Tuesday, October 19, 2010
He gazes tauntingly into my eyes, as if daring me to say something. Finally he says, "so..tell me about yourself"
"There's not much to tell I'm a pretty shy girl"
"Come on, at least tell me what kind of guys you like...tall, dark, light..?"
"I don't really have any preferences"
"Well, I can be honest and tell you that I don't really like dark skinned girls."
WAIT!!! did he just say that???
The topic of complexion in the black community has been debated more times than T.I. has been in prison. It is such a heated --and at times exhausting-- debate, that I told myself not to even bother posting on it. Little did I know this topic would actually have some kind of relevance in my personal life. As a female who falls on the lighter side of the complexion spectrum, I've never had the direct experience of being rejected because I was a darker shade than was desired, nor have I ever knowingly dated someone who felt that way. However, it always bothered me to hear many of my black male friends express this same exact sentiment, over and over.
I'll never forget one time in college, I was watching a music video with two of my boys and somehow we got to talking about how there are rarely any dark skinned girls in hip hop videos. One of my boys said "well, there aren't that many pretty dark skinned girls", in a matter-of-fact tone of voice. Of course, I lambasted my friend for being ignorant and went on a long spiel about why he was wrong for thinking that. In the middle of my rant two dark skinned girls walked in, listened for a minute, and with a look of disgust on their faces said "you're not even dark skinned so why does it even matter?"
Fast foward to the present...
This phrase was brought up again when I told my friend about the guy I dated who told me he doesn't like dark skinned girls. My friend said "why be offended, you're not dark skinned, so obviously you're his type...it shouldn't matter. Besides, its just a preference."
There are many reasons why this bothered me (I'll explain in a new post).. but one of the most obvious was that this "preference" spoke to a mentality that dominates the black community. Why is it that this particular preference has a high frequency amongst black males? It is also represented in our videos, song lyrics, and movies. Is this merely just a preference or is it guided by a more sinister theme of self-hate?
Now, I am of the school of thought that preferences do not simply exist of their own accord, but are guided by things that we may be unaware of. I also do not just view myself as a black individual, but many times as part of a whole entire group of black females. Therefore, is a person wrong for weighing in on a topic, if they don't really represent what they are defending? Do you believe preferences merely exist, or are guided by something else?