Posted on June 1, 2011

The Stupidity of Black “Colorism”

Cord Jefferson, BET, May 31, 2011


The buzz around the upcoming documentary Dark Girls once again brings to the forefront the awful “colorism” in the Black community. Focusing on how difficult it can be for the darkest of Black women to feel accepted in a world that seems to celebrate only Beyoncés, Dark Girls finds women admitting awful bouts of self-loathing: “I can remember being in the bathtub asking my mom to put bleach in the water so that my skin would be lighter and so that I could escape the feelings I had about not being as beautiful, as acceptable, as lovable.”

Colorism is one of the lingering side effects of racism and colonialism throughout much of the world. In parts of Asia, where British settlers tormented natives for years, skin-bleaching creams are all the rage amongst the darker citizens. In some places, like South Africa, white oppressors even came up with ratings systems in which lighter people of color were given preference over the darker people. That minorities have come to segment themselves is frequently a learned behavior, and one of the more despicable ones at that.

Beyond that, European standards of beauty, in which lighter Black women with unnaturally straight hair are heralded, have frequently been foisted upon consumers by unthinking marketing agencies and the fashion industry. {snip}

{snip} That all African-Americans haven’t yet learned that judging someone based on the color–or, in this case, shade–of their skin is wrong is indicative of a deep problem in the community. It also means we have a long way to go if we’re going to actually defeat racism. {snip}

22 responses to “The Stupidity of Black “Colorism””

  1. sbuffalonative says:

    Does this world include how native Africans in Africa feel about dark and light skin-tone women?

    Colorism is one of the lingering side effects of racism and colonialism throughout much of the world. In parts of Asia, where British settlers tormented natives for years, skin-bleaching creams are all the rage amongst the darker citizens.

    If an intellegent person believed this is true, they would demand to have their own nations and communities where dark women would be excursively seen as beautiful.

  2. Eric says:

    Notice how simplistic the black thinking is on this subject. White people started it, white people did it etc. British settlers tormenting Asians? What is he even talking about? Pretty sure that that Indians have had preference for light skinned people hundreds of years before the first British settlers arrived. I don’t care what blacks find attractive but the constant blaming of whites for every single black “problem” is beyond absurd.

  3. Mike H. says:

    A learned behavior? From who? Non-whites were doing this long before they met white people.

    This reminds me an episode of some black talk show(I can’t for the life of me remember the name of it or why I was watching it) where this very topic was discussed. Cue about 20+ black males phoning in to talk about why light skin is more attractive.

  4. ciccio says:

    How many times must one hammer home the truth before it sinks in?

    In all pre-industrial societies there were two classes of people.

    Those who laboured in the fields “by the sweat of their brow” and those who lived by the toil of others. Those who were out in the sun all day, by they Chinese or Hindu or Spanish or Egyptian gradually got a darker skin and told class at a glance. Even today you still see elderly Chinese ladies with an umbrella on a sunny day lest God forbid, they get the least little bit of a tan. Long before the whites ever got near India it was the lighter skinned who ruled the roost. Look through some Indian matrimonial ads, all the p.c. in the worlds will not stop them looking for the “fair skinned”.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Beyond that, European standards of beauty, in which lighter Black women with unnaturally straight hair are heralded…”

    —— What about latino or asian or arab or any other straight hair? Why does only white people hair get the blame for making kinky-haired girls feel bad. Whatever happened to ‘wear yo’ ‘fro’ and ‘be natural’? I thought years of black power and black is beautiful was supposed to correct these things.

    And how can people say white standards of beauty when the overwhelming majority of black boys and girls are around other black boys and girls 95%+ of their time?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder should really read: ‘jealousy is the means by which the standard of beauty is affirmed’.

    I find the delicate features and porcelain skin of white women to be so much more evocative (easier to read) for emotional content and interest. A white woman laughs and blushes and it just makes her already pretty features light up like a star.

    She cries or gets mad and her features turn waxen and flat and fixed and you know you’ve gone too far or she’s had a rough day.

    If she is lucky enough to have bejeweled eyes they glow too, whether in rage or in happiness.

    Most whites are not nearly as forward as other ethnies around the opposite sex which means it takes a lot more time and effort to figure out the telegraphs we give each other but even that is fun.

    This isn’t racial to be hating blacks. This is racial because _only that type of (white) woman_ has that kind of read-in to her personality and moods.

    And it is so beautiful.

  7. WASP says:

    If darker were smarter…they’d all love being dark.

    But sadly …lighter means brighter

    There are exceptions but that is generally the truth and they are perfectly aware of that.

  8. AvgDude says:

    Even their own bigotry is blamed on us. These people don’t want to solve “racism”… They want to use their race as an excuse to wallow in perpetual ignorance and failure.

  9. HH says:

    I’ll one-up your supposed self-loathing, all ye ladies “of color.” I don’t much care what your particular hue may be – non-white is non-white and that’s that! You can straighten your hair, and have a light complexion…you still aren’t white, and therefore, most whites are not interested. Can I make that any clearer?

  10. whiteraven says:

    “When blacks prefer lighter skin, it’s a legacy of racism and colonialism.”

    Will the whining never end?

    Blacks are the curse of Western civilization.

  11. elitist says:

    Black Americans hate FAKE BLACKS like Obama for the simplest reason imaginable:

    even someone from Mars who landed on earth half an hour ago would notice that the vast majority of successful “blacks” are mixed race or essentially white people with a small amount of African genetic heritage.

    Because they are essentially white, they tend to have higher IQs and be more competent than blacks.

    But because they are a tiny bit black – just enough to justify checking the African-American box on application forms (this sacred African-American ritual is how that embarrassing mediocrity Obama’s launched his meteoric rise) – they enjoy the extraordinary privileges of TOKENISM (whatever happened to that word??).

    It is an open secret that black Americans hate FAKE BLACKS for being smarter than blacks, for gaming the system, for having grotesquely inflated egos, for having more money & success than blacks, for playing the victim role while coasting effortlessly up into the professional class, fueled by white guilt.

    Meanwhile, the Martian would notice – after half an hour or so – that the “African-American elite” (the café au lait Blacks) have produced stunningly little by way of genuine accomplishment (who are the great black American scientists, physicians, engineers??).

    What’s not to hate about a corrupt, rigged system based on hypocrisy, double dealing, sleight-of-hand, and general phoniness????

    Black people know the ugly secret of white liberalism:

    Liberals hate black people, find them menacing, frightening, and despair of integrating them into mainstream society.

    It’s well behaved, café au lait Blacks like Obama they love – and that’s where most of the resources and efforts go – to creating a façade of multiracial harmony while the real black community spirals ever downward into a maelstrom of dysfunction, violence, and pathology.

    A hard-nosed, unsentimental, conservative administration with no illusions about blacks, but a sense of obligation toward them would be the best thing that happened to blacks in America in a century.

  12. Bandmo says:

    Skin color is the very least of the problem.

  13. olewhitelady says:

    The majority of people of European heritage have brown hair and eyes, and yet the standard of greatest beauty is blonde hair and blue eyes. As far as I know, no ethnic group of totally blonde-haired, blue-eyed people enslaved or colonized all the brown-haired, brown-eyed white folks and forced alien standards onto them.

    From all I hear, black and Hispanic men prefer women with large buttocks. Is THAT a white standard?

  14. Anonymous says:


    Blacks discriminating against their own!! Because of skin tone. Gimme a break. But to tell you the truth, I do not care. It is their problem, why are we always trying to solve their problems for them?

    I personally think the black woman in the picture is beautiful. If the blacks can not see that because they are hankering for white women, that would be their problem, (except too many white females think black males are more attractive). Viva la Difference.

  15. Jack says:

    “…to actually defeat racism.”

    Why in the world would I want to defeat it?

    I wish to make it the standard lens that everything is viewed through.

  16. Anonymous says:

    And if they prefer darker skin it must be because they are intimidated by white racists.You can’t win with some people.

  17. Sardonicus says:

    I’m afraid the old expression: “black is beautiful” doesn’t refer to black, blacks. It usually means mulatto women of mixed heritage. Many blacks from the Deep South and the Caribbean don’t much like “skillet blonds” “blue gums” or “redbones”, but prefer the “yellow girls” I’ve actually overheard some South Carolina blacks complaining about a relative marrying a “dark” black and losing all that “mellow” complexion. Yes, many blacks, among themselves, are as color conscious as any group.

  18. Anonymous says:

    70% of black children are born out of wedlock

    71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes

    75% of blk males drop of high school in Detroit

    75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse ctrs R frm fatherless homes

    85% of all youths in prisons R frm fatherless homes

    32% of US blk men brn in 2001 will go to prison during their life

    AIDS is the #1 killer of African-American women ages 25-34

    48% of US blk women have herpes according to the CDC.

    All true, google it.

    And they are worried about skin tone????? If it weren’t so sad it would be comical.

  19. AM says:

    How many blacks in the United States are “pure” African? It has to be a rather small percentage. Shouldn’t the majority of blacks be considered “mulatto” on the census form and such- like they are listed in Central/South American countries?

    Also, instead of the stupid Hispanic designation, there should be a listing for mestizo, Amerindian, or European. Why should a German born in Argentina be listed differently as a German born in America?

    The categories for the US should be European, African, Mestizo, Mulatto, SW Asian/Arab, South Asian, Oriental, Pacific Islander, Amerindian, Eskimo/Inuit

  20. Anonymous says:

    11 — elitist wrote at 4:00 AM on June 2:

    Black Americans hate FAKE BLACKS like Obama for the simplest reason imaginable:


    Not so..

    I believe at least 98% of blacks voted him in office simply because he is black in their eyes. He is also black in my eyes and acts like, thinks like a black, and I don’t give a darn about his so-called “white side”. I have questions about his mamas “whiteness” to begin with. His white grandpa hung out with commies and blacks.

  21. Anonymous says:

    #7-“If darker were smarter…they’d all love being dark.

    But sadly …lighter means brighter

    There are exceptions but that is generally the truth and they are perfectly aware of that.”

    No, smartness is different from being beautiful. One can be smart and ugly, or dumb and pretty. They are different concepts.

    If Caucasian women are considered pretty, it is because of their skin tone and features, not because of how they score in IQ tests.

  22. Cunningham says:

    “In parts of Asia, where British settlers tormented natives for years, skin-bleaching creams are all the rage amongst the darker citizens.”

    – Yes I guess by tormenting we mean tremendously raising living standards, abolishing primitive cruel practices like “suttee”, where widows were thrown upon the funeral pyres of their husbands, establishing order and law, education for all children, removing societal barriers for women, etc.

    Furthermore, no British ever “made” a native put on skin-bleaching creams,and an appreciation of light skin and efforts to make oneself “white” were a part of the history and culture of Asia stretching back thousands of years before the British ever set foot there. But who cares about truth these days when politically charged lies are much more convenient and lucrative instead?

    The fact is, black skin is a proxy for commonplace black behavior, and people’s opinions on it historically were based upon reality. If blacks were more intelligent, better behaved, achieved more, then black skin would be viewed in high esteem. A lone white walking down the road at night does not see epicanthal folds (“Asian slanted eyes”) and yellow skin on a passerby and have a fear in the gut that this individual might mug them. This is due to realistic thinking by the white based on crime rates of Asians. The reality is that blacks are actually being presented far more favorably in the media, schools, etc than what they deserve, based upon their actual behavior.