Brown and Dark Skinned Women Coping with Colorism

By Aubree Conner, 10th grade 

I don’t think many people understand the saying, “Race still matters but so does color.” Colorism can affect a woman’s and or a girl’s life by ruining their mental health and self-esteem. For example, lighter-skinned Black women are often perceived as more attractive and useful than darker-skinned women. Light skinned women are viewed that way because they look more white than dark skinned people. I feel like part of that is our own community’s fault because of some Black men’s prejudices against dark skinned women. Some Black men talk about brown skinned and dark skinned people like they aren’t human beings who have feelings. In my view, this is an example of internalized racism. I believe it is one of the main reasons why people outside of the Black community talk very badly about Black women. I’ve seen numerous examples of Black men on social media expressing misogynist attitudes that reflect how they don’t like Black women. 

A few years ago, I was at school and a dude looked me up and down and said, “You’re cute for a brown skinned (girl)”. This was an example of colorism because to me that comment means that you never found brown skin attractive. I’ve never heard any of my light skinned friends talk about problems like this. I don’t like how our society values people based on whether they have lighter or darker skin. Now, I’m not saying that light-skinned people don’t get treated badly; but it’s not as bad as how brown and dark-skinned people get treated due to racism. Light, brown, and dark-skinned people all have experienced racism. That said, I don’t really think light skinned people experience racism like dark skinned people do. It’s just not on the same scale because of both colorism and racism. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Among African Americans, skin tone is an important physical characteristic that creates divisions in the community and affects quality of life. Like gender, a person’s skin tone is a visible physical trait that others immediately notice during social interactions and use to form judgments.” People look at brown or dark skinned women like they’re monsters. I think light skinned people have it easy because of how close their skin is to white people’s.

Hi, my name is Aubree Conner. I’m a 15 year-old rising sophomore. I’d like to go to UC Berkeley when I graduate high school. I aspire to become a psychologist when I grow up.