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Friday, 22 January 2016


(Image source: fuckyeahdarkgirls.com)

The controversy surrounding skin colour did not originate today. It’s one of the offsprings of colonialism. When the Europeans left their lands in search of markets for their products, they came across dark skinned Indians and Arabs, but they were not really "scared" of their skin tone because they were mostly brown skinned. Further exploration led them to Africa and they discovered a sea of dark skinned people hence the term "negro".

Dark skin became something to be abhorred, something that brought bad luck. Little wonder the devil is always represented in black themes. Even before the advent of the Europeans, from books like "Sociology of the Ibibio" (E.E.Ekong, 1989), light skinned Africans were uses preferably as servants to deities especially water deities.

Skin colour became recognized as a form of physical endowment in the Colonial régime as well as the slave trade eras. The Britons preferred lighter skinned Africans to dark ones because their skin tone had semblance with theirs, hence more beautiful. Lighter skinned slaves were given slight preferential treatment to dark ones. What later elevated the issue was the exposure of African men to Caucasian women, the exact representation of the "mammy water"; blond hair, blue or green eyes and beautiful fair skin. All these brought about marked preferences of light skinned women to dark skinned women. Obviously, the standard of beauty is fair skin, they thought.
In beauty pageantry, sometimes an undeserving contestant might emerge winner due to skin colour. This has made things very difficult for women, especially growing girls. They become plagued by skin colour issues and sometimes develop low "skin" esteem.
One of the major reasons dark women bleach is to be accepted and also seen as pretty by men, they also want to be attractive as fair skin is “highly attractive”. What's worse is the role the media has played in all these. Very often, most front pages of popular magazines, billboards and other advertisement outlet are graced with light skinned ladies. Why do majority of Indian female actresses or artiste have light skin when we also have dark skinned and talented dark Indian women?

Men have varied tastes; some may like their women dark, some yellow, but from research, a huge population of men prefers fair skinned girls. To see that skin discrimination is real, why say things like "black is beautiful"? It’s like trying to convince people that although black is not that attractive, it is still beautiful in some way. Why make black skin so different from other shades?

Many women have even made extra effort to divide themselves into camps on social media; light skinned girls.com and dark skinned girls.com. Others do not want to be identified as being "dark". Sometimes if you describe a girl as being dark, she feels insulted and may try to explain her skin shade. What's funny is this new term, "chocolate ". People do not want to identify with dark skin. Why categorize it; chocolate, deep brown? And so on...

It gets worse in Western societies with much racism. I watched a program once on BET (Black Entertainment Television) and a dark skinned woman was crying. She had passed through hell, from snubs to rudeness at job interviews. I felt her pain but that's the world for you. Skin colour should not be used as a yardstick to measure talent or character.

Due to the attention given to fair skinned girls, dark women develop attitude towards them, evident on internet fights, where fair girls are described as "pale and sickly" and the dark ones as "crude oil or shit skin". It’s really a sad situation.
If you ask women, which skin is prettier? They ultimately defend their skin colour, the dark ones claim, their skin covers their ugliness (whatever that means), that it is original and can't be bought in the market hence the true representation of natural beauty. They’ll also add that it doesn't age as fast as fair skin. Fair women on the other hand, list numbers of celebrities who are fair and describe how beautiful they are. Only few women acknowledge the skin colour of others. Some women go as far as trying to bleach their babies to look light skinned.

A celebrity like Lupita Nyongo recalls her struggles with loving and accepting her skin colour while some like Jidenna the Classic man expresses the threats his light skinned nature poses to him anytime he visits Africa.
Well, it’s left for men to choose; Which girl is prettier? Okay, let me rephrase it; Chocolate or Ice cream, which do you prefer?
To the women, light or dark skinned, be proud of who you are. Let the inner beauty be your concern, let your dreams and goals for the future be your thoughts always and not something as shallow as skin colour. Show yourself some love; eat well, exercise, rest and nourish that beautiful skin you’ve got!

The society should present opportunities to people equally with no bias of skin colour, it will definitely take a while for this to be achieved but remember a journey of a thousand miles always begins with a step. 

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