blackhippychick

Race and Skin Tone Among Black Americans A Losing Game

In African American Bloggers, African American Blogs, Black Women Bloggers, celebrities on March 31, 2009 at 6:03 am

I have spoken briefly about race on the blog with the basic statement that as it relates to skin tone for blacks in the United States it’s a losing and a very conflicting game.  The issue of skin tone came hurling to the front of my thoughts this Sunday night while exploring Black Planet’s website.    They had done an article on P Diddy and his casting call request which read as follows:

The management company for Diddy’s Ciroc-Imperative Talent Management-sent out a casting call and they were very clear about their requirements:

Race: White, Hispanic or Light skinned African American

From: info@imperativemgt.com
Subject: Promo girls needed!!!
To:
Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2009, 9:49 PM

Ciroc Promotion

Ciroc promo is this Friday, March 27, 2009
Time: 3:00pm – 7:00pm and 12:00am – 3:00am

Requirements:

Race: White, hispanic or light skinned african american
Height: At least 5?6 or taller
Size 7 or smaller.

This is a cash @ wrap job and the booking will be thru our partner. Please submit asap. Talent will only be contacted if the client is interested in booking you!!!

Compensation: $35.00 per hour

Imperative Talent Management
3500 Lenox Road, Suite 1500
Atlanta, GA 30326
info@imperativemgt.com
http://www.imperativemgt.com
404-419-2565 Office
404-419-2564 Office

After seeing this ad two things occurred to me, Brown and Black girls are not allowed and after meeting all of these requests of height, skin tone and color, and size these girls would only get $35.00 and hour.  Looking at this I recalled my conversation with a retired black prostitute formerly married to a retired dead SF police officer.  Wow these girls will give sex away for anything she said, they’ll give out sex for a ten dollar crack rock.  I used to go to Vegas and make thousands in a weekend, she said, I don’t understand.   Diddy’s call and his pay was an insult to dark toned black women as well as an attempt to play all women short in terms of pay and what the going rate for a model is which I hope is more than $35 an hour. The cost of Ciroc Vodka is $30.oo a bottle.  8 bottles of ciroc is $240.00.  I would hope these women would regognize that they are worth a great deal more than 8 bottles of Vodka.

In any event this post is not about model pay.  It’s about race in the black community.

My first experience with race came at an Air Force Base Fair when my mischievous father challenged our next door neighbor to go to the kissing booth and kiss the “white” women at the kissing booth.  Our next door neighbor who was a quiet man who I had hardly ever heard talk was pretty doubtful of the idea but my father egged him and taunted him on so eventually he gave in.  They walked over and kissed the woman on the lips and that was it.

The Fallout

I don’t know how it got back to our neighbors wife but I still can remember her coming to our house discussing the issue with my mom.  I can hear her loud shrill voice saying the following: As light as I am, and she was very light she was about ten shades lighter than a paper bag and could go easily for Jewish,  anyway I remember her saying as light as I am he’s going to have the nerve to go and kiss a white woman.  I’m leaving him.  I then listened to her talk about his very dark family even his momma.  I’m getting a divorce she said and she left him after many years of marriage.

She immediately moved off base and filed for divorce, all because of an innocent kiss with a white woman. “this was an extreme racial reaction probably in response to their private conversations where this man blacker than the silkiest of black cats probably told her in Diddy fashion, baby I love your skin etc. etc. etc.  What probably went through her mind was he wants to go even lighter to whiter and she left.  Diddy’s casting call is essentially what went through this very light skin women’s mind am I black enough, if he wants me this light he may eventually go over to another race.  The very innocent kiss was like a bell in her head.  He wants something else.  Hypothetically but not realistically she could have been right as one commenter on Black Planet stated Diddy has gone from very dark skin women all the way up to white women and so has 50 cent.

The Reaction

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I suppose anyone reading this may wonder how could someone else’s divorce traumatize me.  I suppose being a witness to everything that occurred could have traumatized a little girl seeing the kiss, hearing the reaction, and watching the woman move out could have alerted me to the strange  nature of race.   However this was not all, this was not all.   The quiet man who hardly ever spoke was so upset about losing his wife and family that he went to his wifes job, the Pentagon, met her in the parking lot and stabbed her fourteen times with gigantic scissors one more stab and she would have been dead.  This was my first real experience with the peculiar nature of race in the United States and it’s consequences.

My first real insight into men like Diddy came with the reading of  ablack woman’s autobiography.  I thought it was Anne Moody but it’s been so long ago since I read the book I forgot the title of the book but I did not forget the contents.  The writer of the book went into detail about what it was like to be black but almost white in the United States.  She said she met a man married him and fell in love with him but there was a caveat he did not know she was black.  She said she discovered that he thought she was white after they were married when he and his friends started having white women black men parties only.  She said she was shocked at the things that she heard black men saying about black women and then when she went with the white women alone she said she was surprised with what they said about the black men.  She states they said terrible things.  The author of the book finally states that she got fed up with the dinner parties and started screaming my momma is black you better stop talking about black women.  I’m black.  The reaction was her husband beat her up and threw her down the stairs and kicked her out the house.

On the other hand as a brown woman I have been the victim of being not light enough and not black enough. Personally the men who love dark skin women are the creepiest.  They make their discrimination ceremonial.  If you are with a group they will have the darker women at the center of attention, and will drip on her every word.  A perfect example is in one of  John Legend’s live Videos he went out of his way to put a darker skin women on this video.  He grinded all over her publicly he treated her like he was really into her and this was the type of woman he liked.  Actually at the time his girlfriend was not even black.

While Diddy may be irritating he said what he wanted and we know where he’s coming from, the really irritating ones are the pretenders, pretend you like very dark skin women and then you’re caught in the corner with someone totally different.  This is so disappointing.

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  1. sad, sad, sad

  2. very powerful article. i’ve also written about this colorism on my blog. my stepfather, a dark-skinned man, harbored and still does harbor a serious resentment toward me (and my brother) because i am light-skinned (a light brown, with freckles). as a result, he treated my sister (who is a rather dark brown) with special treatment, his argument being that she would have a hard enough time in the world and i wouldn’t. so why treat me special when i’d already receive special treatment just by virtue of my color? it’s infuriating. i only found this out recently, at the age of 24 (had no idea that this was the reason for his hatred toward me, though i figured it was the reason for his hatred toward my brother). anyway, great post. i’ve added your blog to my blogroll.

  3. maybe I shouldn’t be but I am surprised that the ad only asked for light skinned Black woman.

    I don’t really know anything about this John Legend video thing, but it sounds like he was doing all of that to win women over or at least cut down on some of the negative reaction Black celebrities get when they date someone that’s not Black.

    But honestly most guys don’t really have that big of preference in skin tone, so it could just be that he does like dark skin woman doesn’t mean he only likes dark skin women

    also your description of guys who love dark skinned women doesn’t sound any creepier then a guy who loves light skinned women.

  4. Excellent observation Martin. I agree wholeheartedly. Why is the man “creepy” who gyrates up to a dark toned women when the guy who gyrates and hunches to light toned African heritage women is not? If anything, the “creepiness” seems more characteristic of the Black guy who unconsciously prefers white women but fears crossing the line (i.e. fear of going too far)to get as close as he can. Anthony Hamilton seems mentally stable (not creepy)and married a gorgeous petite dark toned African American woman.

    Yet, I believe that men (and women) of all races/ethnicities sometimes have a preference in skin color as white men do with hair color or African American men with buttocks size. In other words it could be more of a fetish than anything else. For instance, some white and black men are sexually aroused by the sight of dark skin against their own just as some are more highly aroused by tanned or beige skin against their own. Yet, sexual attraction may not lead to more meaningful relationships between two people if common values and other factors are not shared. Finally, the need to appeal to white mainstream audiences might very well underlie the desire to attract light complexion women to this man’s video. I think he is interested in the status and dollars that he can attract. So..if he believed that dark brown and medium brown women could make him central in the eye of those with power and money, then he would solicit their participation as well.

    In other words….it seems to be about the bling; although it is disheartening to see how the “Black overseer” perpetuates the same slavery that restricts his freedom.

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