesty from him. By this time in my life I was fully aware of colorism, its perpetrators and their denial, and the effects. Since this was not the first time a man his hue acknowledged why they avoided women my complexion; I find it interesting that even when they go out of their way to avoid procreating dark children they never consider that they can still produce dark children because they are dark regardless of the mother’s complexion. (I call this the Gilbert Arenas Affect) He goes on to state, “Once I found out I had a daughter and saw she looked just like me I began to understand how crazy my thinking was.” However, as much as I wanted to have an appreciation for his honesty. I couldn’t help but consider the effects of his thinking on his parenting.

The illusion that because someone is a parent to a dark skinned child means that there’s a love or admiration for their dark skin is far from truth. There are countless colorist parents that make an exception for their dark babies but still despise dark skin. This is commonly seen amongst light skinned black women that love dark men but despise dark skinned black women. They sometimes go on to birth dark babies but what happens to the hate? Does it just mask itself as a new found love? I don’t believe that having dark children is an eraser to colorist views. You can’t love colorism away, if it were true then we could’ve done this with racism, we see how that’s going.

When someone is colorist whether it is self reflected hatred or disdain for darker hues, the painful roots are embedded in personal experience resulting in unsavory actions they are now held responsible for. Here we have a dark skinned man who may have been teased during childhood for being dark and sometimes may even join in, in teasing other dark skinned children especially the girls,(I saw this quite often as a teacher) dislike the treatment; then physically matures into a dark skinned man that avoids women who resemble his complexion; therefore he elevates lighter or non-black women who in turn feel superior to dark skinned black women because of the lust and attention given by the self hating dark skinned man. This union is joined by the distaste for dark skinned black women and often a fetishized look of their future children.

I share these experiences to highlight key factors mentioned by the founder of this platform. Colorism in the black community is often perpetrated by self hating dark skinned black men and light skinned black women whose self-esteem is centered around their elevation over dark skinned black women. One can only hope that the children born into these unions are exposed to someone or thing that can show them love, how to self-love, and maneuver in a colorist world.

Ms. Lowery – “I reside in Los Angeles, Ca. I am former middle school teacher currently working in social service. My hobbies are reading, dance, gardening, and traveling.”


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