Racialicious pt. II “I like a long haired Thick Redbone”

Posted: September 21, 2009 in Uncategorized
Then Dehaven introduced me to the game
Spanish Jose introduced me to 'caine; I'm a hustler now
My gear is in, and I'm in the in-crowd
And all the wavy light-skinned girls is lovin me now

Now Suitable For Work. Yall happy?

Now Suitable For Work. Y'all happy?

So I admit, I just posted the picture up there because I kinda like it. But think about it. If Amber Rose looked like this, would anyone be talking about her?

I was having an interesting convo with the homey on twitter the other day about relationship issues, and it somehow veered into the fact that her brother has a history of dealing with lighter-skinned women, such that it might be regarded by an outsider as a preference. I called it colorist.

@elb3 a demonstrated preference for ltsknd women makes one effectively colorist. dont hav 2 go around punching dark skinned wmn to be that

I was rebutted

RT @elb3: @FarajiFTW lol…not sure if he suffers from colorism as much as he still exoticizes color

Which to me, sounds like colorism. I figured everyone else would fall on my side of the argument, but apparently not.

RT @NikiD14: @FarajiFTW I have a preference for black men. Does that make me a racist?

Well, no, but I think color and race are two entirely different issues. The way, I see it, race often has a significant cultural, historical, and social construct which to some degree makes it understandable for people to want to mate up within their own if they choose. If a Jewish person wants to date only other Jews, people don’t really get offended. There’s a cultural and religious similarity two Jewish people will likely have that they might not find outside of that community. Similarly, as black people, we may have similar experiences, upbringings, cultural values, etc, that are shared that may justify a preference for dating within the race. And I don’t begrudge whites, Latinos, Asians, Eskimos, etc the same preference.

racism & colorism r 2 entirely different -isms RT @NikiD14: @FarajiFTW I have a preference for black men. Does that make me a racist?

@FarajiFTW I’m aware that they are different. The truth is you have to know the reason behind the preference to answer that question.

Color, however, has very little determinant power on anything besides one’s physical appearance. Further, I don’t begrudge people being attracted to what they’re attracted to. I have my preferences physically, certainly, and many of them are non-negotiable. But shade isn’t one of them. And I can’t really help but consider the historical implications of selecting or excluding by color when I consider the topic. But there might be some good reasons, I guess.

I got DM’d the question: “what if your family is light skinned?” That’s not a bad question, I guess. I mean, if you grew up with people that look a certain way, you’ll naturally gravitate towards people that look similar right?

Not necessarily. I can’t tell you how many Asian people I know that don’t date other Asian people, often on the justification that dating another Asian “feels like dating my cousin.” Which I’ve discovered is just an excuse not to have to explain why you’re not attracted to Asian people.

I remember when I was in college, this dude I know who’s the shade of black that makes you think he was raised by a lump of coal and a cup of coffee in a tar pit remarked to me that “all light skinned bitches look good.” To me, the rational converse to that statement would then be that “all dark-skinned women, not so much.”

But if we’re attracted to what we’re attracted to, then isn’t his preference perfectly OK. I mean, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? And if he thinks light skinned women are more beautiful, well, what can you really say? (I’m playing devil’s advocate here)

And it’s not like he’s on an island by himself. Look at the black woman who are considered desirable by BLACK society:

Halle Berry: Mixed

Halle Berry: Mixed

Beyonce: Light skinned, long hair

Beyonce: Light skinned, long hair

Kim K: She aint got a drop of slave in her!

Kim K: She ain't got a drop of slave in her!

So if our media sources are telling us that light skinned women > dark skinned women, Kanye is off talking about how he likes Mutts, and Lamar Odom is off marrying man-looking Khole Kardashian, can you really hold it against someone because he’s fallen in line with what appears to be the prevailing attitude? What say you, world?

If I was a white guy, Id so go interracial with J. White

If I was a white guy, I'd so go interracial with J. White

  1. true2me says:

    Good post…all I can say is that we are not that far removed from hundreds of years of “racism” and light over dark discrimination. We still have a long LONG way to go. these issues include hair texture, length, type and what not, and other physical characteristics..shoot, Ice T got the “best of both worlds”. For instance, rocking a short fro isn’t as attractive as beyonce’s waist length weave. Hell some people were making remarks that Michelle Obama wasn’t “pretty” enough to be Obama’s wife..WTF…

    Whether people want to admit it or not..someone (black) who prefers ONLY light skin men/women (especially when they are dark themselves) probably have some sort of insecurity issue or still buy into the stereotype. My coworker even said she has a male friend who literally said “dark skinned black women are NOT PRETTY..not a single ONE”

    I’ll close my post w a quote from my lil sis (who is a fione darkskinned sister). In high school this boy said “damn beyonce fine..and she light skinned too” to which my sister replied “why is that a PLUS..so you can see her better in the dark”


  2. once upon a time, Castro was defending his stance on being colorstruck by saying he’d read that genetically, we were predisposed to being attracted to that which is opposite of us to prevent inbreeding. that is to say, browns don’t like other browns for the same reason your Asian friend mentioned.

    that idea didn’t seem to work for me considering the generations upon generations of artistocratic lights who were only permitted to court & marry other lights in attempts to “preserve the white bloodlines.”

    personally, my taste has fluctuated with age and neccessity. growing up, I couldn’t get enough of what my mother calls “creole macs.” by definition, creole macs are light to olive complexioned black boys with wavy hair and/or spanish or white features.

    they ruled DC.

    light skinned curly headed boys used to be all the rage for me. hell they were all the rage for all the little black girls in my private school social circle, why? ’cause that was who was in our j&j group and therefore who was acceptable for me to socialize with. my parents knew their parents and moved in the same social circles.

    because both of my parents are light, everyone always assumed I was mixed. add to that the fact that i’ve been bilingual since i was in preschool and no ONE ever accepted that i was what i said i was. the conversation has always been exceptionally tedious to me.

    as i got older, and grew more and more fatigued of the incessant questions about my ethnicity i found i asked myself the question “what can brown do for you?” more and more. perhaps it was one too many bad stints with boys who grew up hearing “you’re sooo pretty” from every woman they encountered that turned me off the creole macs.

    no, i retract that. i’d probably still marry and breed with a creole mac if the opportunity presented itself with the RIGHT creole mac. in my old age, i’m not as particular about complexion as i am about elements like creativity, imagination, passion.

    PS I had a post in the works about this too. don’t be surprised if i jack my comment and add it to mine. xoxox

  3. Tunde says:

    i guess i can agree that the examples you gave could be classified as colorism. is that really wrong though? i wouldn’t look at someone in a negative light because they had a preference of one shade over another. then again i wouldn’t look at someone negatively if they decided to date outside their race.

    people are attracted to who they are attracted to. personally i prefer brown to dark skinned women but i wouldn’t date a woman because she is light skinned. beauty transcends skin tone. i think it becomes an issue when a person is so blinded by skin tone that they fail to recognize beauty or they discriminate based on it.

  4. i'm brown... so can i stick around? says:

    it’s funny how brown-to-dark-skinned people’s feelings are hurt all the time subtly, but no one ever wants to hurt light-skinned people’s feelings.

    they say it’s rough being light-skinned…but i still don’t fully buy that most light-skinned people acknowledge their privileges in life.

    it’s like being in denial that having a slim or hourglass figure as a woman doesn’t conform to the ideal. yes, you can be slim and be completely single and not have any dudes chasing after you just like you can be light-skinned and experience the same. your own lack of a love life is probably due to personal choices though… it doesn’t absolve you of the social privilege you definitely still have but don’t appreciate or see.

    being a dark-skinned girl and having a light-skinned boyfriend can really be emotionally taxing. the little comments people make. the overall shocked expressions that light-skinned girls toss you. the scheming and plotting to find him a light-skinned girl instead of you. sometimes it can be drama-free, you know… but sometimes it can be a serious mess. a mess no one wants to acknowledge…

    …because we don’t want to hurt “anyone” (read: light skinned people)’s feelings. because you didn’t ask to be born light just like skinny people didn’t ask to be born with high metabolisms… but i don’t care because it still doesn’t absolve you of acknowledging your social privilege.

  5. i'm brown... so can i stick around? says:

    ps… lil wayne is a talentless asshole and i hate that damn song!!!

  6. true2me says:

    lol I say all the time that alot of lightskinned people have a superiority complex…

  7. Reina says:

    I could/would/do hold it against someone if he/she dates based on what society deems beautiful/acceptable. People really should practice individualism more. Eliminating someone from your dating pool based on skin tone is some elementary school lunchroom type ish. Skin color determines nada really. I feel the same way about refusing to date outside your race, but I grant clemency for loyalty…sometimes.

    As a member of the Light-Skinned Coalition, I will admit to there being perceived advantages to being a nice bronze color. I’m not sure how getting hit on more is an advantage but hey. I don’t remember any scholarships for light-skinned people when applying to college. When someone offers to pay off my mortgage or let me get to the front of the line at the DMV and says it’s because they like my “skin the color of honey wheat”, then I’ll be impressed. Until then, blah. Attention from men is not an advantage.

    Skin color has received entirely too much importance in today’s society.

    • LadyA says:

      Advantages go beyond being hit on- particularly for women. If the ultimate goal in romantic male-female interactions is to form relationships that lead to families- the ‘dis’-advantage is not just perceived. It is real. And it doesn’t have to explicitly translate into direct financial benefits for it to be an advantage. There really aren’t many white only loans or college scholarships either – that doesn’t negate the presence of white privilege.

      Furthermore- I think we can all appreciate that beauty is in and of itself an advantage in our culture (one that actually does translate into money). People who are considered more attractive get hired more, make bigger salaries etc. (The same is true for men who are tall). If complexion is a one measure of beauty, it will naturally contribute to one’s perceived level attractiveness- and all the benefits that come w/ said advantages.

      I totally agree that complexion holds too much weight in our society, but acknowledging that doesn’t change the reality of it.

  8. Reecie says:

    I think it is colorist, and its not necessarily a problem but I do mildly side eye to folks that are dark yet adamantly only date light skinned blacks. makes me think there are some underlying self-hate issues. I had a friend that only dated dark men and her mom said it was probably because her father was very dark. I think that makes sense to be attracted to what you see at home–however she and her brothers were all fair to medium/caramel complexion (a good mix between their dark father and light mother).

  9. Anna says:

    A few random thoughts on the subject:

    I’m a chocolate sista, and guess what? Being brown ain’t bad at all. In my 30 years of living the only advantages I’ve seen light skinned women enjoy are the possibility for marriage to a professional athlete or rapper, the potential to star in a music video and a little extra play at the club, lol. Sometimes people (on both ends of the spectrum) try to make a dark complexion out to be this sad, disadvantaged state of being. Chocolate women still get plenty hit on, and when I look at the women in my life who are married there is a pretty even mix of skin tones. The “winner” in the dating “game” is not the girl with the most boyfriends, it’s the woman with the ring. From that standpoint, the “winners” and “losers” can be seperated by generation rather than skin color.

    Like Reina said, when tangibles like money or professional advancement come with being lightskinned I’ll start decorating for the Chocolate Girls Pity Party. Until then I’ll continue to bask in the milk chocolate glow of my ego.

  10. Fanta says:

    “who’s the shade of black that makes you think he was raised by a lump of coal and a cup of coffee in a tar pit”

    i don’t like this line, raji. sounds disparaging.

    • Boo! Not disparaging. Just illustrated a point. Like how you’re so skinny, you can wear cheerios as bangles while diving through the holes in a chain link fence.

      • Fanta says:

        i’m sure my good guy friend who is super dark would love your analogy. compare his parents to coal and tar, why don’t you? hidden colorism yourself much?

        and you know i love you, but yeah, do better.

  11. LadyA says:

    This is a *very* interesting article on how complexion actually correlates w/ marriage prospects. Worth reading- particularly for those who don’t feel this translates to real life.


  12. Anon says:

    Required reading:

    -Evelyn Glenn (Ed.), Shades of Difference: Why Skin Color Matters (2009)
    -Audrey Elisa Kerr, The Paper Bag Principle: Class, Complexion, and Community in Black Washington, D.C. (2006)
    -Jacqueline Moore, Leading the Race: The Transformation of the Black Elite in the Nation’s Capital, 1880-1920 (1999)
    -Willard Gatewood, Aristocrats of Color: The Black Elite, 1880-1920 (2000)
    -Bibliography on Colorism/Colorism Project: http://sites.google.com/site/colorismproject/bibliography

    It’d be nice to contextualize some of this discussion. Field slave vs. House slave is too simple to explain “colorism,” especially in communities of color (generally speaking). Also, colorism (seems) to have a strong gendered component (i.e. the discussion tends to center on women & standards of beauty – with pictures of Beyonce, Halle, Kim K., and Jessica White. How would the discussion change if we looked at standards of beauty & black men? Would the pictures then be Morris Chesnutt, Denzel Washington, Idris Elba, and… Shamar Moore? I dunno).

    I’d be interested in seeing some kind of an argument, based on factual evidence… part of what prevents black folks from really “discussing” or acknowledging/debating colorism is the lack of data in general discussions. Anecdotal evidence and oral recollections are very important (and not to be discounted)… but so too are sociological & historical studies and actual measures of colorism among black communities (and they have been done). So many questions arise – are there any tangible economic impacts of colorism? Psychological impact? How does colorism affect women (and men) who lay firmly within the central area of the color spectrum (especially since black folks run a range of colors)?

    By the way, the Glenn book (chapter 3) argues that there are educational and occupational benefits to being lightskinned, but that these advantages do not translate into benefits in overall personal income. Within the chapter, the author also suggests (based on a few studies) that dark-skinned teens born after the 1960s and 1970s have higher self-esteem than their light-skinned peers, especially in predominately black settings.

  13. Fanta says:

    thanks for the reading list, anon! good stuff.

  14. The Sphinx says:

    Thanks so much B for this! I’ve been saying for the longest that the only reason there’s hype about Tramper Rose is because she’s “exotic”. If she looked like that second woman, people would be clowning Kenya for that.
    It’s so sad, but looks like white folks got everybody brainwashed. And don’t give a damn about any of ya’ll.

  15. Great post! I wrote my first article about this very topic while in college. It always amazed me growing up the dumb comments people would make. I’ve heard all types of foolishness the most memorable would have to be “you have very small features for a dark-skinned person.” WTH? Who say that, better yet, who thinks that? Another dark-skinned female friend of mine in college said, “He’s cute for a dark-skinned guy.” I had no words, which is probably why we weren’t friends after that semester.

    Needless to say, I’ve realized that people are taught different things from their upbringing. So although, I used to be irritated by illogical comments people would make regarding complexions, I just blame it on ignorance and brush it off.

    Truthfully, I’m glad the color issue doesn’t just affect African-Americans, we have enough issues already. I’ve noticed it in other countries and throughout various cultures. Color has always been prevalent. I’m research Egypt right now for an upcoming trip and in many of their paintings, you’ll see a darker complected man with a lighter complected woman. Being colorist is nothing new. Unfortunately, until the races are so mixed up you can’t tell White from Black, I believe it’s here to stay.

  16. javonne says:

    imma a long haired thick red bone…

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