College Girls Aren’t Endorsing the #Teamlightskin, #Teamdarkskin Debate

We’ve all heard it. “She’s pretty for a dark skinned girl.”  “She’s light skinned so she must be bougie.”  These are just a few of the absurd, yet frequently dished out comments about color, race and ethnicity perpetuated on a daily basis—on college campuses and beyond.  Sadly, it’s an age-old issue.

It became the topic of conversation on the college circuit earlier this year when news of a party hosted by club promoters in Columbus, Ohio surfaced. The party theme was designed around a feud on the social networking website, Twitter, which uses the hashtags #teamlightskin and #teamdarkskin as subject matter for status updates.  How was it that a local party could rekindle intense racial conversation, and essentially garner national media coverage?

This seemingly harmless party theme stems from deep-seeded discrimination which has caused numerous destructive consequences.  The color bias has brought about phenomena such as the “flashlight test,” the epithet “yellow wasted,” and the infamous “brown paper bag test.”  This struggle has resulted in a great deal of pain and continues to be a huge source of embarrassment for the African-American community. However, these feelings tied to skin color, body structure, and hair type go beyond our own community.  The issue goes much deeper.

The source of this discrimination is manifold and complex.  Much of the emotion surrounding this concept starts from the divisive tactics employed during slavery, effects of blatant discrimination—particularly in the Jim Crow South—and present-day racism.  The situation has improved greatly, with the Black Power Movement acting as a major catalyst.  Most within the community are well aware of how we’ve reached this point; thus, we have come to a position where we must eradicate the issue. There is absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating your skin complexion—we come in an array of beautiful shades, from fair and caramel tints to chestnut brown and deep midnight.  We can celebrate our appreciation, but should not be endorsing the type of behavior that pits people against one another for the sake of a party (or Twitter feud).

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