Dark Girls — Exposing Skin-Color Bias
“Oh you are so pretty for a dark -skin girl.” These are the words I often heard growing up and when I heard them, I did not know whether to feel proud or ashamed of the dark color of my skin. Was it a compliment or an insult? I often wanted to ask the person, “What is that supposed to mean?” However, I never did, because my southern upbringing considered such a reaction to be impolite, but that is another story. [quote] I also remember being subjected to the “paper bag” test by the grandmother and aunts of a college sweetheart in my Freshmen year.[/quote] He was a very intelligent, well-dressed, articulate, Creole Gentlemen whose complexion was much lighter than my own. It was not his skin color I was interested in, but his mentality and his manners as a gentlemen. Now, for those of you who don’t know what the paper bag test is, or ever heard of it, it is when a piece of a brown paper bag is placed against your skin (usually the arms and hands) to find out if your skin color is darker than the paper bag. If your skin color is darker than the paper bag, then you are considered “too dark”. Obviously, I failed the test because in a week’s time my sweetheart dumped me for a more “acceptable” young woman who shared the same skin color as him. This was the point in my life when color bias really hit home.
The documentary Dark Girls exposes the deep-seated biases and attitudes about skin color that are experienced particularly by dark-skinned women, outside of and within African-American Culture. The following video preview are clips from the documentary. What are your feelings on the topic? Do you agree or disagree with statements made by the women featured in the documentary? Have you ever experienced this type of bias, if so how did it affect your attitude, or mental and emotional state? Share your thoughts, views, attitudes, and experiences on the topic, let’s talk about it. Black Doll Test