My name is Carl. I am a brown skinned college educated black male who considers himself to be well-rounded and cultured. I’ve learned about a variety of cultures through conversations, study, and travel. My pro-black cousin who wished that he was born in the 1940s so that he could have been a Black Panther exposed me to black history. So I knew that we weren’t African booty scratchers with bones in our noses waiting for the Christopher Columbus to come save us.
During my childhood years, I grew up watching movies and TV shows like Krush Groove, Purple Rain, House Party, Do The Right Thing, Higher Learning, The Cosby Show, and A Different World. Shelia E (Krush Groove), Apollonia (Purple Rain), Deja (Higher Learning), Denise (The Cosby Show), and Whitley (A Different World) were the characters who were my imaginary girlfriends. During my teenage years, I searched for the high school version of Shelia E, Deja, and Denise.
When I was in high school and later, in college, dating outside of my race wasn’t really an option nor was it something that I desired. The only guy that I knew who got a white girl was Wesley Snipes in Jungle Fever and I knew that was just a movie. I found white women attractive but I always remembered my cousin telling me that black men were hung from trees for looking at white women. He asked me, “what do you think they will do to you for dating or sleeping with one?”
After having some serious relationship issues, I decided to go to counseling. My counselor encouraged me to dig deep into my past and to evaluate all of my relationships. I quickly learned that I idolized the black women from my favorite movies and TV shows. Then I looked back on all of my relationships and found one commonality, all of my girlfriends were light skinned. I slept with a few brown skin and dark skin women but those situations didn’t go past the bedroom. Then I had to ask myself the following questions: Why did I love light skinned women so much? Why didn’t I want to be in a relationship with dark skinned women?
During my quest for understanding and inner-standing, I began to read and research. I wanted to get to the bottom of my issues which were affecting my relationships. I read The Willie Lynch Letter, The Miseducation of The Negro by Carter G Woodson, The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, and Breaking the Chains of Psychological Slavery by Na’im Akbar. After reading these three books along and watching several lectures on YouTube, I came to the painful conclusion that I was a Light Skinned Supremacist. On a subconscious level, I disliked the racism within our social structure that prevented me from having the option of dating a white woman (without severe consequences). So, I dated light skinned sisters with a combination of what I perceived as the best European and African physical features.
After reflecting on my favorite TV shows and movies, I concluded that I was programmed by television and movie directors to worship light skinned women. During my teenage and young adult years, I can’t recall a dark skinned woman who Hollywood promoted as attractive or a sex symbol. I loved having light-skinned women on my arm or walking beside me because they were my status symbol. They showed the world that I was important. Even the white guys were checking out my light-skinned ex-girlfriends. On the other hand, I didn’t feel like I was the man when I was with the dark skinned women. I had more fun, better sex, and felt more compatible with two of the dark skinned woman that I dated but fear wouldn’t allow me to take our relationship further than casual sex.
I confess. I was a light-skinned supremacist. My environment encouraged and supported my light skinned-supremacist views. Being a light-skinned supremacist caused emotional injury to dark skinned women, reinforced the division between dark skinned and light skinned women, and continues the legacy of white supremacy which has its origins in African enslavement.
I wrote this piece as a form of self-therapy and to open the eyes of other black men who are light skinned supremacist. When we emulate our former slave masters, we continue the legacy of enslavement of black women without a slave master. When we allow the legacy of enslavement and Hollywood to define our standard of beauty, we remain slaves. Now is the time for black people to create our own beauty standards that include light skinned, brown skinned, and dark skinned women. Why should we be confined to one European standard of beauty when we have a variety of complexions and physical features that represent the beauty of our women?