What is colorism? Colorism is when people of the same ethnic group (typically the African-American community) discriminate against others with a dark-skin tone.
Colorism has existed for centuries, even as far back as the time of slavery. Ever noticed in movies and TV shows that only light-skinned black women were the ones to work inside the house while the dark-skinned women worked in the fields along with the men?
Now let’s fast forward to the early 1990s and early 2000s, colorism faded a bit in popular culture.
Men seemed to move their focus from a woman’s skin tone to body type. For example, Sir Mix-A-Lot dropped the song “Baby Got Back” in 1992 talking about a woman’s backside. Songs during this time talked about how women are in relationships; however, terms like "brown skin", "red bone", and "dark skin," were rare to find in popular culture.
Now, the controversial issue has re-appeared on social media, especially Twitter and Instagram. Only now, some men love dark-skinned women when their body shape is up to their liking and they are covered in baby oil.
To be fair, my classmate Tekima Johnson and I did a poll on Twitter asking men about their preference, "Light-skinned or dark-skinned women?" We also discussed the topic with a group of men in person.
The Twitter poll results showed 25% of the men preferred light-skinned women, and 75% preferred dark-skinned, with a total of 36 votes. So the classic version of colorism doesn’t seem to exist with the men who voted.
The group of men we talked to in person around a table at the Student Union seemed to prefer light-skinned women with no clear reason why. One man said he preferred dark-skinned women because, as he put it, "light-skinned girls are stuck up." Some of the men said they had no preference.
Recently, rapper Kodak Black got some backlash when dropped a clip with lyrics saying, “Where them yellow bones, I don’t want no black b****, I’m already black, don’t need no black b****."
Lyrics like this are very offensive and some of his fans sing his lyrics not realizing they are pushing a message of colorism.
Colorism should not be a “thing” still, although some guys say they have no preference, just listen to guys talk about the different African-American actresses and singers and think about their skin tone, most likely that is their preference.
“People need to come away from being so particular because it really shouldn’t matter…it just depends on the individual…I personally don’t have a preference," Alexis Richards, sophomore biology major, said.
Most women do not have a preference on skin tone, they just want someone to treat them like they would like to be treated.
UPDATED: Updated to reflect Associated Press style