Melanin: A dark brown pigment in the hair, skin, and iris of the eye.
For many years up to now, females and males of darker complexion have been teased, judged, and told that light skinned people are better looking.
This research was confirmed by Jill Viglione of Villanova University later posted on Newsone.com and thegrio.com by Jay Scott Smith.
The study shows over 12,000 black women imprisoned in North Carolina between 1995 and 2009. “Light- skinned women were sentenced to 12 percent less time behind bars than their dark skinned counterparts.” The results showing having light skin reduces the actual time served by 11 percent.
A 2006 University of Georgia study showed that employers prefer light - skinned black men to dark- skinned black men, regardless of their qualifications.
Iman LaBorde (17’), a student that is socially aware of this issue, believes that even compliments like, “You’re pretty for a black girl,” can be subtle insults aimed to degrade darker skinned individuals.
“ I feel as if that phrase isn’t really a compliment. I more so feel like it’s a insult and very degrading, to me it’s basically saying, ‘oh you’re pretty because most most black girls aren’t’.
LaBorde believes that if she were white or spanish, the compliments that she gets wouldn’t revolve around her complexion but rather her appearance.
A study taken by Matthew S. Harrison, “This finding is possibly due to the common belief that fair- skinned blacks probably have more similarities with whites than do dark skinned blacks, which in turn makes whites feel more comfortable around them.”
These actions are called colourism which is prejudice or discrimination based on the relative lightness or darkness of the skin. Generally a phenomenon occurring within one’s own ethnic group. This type of behavior is shown through social media memes, television and music.
Shows like Martin, Proud Family, and rap songs that praise light skins using quotes like “light skin is the right skin” might be helping to instill the harmful prejudices we see today.
To Iman, the harmful statements go further than just the conversation they were made in.
“We brown skin and dark skin females and males go through a lot more internal pain because we aren’t considered “good enough.” It is by far one of the worst feelings. Knowing that if I was light skin I could pass for white and have amazing opportunities handed to me as opposed to because i’m black I have to work 10x harder to even be heard and considered.” LaBorde said.
It’s ironic that as a colored group, we fight together for equality and acceptance, but within our own group we fight against each other over things we can’t control. The explicit bias of the darker complexion of others within the African American race is, if you are darker there are no protections or awareness of the problems on a daily base. We as a nation should all stand together to stop the silly tendencies. It would be ignorant to expect others to protect us if we are not protecting ourselves. Let’s work together to be a society that moves to be beyond the superficial, so that we are empathetic of all colors and races. Dr. King's’ dream goes beyond just color but also complexion. We must recognize that complexion is complicated.