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Bill Duke and the OWN network recently premiered Light Girls, a documentary about the disadvantages of light skin girls and colorism in the African American community (as well as other communities). Diahann Carroll, Raven Symone, Tatiyana Ali, Kym Whitley, and Iyanla Vanzant are just a few women who shared their experiences and opinions as to why light skin girls feel mistreated and why colorism still has a strong effect on the black community.
I was excited to watch the documentary since the same people that produced Light Girls, also produced it’s predecessor, Dark Girls, and because I believe we can’t have an open conversation about colorism and the division within minority communities if we only talk about one side. All of my excitement went out the door when I joined in on social media discussion and saw the discouraging and unsupportive comments.
“This is a joke right?”
“Light skin girls always thinkin’ about themselves.”
“What struggles do they have? Girl Bye!”
“Are they gonna acknowledge their privilege?”
“This should have just been an documentary about colorism.”
“Y’all just trying to pin this against the dark girls huh?”
These are just some of the comments I saw on social media during the premiere of Light Girls. Some were from people I knew personally, others were comments I happen to see on blogs or retweeted on my Twitter timeline.
It baffles me that people took Dark Girls with so much love and open arms, yet ignore and brush off the struggles discussed in the Light Girls.
Colorism is a very real issue and the experiences in the documentary were anything but a joke.
Yes, darker skin women do have a struggle, that’s not something we can deny, but light skin women, and men for that matter, have it just as hard. To think that lighter skin women and men have it easier in a society that sees us all as black is delusional and quite simply, denial.
Despite what you may think, light skin women still get called the n-word, monkey, and ugly by a society that idolizes white beauty, just like everyone else in the black community.
I’m certain that the people who made these ignorant comments weren’t exactly paying attention to the documentary. This wasn’t made to put all the blame on dark skin women, just as Dark Girls wasn’t meant as a lamentation of light skin women (yeah, the women in Dark Girls talked about their negative experiences with light skin girls, but I don’t remember anyone accusing dark skin women for blaming lighter skin women). Also, you can’t say that Light Girls should have just been a documentary about colorism, when both documentaries talked about colorism.
By the way, there are plenty of documentaries about colorism, so if you’re interested then please do some research.
And since we’re on the subject of “acknowledging privilege,” is anyone going to take ownership of making a light skin joke? Or making (or posting) a “light skin girls/light skin n*ggas be like” picture? Don’t worry I’ll wait.
I say all this because I’m disappointed in the reactions and the behavior during the premiere of Light Girls and the comments made after it. I am not a woman, but I am of lighter skin. I can recall numerous times being questioned about my blackness, being told I wasn’t “really black,” being questioned about my strength and my ability to stand up for myself all because I was light skin. I’ve been physically, mentally and emotionally bullied for simply having lighter skin. With that in mind, I believe if we are truly going to solve the issue of colorism, we must open our minds to both sides of the story. Light Girls hasn’t caused any problems or divided the black community more. Downplaying the struggles of light or dark skin women and men does.
Don’t blame the documentary, blame others for showing their true colors through their postings on social media (no pun intended).