Color or Character?
On TV and in magazines, you seldom see a dark-skinned black person. Our culture is still being led to believe that having lighter skin somehow makes you a better person.
Black people with lighter skin get treated better; I believe this discrepancy stems from the days of slavery. In general, dark-skinned blacks labored in the fields while light-skinned blacks worked indoors. Slave owners and even slaves gave lighter-skinned blacks more respect. This segregation of shades within the same race is a serious problem.
Colorism has always been an issue for the black community. In the past, some black social clubs and societies only allowed those who had light skin. "People say that in the early days at Spelman College (an historically black women' s college) young women were not admitted if they were darker than a paper bag," said one graduate.
Today, colorism is reinforced by black children having white G.I. Joes and Barbie dolls with blond hair and blue eyes. It is also strengthened by the absence of dark-skinned black people on TV and in magazines. What happened to "Black is Beautiful"? The black race is made up of many shades, so how can anyone say one is better than another?
Our society has taught us not to accept differences. One senior I know said, "My grandfather accepts me, while he treats my sister as if she doesn't exist because she is darker." I asked a number of my classmates what a beautiful black woman looks like, and most of them gave the obvious answers: Halle Berry and Vanessa Williams.
But one response surprised me. When I asked one classmate, she said she thought there was not just one. She named Lauryn Hill, Jada Pinkett Smith and Erykah Badu, who are all very different, but each has something that makes her beautiful. She also mentioned her deceased friend, Monique: "Monique was beautiful because she was smart, always kept herself together and did not let her looks get...