When you see the title “Light Skin vs. Dark Skin”, you may have assumed that this was about White people vs. Black people. Well it’s not. What if I told you it was about Black people vs. Black people? What if i told you it was about an online war between Black people?
When the issue of online racism was introduced in class, I was very quick to argue that it did not exist. Racism, however, takes a number of different forms that I failed to acknowledge. One of these forms is called “colorism”. Colorism is the idea that people are not only racist against other races, but against different pigmentations within their own race as well. For example, in 2011, a Twitter war sparked between “light-skin” and “dark-skin” Black people. Roots trace this disagreement back to the days of slavery when the dark skin slaves were supposedly given harder labor; but this disagreement has recently gone viral as a result of the rapid changes in web technology.
Twitter hashtags, such as #TeamDarkSkin and #TeamLightSkin, have provided online spaces for these “teams” to congregate and bash each other. Their arguments tend to focus on the stereotypes that surround the two different pigmentations. While dark-skin supposedly suggests ugly girls, unfaithful men, and “ghetto”; light skin supposedly suggests better hair, better looking, and overall more appealing.
Here are some examples of tweets found from the dark-skin vs. light-skin “war”:
1.) The lightskin vs. darkskin hate goes way back to slavery times when the lightskins was in the house and darkskins was outside in the field.
2.) Light skin girls >>>>>
3.)dark skin girls are the prettiest to me. their skin is always poppin & they have this glow about them.
4.) dark skin boys >>>> Light skin boys *shrugs*
5.) Dark Skin hoes only good for directions & lighting cigarettes
6.) “@steezyshatto: Dark skin girls shoplift hair at least 5 times a weak. Broke bald headed bitches ” lol
7.) Honestly To Me Dark Skin Girls Are More Beautiful Than Light Skin Girls. ♥
8.) IF YOU LIGHT SKIN YOU A HOMEWRECKER ITS PROVEN . RIHANNA , ALICA KEYS
Celebrities, such as Beyonce, have even played into this #TeamDarkSkin vs. #TeamLightSkin in a more indirect way. The stereotype is that light-skinned black girls are more beautiful because they more closely resemble the European standard of beauty. In fact, studies have shown that people with light skin are placed on a social scale just below white people and significantly ahead of people with dark skin. So why wouldn’t all girls want to represent the more socially acceptable idea of beauty? That’s just what Beyonce did. In 2008, Beyonce was in a L’Oreal ad that depicted her with much lighter skin and lighter hair than normal. The photo seems to be digitally edited, but Beyonce denies it. Here is the evidence:
What do you think? Should technology be used to digitally enhance women? Should black women feel the need to lighten their skin to be more beautiful? Has this light-skin vs. dark-skin war gotten out of control? Should Twitter have some sort of control over this war?