Why Can’t People Just Compliment Dark Skinned Women?

I know we’ve all heard people say a dark skinned woman is “pretty to be dark”. I remember the episode a few years ago on Oprah’s Lifeclass show about colorism and a young woman was sharing her story about how people treated her for being dark skinned. One of the things she mentioned that hurt her was this “pretty to be dark” saying. And she said, “Why does it have to be all that? Why can’t I just be pretty?” Still to this day, her saying that really makes me feel for her and other dark skinned women who are going through the same thing.

For years, we’ve all heard the debates about who looked better on the show, Martin, between Gina (Tisha Campbell) and Pam (Tichina Arnold). Lots of people say Tichina Arnold looked better than Tisha Campbell and Tisha was “just light skinned”. I never realized how messed up this argument was until I started really thinking about it recently.

(Photo: Flickr)

(Photo: Flickr)

Why couldn’t people JUST call Tichina Arnold beautiful? People acted like Tisha Campbell was ugly or “average” just to say Tichina looked good, when Tisha wasn’t ugly or average at all. Tisha Campbell is very beautiful. Why couldn’t they both be beautiful?

People compare beautiful dark skinned women to light skinned women all the time before just calling them beautiful, like a dark skinned woman looking better than a light skinned woman is some kind of prize or shock.

People have to pretend a beautiful light skinned woman is ugly or average just to call a dark skinned woman beautiful and yet these same people will try to tell you that colorism doesn’t exist and we don’t have a problem with skin tones.

Why do people feel the need to do this if they didn’t think somewhere in their minds that light skin gets put on a pedestal and that there is some problem between light skin and dark skin?

On the flip side, no one really compares beautiful light skinned women to other people just to call them beautiful. They just call them beautiful and leave it at that. Does anyone compare BeyoncĂ©’s looks to anyone before they call her beautiful or do they JUST call her beautiful? Does anyone compare Rihanna’s looks to anyone before calling her beautiful or do they JUST call her beautiful? What about Megan Good? Nicki Minaj? I could go on and on.

So after what I’ve said, why can’t people JUST compliment a dark skinned woman and leave it at that? Why does extra stuff have to be added to the compliment? Are people afraid to or feel some type of way about complimenting dark skinned women? Is comparing beautiful dark skinned women to light skinned women and acting like the light skinned woman isn’t that pretty the new “pretty to be dark”?

It’s Not Because You’re Dark Skinned. It’s Your Attitude

When the topic of colorism is brought up, many people have knee jerk reactions to deny that discrimination and disrespect due to being dark skinned is the case. This statement, “It’s not because you’re dark skinned; it’s your attitude”, is one of them. I usually hear people saying it to dark skinned women when they talk about colorism.

I see this, as well as many other knee jerk reactions against colorism accusations, as nothing more than excuses. People don’t want to admit to hating dark skin, so they have all kinds of excuses to cover it up. I’ve seen dark skinned people do nothing, but mind their own business and people still treat them rudely. People still call them names that insult their dark skin. So, it’s not just about attitude.

And if dark skin wasn’t an issue and it was just about attitude, why are there people who tell dark skinned women they’re pretty “to be dark”. Why can’t they just be pretty? To tell someone they’re attractive “to be dark” means you think dark skin usually isn’t attractive to you and now you’re shocked because you see an attractive person that’s dark skinned. And let’s not say people say that because of “preference” because no one has ever told a light skinned or mixed woman that they were pretty “to be light”. I’ve heard people say it the other way around, though: “If you’re ugly and you’re light skinned, I feel sorry for you”, “Being light skinned doesn’t automatically make you pretty”, etc. So, with these statements alone, obviously people feel some kind of way about dark skin. And these statements say a lot about how people view dark skin and light skin. What is it saying if people feel like they have to constantly remind everyone that light skin doesn’t automatically make someone pretty or dark skin doesn’t automatically make someone ugly?

Another thing that makes me believe this statement is a load of crap is a lot of times black men say this to dark skinned women, but not much later, you will hear black men talking about how sexy a Latina or other nonblack woman is when they have attitudes. If attitudes are unattractive, why are they only unattractive on dark skinned black women? Why is it attractive on nonblack women?

There is this one video I remember Tommy Sotomayor doing on dark skinned women and their attitudes. I don’t remember the name of it, but I do remember him saying something like overweight dark skinned women who have horrible attitudes should say to themselves, “I already have two strikes against me.” And I’m guessing he meant they should be nicer, but instead, their attitudes are even worst. First of all, what did he mean by this woman already having “two strikes” against her? While he was trying to make it seem like it was just her attitude in this video, he didn’t realize that he just exposed how people will automatically treat her differently, or I should say NEGATIVELY, because of these “two strikes”, which is her being overweight and her being dark skinned. And because she’s overweight and dark skinned, she has to be “nicer” to get people to like her and treat her right.

There was another video I saw from another YouTuber who said that it’s the attitudes of dark skinned women that make men want to get with light skinned women over them. He said that dark skinned women always complaining about how they are over looked for light skinned women is what makes them unattractive and that light skinned women are more attractive because they’re usually “more confident” than dark skinned women.

I feel like what they gloss over is how society usually treats light skinned women a lot better than they treat dark skinned women. Of course they will have more confidence! If society treated light skinned women like they treat dark skinned women, they would act the exact same way.

I don’t know why so many people in our society try to deny such obvious things when it comes to dark skin, but it really has to stop.

This is the thing people always love tiptoeing around when this topic is brought up. This society treats dark skinned people, especially women, like TRASH, especially if they’re overweight! Yet, people still want these people to just roll over and take it with a smile and say nothing about it.

STOP DENYING COLORISM! STOP IGNORING COLORISM! OPEN YOUR EYES AND START BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELVES!