I definitely rolled my eyes when I first heard that about Light Girls. While I enjoyed Bill Duke’s Dark Girls, did we really need to be reminded of light skin privilege? Ouch. I have nothing against those with light skin, but I think my initial response to the film came from a place of hurt that I thought was long gone. I wasn’t thrilled about the sequel because I wasn’t sure if it would solve anything. However, I genuinely wanted to hear what light girls had to say about colorism in hopes to spark a new conversation.
Twenty minutes into the documentary, something about it was not sitting right with me and I couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was the fact that I was hearing the stories that I expected—Dark girls were always bullying light girls, some Black men view light-skinned women as trophies and the shocker, dark-skinned women are ok to date, but it helps if they make up for it with their physical features. I just could not understand the point of this film.
After watching that, I wasn’t sure if colorism would ever go away. Iyanla Vanzant said so eloquently that “the impact of colorism on young girls—light girls and dark girls—leaves scars on the soul that live well into womanhood.” I think this is the key to the problem. I’m not light-skinned, but I can imagine that it’s frustrating for people to always assume that you think you’re better because of your complexion or that you’re not black enough. For dark girls, you constantly hear that lighter is better and you spend your adolescent years (and for some, even adulthood) not feeling beautiful until you start to change the way you feel about yourself.
I think those scars from colorism are the reason why the division among the Black community is still prevalent today. It’s like we have this unspoken bond with those who share our skin tone, even though we’re all Black. Say what you want, but it’s exactly why some dark girls were elated when the world viewed Lupita Nyong’o as beautiful, why we love seeing Gabrielle Union and Tika Sumpter on our TV screens and why we let out a sigh of relief when we first saw that Michelle Obama was a chocolate sister.
I hate that this is still a topic of discussion and I don’t have the answers. However, I think the only way to start mending this issue is for everyone to start the healing process within themselves. Black is beautiful. Period.
Ashley White is a regular contributor at She Writes Life. When she isn’t unnecessarily shopping for home decor, you can find her thoughts on life, love and relationships here on She Writes Life. Follow her musings on Instagram @love_ashl3y.