Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tyra Banks asks: "Do Light-Skinned Blacks Have It Easier?"

Tyra Banks isn't the first person to pose this question and she surely won't be the last.

Our country has questions like this ingrained in the fabric of our society and one look at our past serves as a clear reminder why. But this is exactly why it's important to have more minority voices emerge and make their way into public discourse so we can tackle our tainted perceptions and aspire towards something better.

In the picture above, Tyra talks with two sisters as the dark-skinned sister shares the hurt she felt over being seen as less favorable than her light-skinned sister. While her light-skinned sister got all the attention and compliments she wondered when it was going be "her turn" to be considered beautiful. Her pain is real like many other dark-skinned women who live with the wounds of racism in our country.

As a light-skinned woman I cannot deny that there isn't a certain privilege that is associated with fair-skin. Yes, I have reaped some benefits from my genetic make-up but I didn't ask to look the way I do, God made me that way. However, God did give me a choice on how I would define myself in this world.

I can't speak for all light-skinned people but I must point out that our struggles and hardships come in a different form. It's not that one is better than the other because we are all equal in God's eyes. Jesus didn't die for "just" white people or "just" for black people. He died for ALL people.

Sin doesn't have a color line, it invades people of every ethnicity and every skin hue and sometimes it rears its ugly head in the shape of racism and prejudice. But when good people stand up to it like Tyra did on her show it's a step toward healing and a step away from all the negative mess.

[Hat tip to the Tyra Banks Show]


Rain said...

Ok , I actually watched this episode of The Tyra Show. I also read that article in the Ebony Maganzine. I can see how the "dark skin" women feel about "light skin" women. I happened to be light skin person and some on the points that mention on the show was just ridiculous. I treat everyone the same no matter your skin tone or race. During my years in high school I didn't hang out with the "black kids". Like not that I didn't want to it's just i was most def treated differently. I mean they used to say that I dress like "white girl" what ever that might be. I wear Hollister , American Eagle and shop at different stores. I felt like I know who I am so why do I have to dress urban in the "apple bottom " jeans just to prove something. I also spoke "different" , I mean I speak proper english so that makes me white? I would also get dirty looks for darker skin girls and I still do when I go out with my friends. I guess I do it treated in a different way, but that's because I'm a bright, smart young women. I do get treated worst sometimes by black people like they make jokes. I think people are people and your can't judge them because GOD chooses the HUES of or skins.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to give my perspective as a dark-skinned young lady. I am 15 years old and I am a sophmore in high school. I have always addressed the issue of light-skinned women having certain advantages. I partially saw the show and yes, some of the points were kind of ridiculous but seeing it from my point of view many of the points were feelings that I have had to encounter at such a young age. People or "friends" will kid with me and say hurtful things such as "you're the blackest whitest girl I know" and sometimes it hurts. I am the darkest of my friends but they call me the white girl because i speak properly, because i prefer Avril Lavigne over T.I., because I have the "body of a white girl"(large upper frame and very small lower frame), and who knows what else!!
I never really acknowledged my dark skin unitl pple started pointing it out to me in 9th grade it really sucked!! Ever since then I have been so self conscience and I have noticed how the darker a female is, the more attractive you have to be and your features have to stand out!! I got a little lucky b/c I am Ethiopian and I have some of my moms beauty(who is light skinned by the way)but everytime i see her i always wish I got her skin color instead of my dads. Guys have it easier to me, though.
That's just my intake on the issue. Im still trying my best to accept it...but its tough!!

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I watched this episode and I was pissed off at how some of her guests were:

Of course the one woman with the son: She screamed IGNORANT!

And how about the two brothers on stage? Tyra could have got some better young Black men to come on the show. Instead she found these two ignorant, incoherent, shallow young Black men that just represents how ignorant some of these young Black men are about their African-American heritage. I hated that the dark-skinned man said he preferred dark-skinned girls. And I hated how the light-skinned man said he preferred light-skinned girls. Why not prefer GOOD WOMEN? Or women with class, dignity, respect, a good head on her shoulders? What happened to just an attractive woman regardless of skin tone. Obviously they were just young, horny, young men who did not know what to say and need about ten or twenty years to mature.

That "Blacker the Berry, Sweeter the Juice" motto, I HATE IT! All it does it contribute to the segregation within the African-American community based on skin tone. Why not embracing each other regardless of skin tone? I understand the harassment that darker Blacks suffer because of ignorance, that "Blacker Berry" motto just adds to the ignorance. What happened to just "Black is Beautiful?" Like Tyra said, Blackness comes in chocolate, caramel, mocha latte, coffee, etc.

And that Felicia chick (from America's next Top Model) has no mind of her own obviously. When Tyra asked her if it is an advantage in the modeling industry, Felicia says "Yes, it is. I don't condone it or support it. It is what it is. There's nothing I can do about it". Uh, you silly bimbo. How about admitting that you do have advantage and at the same time ADMITTING THAT "IT IS WRONG I GET ADVANTAGES ONLY BASED ON MY SKIN COLOR AND THAT COMPANIES SHOULD CHOOSE A GIRL BASED ON TALENT, NOT SKIN TONE"?

Last, that one girl in the audience who made that Halle Berry comment to the woman on stage, I don't why she had the audacity to stand up and roast that woman like some hoodrat. She could have intelligently told that woman off beside calling her names.

I like Tyra's attempt to bring this issue up, but I felt no serious impact that it could have made on the viewers. Nice try Tyra but next time, get some African-American historians, educators and anthropologists beside a bunch of ignorant young people who just want to rant and rave.

SolShine7 said...

Rain and Anon 1, it's sad that some people label certain behavior to "acting white". It would be best if people put that aside and focused on being themselves, whoever that might be.

Thanks for taking the time to share your heartfelt opinions.

Anon 2, I totally agree with you on the point that Tyra could have assembled a better panel. Some more experts on race relations would have been idea, like a professor. Some people on the show had some mean-spirited words to say but in all fairness I think that's how they really felt. But that doesn't change how ignorant they sounded. They'll have accept enlightenment in their own time. Until that comes, we can only pray and educate.

Anonymous said...

Did not see the program,read the article in Ebony magazine.When will we get pass this ? As a mother of two "light skin " daughters, And having a "very fair" Black/German Mother . I have heard many stories and experienced things first hand.We must ask why most importantly look pass skin color and inspect our souls, for they have no color,but a conscience.Humans see color GOD sees our HEARTS. (

Tony W. said...

Great Post Karen, and Great responses from everyone.

I didn't see the episode (but i'll probably youtube it later on)
but this has been a issue in Afircan-American society as well as Americas society as a whole for sometime now.

People must understand that Race is social construct. There is no difference between blacks, whites, yellow, red, or browns in our capabilities, likes, dislikes, kindness, desires and dreams.
The Problem occurs when we associate these concepts with pecular traits (i.e. Skin color).
The soloution happens when we decide to treat each other as equals, Cause we are all HUMAN, no matter what our skin color, hair color, Height, weight, or age may be.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I have seen the differences being made. Tho I come from a Jewish heritage most of my friends are African American, and I used to only hear them talk about it, I have since then seen it!

I don't understand the difference, I have dated outside of my race, It has been African Americans, Jews, Egyptians Lets just say I have dated a lot of different races, yet I see no difference no matter the color is your are a Mess, You can be a mess whether you are black, white or asian..

It is what is in your heart, Your love for Yeshua... I hope I am not stepping out of line since This topic was about African Americans. I have just been there and seen it.

I personally think it is silly and to me Color does not Matter at all!!

Shalom & Ahava!

SolShine7 said...

Anon 3, I totally agree with you.

Tony, that was very much well said.

Cinder-Single, I'm glad you're open to dating guys from all ethnicities, that's how everyone should be in an ideal world. Yeshua focuses on the heart and so should we.

Great comments everyone! Keep them coming!!!

Neeci said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brown Girl Gumbo said...

I watched that Tyra episode too and was mortified by that one woman's insane way of thinking. It really sickened me to see an African-American woman so brainwashed and so full of hatred try to pass on her wicked views to her son.

Thanks for this post for those who didn't see the show. :-)

SolShine7 said...

Neeci, it's nice to hear your perspective on this. Especially since your parents are Nigerian and come from different ethnic groups. And I'm glad you're open to love in whatever skin color it may come in.

BGG, that lady was a real mess but I'm glad her son opposes her warped view. Hopefully she will turn and see the light and put aside that foolishness.

Thanks for the comments ladies!

Dave Carrol said...

Wow... is this really an "issue". Sometimes it still stuns me that colour is an issue in the states.

Not that Canada is lilly white or anything but race is almost never even noted, discussed, etc...

it's wild the difference

SolShine7 said...

Dave, thanks for sharing your perspective. I really enjoy getting comments from people outside the USA.

chris said...

I have a few words about preferences; no I haven't watched the show but I think there are some misconceptions about preferences and how or who black men choose to date. Women have preferences and do not expect anyone to take issue with them but when men have their own preferences it seems to be this serious problem. Much of it is a reflection of the outright discrimination women have experienced by some men, which is different from one's preference. I am dark skinned and prefer dark skinned girls. Light skinned girls are attractive, and I made a lot of cool friends, but that is about as far as it has ever went. On the other hand with dark skinned girls it's been different. When light skinned girls want light skinned males so they can have a cute baby or because they know that they can get them so why go with a dark skinned man what is the real difference there. Dark skinned girls are not always picked by light skinned guys, but tend to have more success with White men when even other dark skinned guys do not want to be bothered. Do you fault them for opting to choose to date White men in spite of it? So when the light skinned girls were interested, but then when I tried to talk to them it was just that; me trying to talk to them, I think I have every right to prefer to choose a dark skinned girl, or a White girl, or whomever I want. It doesn't say that I am no longer attracted to light skinned girls, just says that I am doing what works for me. Again, it seems that women have their hangups because they're stuck in the rejection they had formerly out of guys they liked that weren't interested in them. Light skinned girls like dark skinned guys, but for whatever reason a lot of dark skinned guys may not talk to them. But if that is an issue of accessibility, and you overlooked that dark skinned guy, who maybe really wanted to be with you, for a light skinned guy that wasn't as serious or perhaps it didn't work out ... I mean that's how it goes sometimes, of course if some other light skinned girl is really serious about being with him he's right back on it but that doesn't always happen though.

SolShine7 said...

Cris, thanks for sharing your opinion. I think initial attraction and preference only goes so far. It's the connection and personality that makes a relationship last (and putting God first) because looks fade . But with that said, we are free to be attracted to anyone of the opposite sex regardless of skin color.

Anonymous said...

Light skin blacks don't have it easier.I'm a light (yellow)skin black and don't have any light skin privilege.There's a lot discrimination of light (yellow)skin blacks in Philadelphia.I had lived in Philly for many years.In Philly many brown skin and dark skin black young adults don't date light (yellow) skin blacks.I lived in cities that weren't like this.My light (yellow)skin and my brown skin black cousins lived in some zip codes in Philly that have many sex offenders (are often lecherous) and none of the black men would date my light (yellow) skin cousin and many black men wanted to date my brown skin cousin.There are few light (yellow) skin black and brown skin or dark skin black young adult couples in Philly.Philadelphia is the ninth-poorest U.S. city and blacks are the majority.