The Under-appreciated Brown and Black Girls

As we bring 2021 to a close, I wanted to bring awareness to the topic of colorism. This is not only an issue for adults but also for many teen girls, including myself. In society, light skin girls are praised, especially if they are biracial. I never understood what colorism was until this year. In my 7th-period class, one of my former friends openly shared how he would never date a dark skin girl. He then commented, “The darker they are, the dirtier.” I was very offended but then he said to me, “Morgen, you have nothing to worry about. You are considered a light skin black girl, and you’re very well put together, unlike your friends.” At that moment, I didn’t know how to feel. In my mind, my thoughts were, “I was just like all of my friends, a hard-working Honors and AP student.” So, what did he mean by that? The problems that girls with melanated skin face should not be a factor in life, especially in high school. The effects on us and how we handle this issue can be personal or just known and not talked about. I thought it was important for me to add words from real girls who have experienced their share of colorist remarks and experiences. Below, I’ve included the thoughts of other black and brown high school girls.

“In society, there are beauty standards constantly making light skins set apart from the rest of us. I remember wishing I stayed light the way I was in middle school, struggling with the image of myself. No one directly said anything to me, but through social media and publicity with celebrities, it’s just obvious what “brackets we all fall in.” Society made it feel like if I had the same face and body as someone lighter than me, they’d still be considered prettier. Beauty shouldn’t have anything to do with skin tone.” – Anonymous

“It makes you feel almost like you’re not good enough, and it really gets into your mind and makes you wish you were someone else. And little comments about your skin can take a long time to heal and help you understand that you are beautiful the way you are light skin, brown skin, dark skin, and even in the middle.” -Anonymous.

“Colorism makes me more insecure than I already am, and it affects the way I look at myself. People think colorism is just stereotyping people with different colors of skin, but it’s more than that. It’s a way that people hide colorism behind a preference to bash people they’re not attracted to because of the color of their skin” -Anonymous

As you can see, it is not just me who sees the colorism problem that brown and black girls face. I wanted to write about this topic because we, as a society, need to start taking steps to see deeper than the color of one’s skin tone. As one of the quotes above stated, “people hide colorism behind a preference to bash people they’re not attracted to because of the color of their skin; this is not okay.” Having a preference is different from thinking that someone with a lighter skin tone is better than their darker-skinned counterparts.

I end by saying, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “am I a part of the problem?” Just acknowledging that you discriminate against girls or women with darker skin tones is a step in the correct direction, even if you didn’t realize it was more than a preference. Remember this, our preferences are often rooted in prejudicialness.

I am a young, educated, talented black girl who is proud of the skin she’s in.

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