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Empire’s Grace Gealey: I Didn’t Understand Light Skin vs Dark Skin Until I Moved to the U.S.

• Apr 2, 2015

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Empire star, Grace Gealey immigrated to the U.S. from the Cayman Islands at the age of 18. In her latest interview with Details magazine, she explains the culture shock she experienced as a woman of color:

For me personally, it’s the whole light-skinned/dark-skinned dynamic [for women of color]. I mean, there’s competition among women everywhere you go. But back home we understand that you can look like a variety of things and still be from the same culture. What I’m saying is that I’ve never felt like I was a light-skinned black woman. Never felt that way because we shared the same culture back home. But when I came to America, that’s when I started to feel that there was a lot of push-back from women. I was definitely made aware that I am light-skinned. I realized that was a thing here.

Gealey went on to state that her light complexion was something many would call out:

It was something that people felt the need to point out. I guess maybe it’s a form of intra racism: I was discriminated against for being light-skinned and there were a lot of labels. Some people assumed that guys might like me more because of my complexion or that I had it easier in general. Which is funny because I’ve been a victim of prejudice as well: There were times when I have walked into a Rite Aid at 12 o’clock at night and had the store manager stand in the corner and stare at me while I was looking at nail polishes.

 

What are your thoughts? Is the issue of light vs. dark skin non-existent where you live?

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shellz
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shellz

Most people who immigrated from the Caribbean can relate to this. I came here when I was 17 and while there is racism back home (Trinidad) its mild compared to what ive experienced here. People are obsessed with race here. Its on almost every application, it was in text books while I was studying nursing in college, it comes up in most conversations, and just like her, when I was younger, my dark skin was constantly talked about. Def was a culture shock.

OXxo
Guest
OXxo

The reason race is on every application in the States like in some other countries like the UK and Australia is due to monitoring to see if the institution complies with equality legislation.

These institutions are very happy for people to self-identify as a racial or ethnic minority as it lets them off the hook in actually making processes and procedures fairer for minorities.

By the way
Guest
By the way

Yes race has to be visible right now to ensure that we work towards equality then when all is equal then it can become invisible. When race becomes invisible too soon, you get a place like Brazil where black looking people get wayyyy less rights and opportunities than white looking people, and there is little to no way out of bad circumstances as a black person. However it is not highlighted as a race issue and therefore is not addressed. So america has to focus on race to address the issues for now and hopefully one day all will be… Read more »

Jade
Guest
Jade

I came to the U.S. As a teenager from Jamaica. I too had a huge culture shock due to the focus on light skin/dark skin and racism on a whole. Yes I did see some colorism back home, but it was nothing compared to my experience here.

lis
Guest
lis

Lies

Cosita
Guest
Cosita

Seriously? Those questions are on aplications for employers, universities etc. as the government’s way to monitor and try to keep us from being discriminated against. Obviously, we used to have not so long ago a system of laws in tb US called Jim Crow. A lot of people including some of my family members were part of the Civil Rights Movement. Black people were murdered, beaten, had water hoses and dogs turned on them to give your ungrateful self the right to fill out that “race obsessed” application and go to nursing school. I thank God for those people. Furthermore… Read more »

ama
Guest
ama

agreed! it almost seems like immigrants especially black ones should learn about our civil rights struggles befire commenting like this . I cant tell you how many times the issue of black people being unable to progress as well as more recent black immigrants has been brought up by them with no thoughts to our past and the present systemic racism not to mention the whole immigrant story privilege.

bumper
Guest
bumper

I am a dark skinned woman living in the UK and have to say I personally have not come across this ‘colourism’. I have light skinned and dark skinned friends and we all tend to concentrate on the features for how pretty a person is, rather than the skin tone. I think Americans make more of a big deal about it.

Lynne
Guest
Lynne

Features? Typical UK where everything is just a subtler form of the same issues. We have colourism in the UK, we are just not as blunt about it across the board.

cha
Guest
cha

Not necessarily true. I have lived in the uk and am quite dark and other in the uk people have made sure I know its “bad” (of all races)
Just cause u didn’t experience colourism doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

OXxo
Guest
OXxo

I am in the UK also and I first came across the light skin vs dark skin thing when I was a teenager. The people who made a big deal out of it were older women mainly from the Caribbean. They seemed to have issues with the fact that Black people from other parts of the former British Empire didn’t care about this as they seemed unaware that the colonialists played different tricks in different countries to divide and conquer the population. More aware older and younger Black people knew and know that White people just grouped you as Black… Read more »

bumper UK
Guest
bumper UK

I guess that was what I was trying to say but not very well. I was not saying that it does not exist in the UK, but that I had no personal experience of this. The people I move with are aware that white people group us together, light or dark So I grew up believing that a pretty person is pretty whether they are dark skinned or light skinned and an ugly person is ugly light or dark. It does seem more of a big deal to Americans and older Caribbean women.

Jen
Guest
Jen

Features are linked to racial make-up.

Dee
Guest
Dee

I didn’t understand it until I was older. When I was younger, I was made fun of because I was light-skinned and had back length hair. I “looked different” from the other kids. But it didn’t fully click that it was light skin vs. dark skin until I was about 19 and started a job with a lot of people closer to age in me (I used to work with people way older). Everyday it was something. Some people said they instantly didn’t like me. Some people made it a choice not to talk to me. Someone told me they… Read more »

MommieDearest
Guest
MommieDearest

Some black people are so lost. Especially here in the U.S. As a dark-skinned black person who has experienced intra-racial taunting from those who are lighter (some just BARELY so), I have also seen light-skinned black people tormented with the same level of ferocity. Even though most of our colorism issues in the U.S are rooted in slavery, It’s a sickness that only WE can cure; if we really WANT to.

Lakitha Goss
Guest
Lakitha Goss

When that woman started standing next to me like that, I wwould have left that store.

Latin
Guest
Latin

Sigh.…

Immodest Goddess
Guest
Immodest Goddess

I just long for the day when this argument comes to an end. Are we still arguing that it doesn’t matter how we perceive ourselves because some people choose to perceive us how they want?

Jen
Guest
Jen

Exactly. I find this argument to be inaccurate and very surface level. But if it helps you sleep at night– okay!

SimplePseudonym
Guest
SimplePseudonym

There is colorism all throughout the Caribbean. Land of “Her face brown, but her whole body black.” Perhaps she didn’t notice it Bc she benefitted from it back home (similar to whites being oblivious to their privilege in the States), whereas in the States, she had intra-demographic privilege while still being regarded as second-class in the macro-society.

CaribbeanGirl
Guest
CaribbeanGirl

Only a very very small percentage of people in the Caribbean Bleach. Fair skin does not always get you privilege here in the Caribbean. It might get you to a certain point but due to our small societies is more of who you know and well as how much money you have will get you places and priviledges and not necessarily fair skin.

AfroCapricornette
Guest
AfroCapricornette

Exactly! I had this same argument on the Clutch site. Just because a small percentage bleaches, it doesn’t make it a plague. In W/Afr, it’s all about money, power, tribal affiliations and connections. Colorism doesn’t exist if you meet either one or all of those 4 criteria.

Dee
Guest
Dee

Exactly. Colorism is not exclusive to the United States at all.

maralondon
Guest
maralondon

I second that, coming from Caribbean parents living in the Britain. Sounds like a lot of people have their heads in the sand.

West
Guest
West

As a Caribbean person I understand both of your points of view. It really depends on which island or mainland territory and smaller community within these you are exposed to. Some Caribbean societies are more accepting of certain stigmas and stereotypes than others. Where colourism might be a big issue in one Caribbean territory it would not necessarily be in another. People need to remember that the Caribbean is not one big land mass, it is made up of French, British, Dutch etc Caribbean states so our mainstream ideologies differ across the board. Although, our cultures may be similar they… Read more »

Sharon
Guest
Sharon

I can see where she’s coming from, even as an American. Growing up with white neighbors on both sides of our house and going to a school where I was one of 3 black kids in my class, all I knew was that I was black. That’s it. No one in my class pointed out shade variation and my parents never told us we were dark or light, we were just their children and they loved us. It wasn’t until we moved to a predominantly black neighborhood and started attending predominately black schools that I found out I was dark… Read more »

Hair Anomaly
Guest
Hair Anomaly

I just realized that, since moving out of the U.S. last year, I have not had to deal with this type of stupidity.

Get your passport, learn a second language, and see what life is like outside of a place where such intra-racial buffoonery exists. Living in the U.S. properly prepared me to deal with prejudice from outside of my racial and ethnic group, but I will never get used to the nonsense that comes from within.

Tanita
Guest
Tanita

AMEN!!!!! My family can’t understand why I prefer to live outside of the US.

ama
Guest
ama

Just curious what region of the world did you move to? I wholeheartedly agree with most if what you said but simpky leaving the US wont stop peopke from havin to deal with this issue.

Hair Anomaly
Guest
Hair Anomaly

Well, I didn’t head south that’s for sure.

I did not say it would. I said that 1) I haven’t had to deal with it since leaving, and 2) people should try living in a place where it doesn’t exist. I don’t deal with intra-racial problems because there aren’t even enough of us around to have them. The few of us who are here stick together. We are busy trying to work/study, learn new languages, and adapt to a new culture…no one has time for some light/dark skin nonsense.

Adía
Guest
Adía

I live in the US and I kinda believe her. In my community I didn’t experience light/ dark skin problems ever. Sure I saw jokes in TV and movies but no one said anything to me. Especially not strangers or “haters.” But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t aware it was/ is and issue for others constantly

NoTime4Bimbos
Guest
NoTime4Bimbos

Uh you do know the meaning of, “light-skinned” right? I ask that because I’m (very) light-skinned and if the avatar is you, then you aren’t light-skinned. Therefore, I wouldn’t see how you would have experienced any light/dark skin problems. That’s not meant to be an insult at all. Maybe I’m just not understanding your comment.

Torie Amza
Guest
Torie Amza

Hmm, I’m looking at your comment and rereading hers, and I don’t see where she ever claimed to be light skinned. And if she lives in an area where every is 50 shades darker than she is, then in her are, she WOULD be considered light skinned, but she didn’t say that either. She simply said that she didn’t experience color issues where she’s from. Color issues can be experienced/observed by anyone of any color.

Adía
Guest
Adía

I said light/ DARK. Therefore I could have experienced problems with the dark skin part. I didn’t. When I hang out with people who are light skinned I never heard anyone say anything to them either. Skin color being Black was never an issue. The actress’ comment makes it seem like there is more colorism in America than other places. But it really depends on the community. Your comment about my skin color was totally unnecessary. As you stated that’s me in my avatar. I know what I look like

ama
Guest
ama

people, not just you, keep mentioning about hearing comments. it is not always about what you hear it is in treatment. did you ever go to a club with your lighter friends and have them get in and not you? were you ever followed around ina store while your lighter or racially ambiguous friends were not? did you ever go somewhere as a child and have people point out how beautiful your lighter friends are and not say a word to you? subtle oppression is what eats away at the psyche and propels parents and society to continue this issue… Read more »

Adía
Guest
Adía

None of that ever happened to me

Camille
Guest
Camille

I’m american also and didn’t experience it. When I got older I’ve seen people say TERRIBLE things to people for their complexion though.

nylse
Guest

it’s her experience and we can’t knock her for it. I had similar thoughts around race when i came to america — I say it like this, “I didn’t know I was black until I came to the states.” more power to her for sharing her views.

Tamikah
Guest
Tamikah

Being trini born and New York raised this conversation is an interesting one. While she may be telling the truth as she knows it, I’ve heard the term “reds” since birth (that is another word for lightskinned). So when people say I’ve never heard of colorism especially in the carribean I can’t help but lol. People in the carribean have the same ideas about color it just isn’t racially driven it’s across ever race, colonialism has taught us that light is right. It’s nice that she never felt seperated in the Cayman Islands but for me I was and I’m… Read more »

suchanewbie
Guest
suchanewbie

I’m also from the Caribbean and I was called Red girl and I had a childhood b/f called black boy. Bcuz he was very dark. But the difference in the Caribbean is that it doesn’t signify someone is more attractive than someone else, or someone is smarter, or someone is more likely to get a job. It has no significance. When I came to the US it was completely different, and you can feel it, and it’s so stupid. And in my experience I get it from other black people. It’s mind boggling to me. And we’re only disrespecting ourselves… Read more »

By the way
Guest
By the way

This is not true for Jamaica. It was very clear to me growing up n Jamaica that dark-skinned meant ugly. I would hear phrases spat out, “look how ‘im black!” like it was a disease. And pretty was only used in the context of browning(or light-skinned) girl. If you were dark-skinned you were more assumed to be poor. The only thing it didn’t create a bias against that I was aware of was intelligence or competence. (Not that I ever picked up on anyway). Also I have read Trinidadian novels that highlighted the conflicts of race and complexion in Trinidad… Read more »

Cece
Guest
Cece

What you’ve shared is what goes on in Africa. The lighter skinned women are considered more attractive and most women with darker skin tone are busy bleaching their skin to have a lighter tone of skin as a result we have Former Black Individuals. There exists a great number of people with inferiority complex issues pertaining to skin color and hair. The sad part is, the kind of skin lightening creams they use leave the skin looking awful with red, black and brown patches after some time and people who use these creams don’t age well. Its quite a sight… Read more »

ama
Guest
ama

yes! I was sooo disappointed when I see that Ray C a East African singer from Tanzania had returned to the spotlight 12 shades lighter.

lis
Guest
lis

Thank you for your honesty@by the way.…and @Cece

Tamikah
Guest
Tamikah

That is very true it’s usually our own pushing this type of racial tomfoolery.

lis
Guest
lis

Lies

AdinaKay
Guest
AdinaKay

I’m Trinidadian, born and raised. I am familiar with the term ‘reds’. But it was never used in the manner that Americans use it. There was no ‘team red bone’. Their was no hierarchy assigned to it. It simply meant a lighter skinned Black person. Just like how a ‘darkie’ was a dark skinned Black person and a ‘browning’ was a mid-toned Black person, and a ‘dougla’ was a mixed race person. We were never taught that one was more desirable than the other. They were just localized descriptions. Recognizing that different people can have different skin tones is not… Read more »

Tamikah
Guest
Tamikah

I see your point totally, reds, darkie, brownin are more used to describe someone. Def no team reds lol

ama
Guest
ama

there was no team this or that 10 years ago in the US either. That is a product of social media. but I believe that the author is implying that colorism did not exist on her islands and that is not true. Also it is not hard to see that colorism also exists in the Indian communities as well. People who are saying they never saw it are maad suspect to me, even those that grew up in predominantly white communities because of some points already mentioned by a commenter above.

Zaza Snikwad
Guest
Zaza Snikwad

I agree. I am really surprised that someone from a Caribbean island has never experienced the “light skin, dark skin” situation.….in Jamaica a light skinned person is called a “browning” and there does exist colour prejudice (i.e. light skin ed vs dark skinned). I need to move to Cayman!

AdinaKay
Guest
AdinaKay

The Caribbean islands are not a monolith. What is the norm in Jamaica is not going to be the norm for all islands.

s. badiyah austin
Guest

or a “coolie” if you happen to be a jamaican mixed with indian or spanish heritage…colorism definitely exists…i’m confused by her sentiments.

my father spent a lifetime proving his “blackness” because he didn’t look ethnic enough. most coolie’s don’t…

Torie Amza
Guest
Torie Amza

I also noticed on the film DARK GIRLS that ppl in Dominican Republic are encouraged to “marry their own color.” One dark skinned guy pursued a light skin lady and her her mom chased him away, telling him to get somebody in his “own race.”

AdinaKay
Guest
AdinaKay

Same here. People don’t believe me when I say this, but I honestly didn’t know what colourism was until I moved to the United States of America. I’m dark skinned Black Trinidadian, born and raised. And in no way am I implying that racism doesn’t exist in Trinidad, or even that my personal experience is indicative of the overall vibe in Trinidad. But I grew up thinking that if you were Black, you were Black. Light skinned, dark skinned, it didn’t matter. I had Black friends of all shades, Indian friends of all shades.We got along swimmingly and skin tone… Read more »

Torie Amza
Guest
Torie Amza

I’m Black American and I get the same “oh your kids are going to be so pretty!” when other Blacks find out my husband is European. I simply respond that they were going to be pretty regardless! I was a beautiful brown princess as a child, and still am attractive and get really offended when ppl respond this way! It’s ridiculous, as though full Black children aren’t JUST AS BEAUTIFUL as mixed ones! Shucks, I’ve seen plenty of mixed kids that aren’t so hot looking, smh.

Jilly
Guest
Jilly

I’m light-skinned — a ‘reds’ in Trini talk, and I have found the most hurtful and offensive behaviour in terms of race is from marginally darker black friends who have sought to diminish (no other word for it) my blackness by constantly calling out my shade. Eg ‘she very European looking, not a much as you ’ and ‘you eyes are green aren’t they?’ (They’re totally brown!) I grew up in an all-white environment, where I was the blackest person around — and never experienced that kind of racism from the local whites. Colorism is definitely a thing amongst many… Read more »

Chel
Guest
Chel

My mom is Trini as well, and dark-skin, and based on what she has told me about growing up and things her mom (who was light-skin) would say to her, I know skin color is a sensitive subject with her as well.

Immodest Goddess
Guest
Immodest Goddess

Not to mention the fact that in Trinidad, many whites feel marginalised. I have a number of white friends from Trinidad who state they don’t feel as though they are perceived as Trinidadians, even though they have been there for countless generations. Yet this is a conversation they feel they can’t have and a feeling that is discounted because they are not black.

Patrice Heath
Guest
Patrice Heath

Only in America could a person be 1/16th black and be categorized as black . this was the law of the land. Is there any evidence of this being the law of the within S. America and the Caribbean countries with populations resulting from the transatlantic slave trade?

Camille
Guest
Camille

No, there they have different names for all the combinations and treat ALL of them badly for being mixed with black.

ImJustSaying
Guest
ImJustSaying

.
That’s a LIE !!!
.
The U.S. OUTLAWED the One-Drop Rule’ way back
in 1967 (and it was NEVER used ‘nationally’ — but
rather — was ONLY used ‘Regionally’ … and even
then … it was only used from 1930 to 1967 in the U.S.
.
ALSO — less than 6% of the Black Slaves even
arrived o the U.S. (most of them — more than
94% — went to the Caribbean or Latin America).
.
https://plus.google.com/102311719580461249997/posts/YB15Rfa5wat .

Rachel
Guest
Rachel

I am French, grew up in France and moved to the UK when I was 20. Granted I am mixed race, but I had never heard of colourism until I discovered this blog. I’ve never experienced it, but then again, I hang out with an eclectic bunch and pretty much all my friends and acquaintances are educated (university and post-grad level) and well-travelled so that may account for my complete ignorance of the issue.

Cosita
Guest
Cosita

I’m not from the Carribean but knowing people who are I don’t believe it is a non-issue everywhere there. I’m sure it varies from place to place and experience to experience. In the US when I have lived in very diverse areas no one nade mention of my skin tone. Only heard it in the South and around mostly black people. My family has never treated anyone better or worse for skin tone. Also my experience is it’s mostly black men and old black women who use “high yellow” and “red bone” as supposed compliments although I have been called… Read more »

Camille
Guest
Camille

I don’t think it’s everywhere in the US so much as it is individuals who experienced it and continue it with their own comments to other people. It’s so strange and sad to hear small children describe their color like it’s important. That’s not how I grew up. I have lived in racially integrated (but mostly white) places and NEVER heard it then. When I got older and was around more black people and through rap videos was when I started hearing “dark skinned” and “light skinned”. Before I had heard people say light and dark as descriptions (the skinned… Read more »

Cosita
Guest
Cosita

That’s why I think everyone has their own personal truth with this issue. People even from the same country may have totally different experiences with colorism. There are many parts of the US where there are hardly any black people so I don’t know it would be acurate to say it’s everywhere in the country.

ImJustSaying
Guest
ImJustSaying

.
EXCELLENT POINTS !!!
.

maralondon
Guest
maralondon

I live in Britain with Caribbean parents and know many people from all the different Islands and South America. Colourism is most certainly an issue amongst us. I’m not dismissing Graces experience whilst living in the Cayman Island nor others but trust me people still have in their minds the typical things which go along with the differences in complexions. I guess because i’m neither dark nor light i have personally never had any black person call me out for my complexion actually a Jamaican man had told me once that my skin tone was just right. Well this told… Read more »

Cosita
Guest
Cosita

So true what you say.I have had men express interest in me and mention they only like a certain skin tne. total turnoff. I would be interested in opinions of what men think about whether they face colorism. I think darker skin among black men is looked at as more attractive and desireable than light skin at least among the black women I know.

Cosita
Guest
Cosita

Thanks BGLH for picking up the link I submitted. Do you take story idea submissions?

Wise Mocha
Guest
Wise Mocha

Here’s my thing… if you weren’t exposed to the foolishness of colorism until you got here, then why even give it anymore thought? The idiocracy of colorism still exists simply because we don’t have the guts to call people out on their ignorance. Color struck fools need to be dismissed for the dimwits they are. When people talk about their “preferences”, we act like we need to tap dance around their opinions so as to not offend them while they are the ones who are actually offensive and ignorant. Slavery ended 150 years ago, so if you’re still buying into… Read more »

AdinaKay
Guest
AdinaKay

Because she is now immersed in a culture that always puts it at the forefront. I would like nothing more than to never give colourism another thought. But when you live in a society where it is an issue for almost everyone else, it becomes an issue for you whether you like it or not.

Immodest Goddess
Guest
Immodest Goddess

I am of mixed descent, lived both in the Caribbean and Europe. I think she has a right to tell her story because, after all, it is based on what she says are her perceptions and experiences. The same is true for everyone. I have friends who have felt prejudiced against because they were black. I also have seen black people prejudiced towards others. The truth is, slavery has left an impact in many spheres of our lives in ways we can’t even completely comprehend. In the Caribbean I feel comfortable in all racial groups. I’ve been told that this… Read more »

ImJustSaying
Guest
ImJustSaying
Kay
Guest
Kay

I wholeheartedlyagree with Jilly, who touched on this issue as a byproduct of colonialism. Ithappens in Africa (did my thesis on colorism and the Hutu and Tutsi of Rwanda),American and the Caribbean. From Cuba to Brazil, Baltimore to Brooklyn, this is the unfortunate legacy of a system that was designed to subjugate and demeanpeople of color. Like the stories of house slave versus field slave, much ofthis was thrust upon us but it’s up to each person to participate. As a very dark-skinned woman, I’ve been called all types of names by my own people but I’ve also had white… Read more »

Jorzian
Guest
Jorzian

As with white people (with racism), the only discrimination light skinned blacks (on a large scale, at least) can come across (colourism-wise) is verbal and physical colourist abuse. Dark skinned blacks (especially females) face a variety of forms of colourism, from employment, to media representation, to how attractive you’re perceived to be. Light skinned blacks are even viewed in a more positive light by those of other races (apparently “they look smarter”), shattering the lie that “White people don’t see colour. They just see black. Etc…” Studies have proved this. “Some people assumed that guys might like me more because… Read more »

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

you don’t think light skinned blacks have trouble getting jobs? Or proper media representation? Maybe compared to dark blacks, but its still a white man’s world and they don’ care that were light. They don’t see all these details and differences black spend so much time fixated on. I am still a n-ger to anyone who wants to be racist to me.

Ugonna Wosu
Guest
Ugonna Wosu

she never said dark women are imagining their problems, she said its a bigger thin in America than where she comes from. I can believe that, as someone living in Canada, who was not aware of this big “war” until I started frequenting sites like this three years ago.

ImJustSaying
Guest
ImJustSaying
PETTYNEXTDOOR
Guest
PETTYNEXTDOOR

Im somewhat skeptical about colorism not existing where she’s from because the Caribbeans history with slavery and colonialism lasted longer and was more brutal than that in the U.S. It definitely exists maybe in an implicit way where she might not have realized it. I similarly was not aware of colorism until I attended an HBCU and I live in the US. After that I became hyperaware and noticed it everywhere, how I was treated differently and given favor because I was lighter. It has always existed and exists in every corner of the earth that colonialism and white supremacy… Read more »

Drell
Guest
Drell

I think you are nit picking over diction. To her it did not exist because she never experienced it so from her perspective it did not exist. Furthermore she is talking about her personal experience. I can honestly say as a Caribbean person growing up in the 90’s I’ve only once had someone called me out or remark on my lighter skin tone and that person was one of my american friends. I went to an international school on my island that was filled with basically every race or nationality. From Japanese, Filipino,Cuban, India, Irish South African, Puerto Rican, Italian,… Read more »

GuestPosting
Guest
GuestPosting

I’m from the UK and the whole light skin/ dark skin thing REALLY reared its head (for me personally) at university. It was always there, don’t get me wrong, and even in my own family (I have a cousin who regularly likes to state her blackness against everybody else — even her siblings who share the same DNA as her who are a fraction lighter) but university is where it got stupid. It went deeper too because you had the whole Caribbean/African thing. Ugh, I just don’t have time for it. Why we as black people have to create these… Read more »

Niki
Guest
Niki

To say the Caribbean history of slavery and colonialism lasted longer is quite incorrect. To lump our experiences as the same is a mistake that most people make especially those who are unfamiliar of our history and culture. After slavery was abolished there were not long years of fighting for freedom as in the US and the violent acts against people of African decent was on a minuscule scale compared to the US. When space and geography of each island which can be a small as 166 square miles (Barbados) to 4240 square miles (Jamaica) and not to mention Cuba… Read more »

Niki
Guest
Niki

error re Costa Rica she is from Cayman and miles differ depending on the specific island she is from …but you get my point re varied historical experiences and culture

Latoya
Guest
Latoya

I feel u. I’m chocolate dark skin and so cute. I’ve never had the light thing influence me. My best friend is so light people ask her is she Mexican. We are good looking ladies. I modeled when I was younger and I didn’t here the white ladies speaking about my color.Some people use the word dark like its bad. We are beautiful black women. ‚Caramel, chocolate,honey embrace it ladies.

Latoya
Guest
Latoya

I was gonna comment but after reading some of these comments I couldn’t stop laughing. Black is beautiful ladies. What ever your shade love it. This may sound vain but I’m a attractive women that’s chocolate and it has always been gravy for me. This isn’t a insult but maybe the women that feel being dark is bad probably aren’t goodlooking.

MagnoliaGirl Phillips
Guest
MagnoliaGirl Phillips

Latoya I am also chocolate and I hate to keep hearing folks go after each other over skin tone LOVE YOURSELF! We all have something we should be proud of and stop being jealous/hating on others…find some self-esteem an pride 🙂 also support and uplift others…stop the negativity

MizzTeef
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MizzTeef

My family on my mother’s side is from Guyana. It is a South American country but it is considered to be a part of the Carribean culture. My entire family ranged from being lighter than “Boo Boo Kitty” to as dark as Tyrese. We never grew up discrimanting between light skin vs. dark skin in my family. I never even knew this was an “issue” until I moved to VA when I was 18. I lived in NY most of my life. Most of my friends were also from the islands and this never took place. My mom was fair… Read more »

tracy
Guest
tracy

YES preach, I am from Guyana as well. BLACK Americans are crazy color conscious one difference in skin tone can get you teased all day. They do not even know how bad they are. My family is soooo many different shades of black, probably like 10 different colors and its a second thought about color and hair. BLACK Americans are crazy about “good hair ” too. Sooo much that I have stopped going to the hair salon because they keep commenting on my soft “indian like hair”, and want to cutt it ALL the time. They dont understand dark skin… Read more »

Morgan Thomas
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Morgan Thomas

The Cayman Islands was colonized by the British and had African slaves. Maybe Gealey never experienced light skinned vs. dark skinned drama, but it is NOT an experience exclusive to the U.S. or Americans. Just as her light complexion would make her stand out, a dark complexion does the same thing. People historically have preferred light over dark, despite her experiences. What is important is not her “colorblindness” but her realization of the similarities that she has with people of a darker complexion.

NAH
Guest
NAH

Colorism is a fact around the globe, I agree with you there. However, as a Jamaican, I can identify with what she is saying. The colonization doesn’t have bearing on the culture factor she is mentioning. When I go to JA, I also realize how beautiful women who may not get even a look here are uplifted for their beauty. There is a “we are all [insert country origin here]” that surpasses these color factions. It is an amazing thing to experience.

kaydenpat
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kaydenpat

Then why are so many Jamaica women caught up in skin bleaching?

ImJustSaying
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ImJustSaying

.
EXACTLY !!!
.

Megan
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Megan

I read this and couldn’t help but think that the US was simply the first place she got called out on light-skinned privilege. I’ve just heard too much about colorism around the globe (especially the Caribbean) to think it was a complete non-issue.

iman campbell7
Guest
iman campbell7

Yessss. Thank You I was actually thinking that same thing. So much content in your comment I had to literally reda it twice. Glad to see someone else gets it. I have seen her throw shade at the U.S before Im starting to sideeye this woman big-time.

Queenwithnocrown
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Queenwithnocrown

While I for the better part of my young life there was definitely a preference towards lighter complexion the trend for me has changed. Although there is still such ignorance when in comes to identifying beauty based on complexion I believe there has a been paradigm shift in terms of inclusive beauty because as we know, light = equal beauty and dark does not = unattractive.

tracy
Guest
tracy

I am from the Carribean and I defintely agree with her black americans take light skin and dark skin to a whole different level of psychosis only second to the Dominican Republic. Its a big division. My dark skinned brother was teased soooo badly when he came to America and that would not have happened so much in the Carribean. My family goes from light almost white to dark ebony people.

maralondon
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maralondon

You do realise that when they (Europeans) declared Slavery abolished that is purely propaganda. Slavery was no longer profitable for them and that is the real reason they said they ended it. Our Ancestors for decades were heavily dependent on the former slave masters for day to day living, were treated marginally better then they were during slavery. There were many uprisings by the Ancestors as a result of the harsh treatment and being paid next to nothing for the continued work. This was said to have continued some 30 years after slavery. The economy soon dried up and many… Read more »

Jen
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Jen

Which is why white people disproportionately feature lighter skinned blacks in media, right? Because they don’t see color? Ahhh…

Cosita
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Cosita

My honest opinion is that some of the Hollywood people look at us and if they see anything remotely black then they see black and the thought process ends there. Now others do differentiate. Also I have noticed that dark or brown skin men actors get cast more in major movie roles. Wheras light skin men seen to be confined mostly to tv except Will Smith who did tv for a long time. Many people consider light skin dudes not appealing for action type very masculine roles. When was the last time an Alan Payne type was in a major… Read more »

Monique Gordon
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Monique Gordon

Why do some blacks laugh at the thought dark-skinned women having relationships in movie scenes? I’ve witnessed this on many occasions.

Cosita
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Cosita

I have never heard anyone laugh or comment on that so I can’t say. But then maybe i don’t have those discussions as much because I am more of a live music person as far as entertainment. so are my friends. However I do know when I see ads for extras or have applied for extra they only say what race they want. nothing about skin tone.

Monique Gordon
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Monique Gordon

I remember seeing a movie with Whoopi Goldberg and as soon as they show her kissing Sam Elliott (white actor) some African-Amercians laughed, then made rude remarks about her hair /face.

Monique Gordon
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Monique Gordon

I’ve been to the movies on two occasions and overheard snickers and comments in regards to dark skinned actresses in love scenes w/someone of another race and or lighter skinned actor. And when I sneak to peak, it’s always a Black person poking fun.

DeeDee
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DeeDee

I agree. I am a chocolate girl too and I know I’m cute, but some women have to learn that. Ladies don’t let the media or silly little boys or whatever influence how you feel about yourself! People are sometimes more attracted to confidence than skin color.

ImJustSaying
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ImJustSaying

.
AGREED !!! 100% !!!
.

ImJustSaying
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ImJustSaying

.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A
LIGHT-SKINNED BLACK person.
.
https://plus.google.com/102311719580461249997/posts/YB15Rfa5wat
.

ImJustSaying
Guest
ImJustSaying
iman campbell7
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iman campbell7

Preach straight up thinking the same thing

iman campbell7
Guest
iman campbell7

Co-sign everything you just said.

Shawna
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Shawna

To be honest, not all the islands of the Caribbean are the same. As someone who is from Jamaica, we have colorism there and it is a big issue which result in a lot of bleaching. This is a result of Willie Lynch phenomena that has persist throughout the years from slavery to present day. Where in our communities, old fight against young, light skinned fight against dark skinned, etc. The irony is that although we have the intra-racism or colorism, we identify all races as Jamaicans. However, most of the intra-racism/colorism lies within individuals of the African diaspora. We… Read more »

KEN Millwood
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KEN Millwood

When she says back home, she means Cayman, not the Caribbean. The mistake is people lumping the Caribbean as one country. I’m from the Cayman Islands as well, and I never ever been called out for my light skin tone until I moved to England where my African colleagues would point it out ” Oh you’re a browning” or ” You lucky you have that Carib skin tone”. I’m lucky? I’m half Jamaican so when I visit my family in Jamaica who have darker skin than mine they associate my skin tone with being wealthy. I didn’t experience any of… Read more »

my2cents
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my2cents

I agree with you and this actress also. I am Puerto Rican and my family is very diverse like most Puerto Rican families, I used to work at this coffee shop in San Juan where many tourist came. The only time someone asked me about my skin color was by an American tourists. I am light skin and was asked by a woman: “are you really from here?” I said : “Yes” then the lady said : “but your so white?” I was stunned, never in my life was I ever told that I was “too white” to be Puerto… Read more »

Ashley Rocke
Guest
Ashley Rocke

Colorism exist in those that perpetrate it(Which is generally the majority). Simple. She is just saying it was not known to her. Maybe she was fortunate enough to be surrounded by people that don’t subscribe to such behavior, so she wasn’t exposed to the filth that is colorism . A lot of us (myself included) are guilty of giving preference to some type of characteristic that is synonymous with those of fairer skin from time to time, but this is because, sadly, this what we have been taught, and the only way to get rid of it is to unteach… Read more »

Yasmeen Roberts
Guest
Yasmeen Roberts

Thank you Niki!! I totally agree. I’m a light skinned black woman (and I do indeed exist!) but I grew up overseas. When I went back to America for college I was asked by EVERYBODY “what are you?!” And when I came back with “I’m black” I’d get a flat out “no you’re not”. I had BLACK PEOPLE tell me “you don’t look black, talk black, dress black” and one black colleague went as far as to say YOU’RE TOO SOPHISTICATED TO BE BLACK. I was so hurt and confused. When they asked how it could be that I was… Read more »

Cosita
Guest
Cosita

A lot of that has nothing to do with your skin tone. It’s because you don’t fit a sterotype they have in mind of black people. I have been told a million times I “talk white” or “act white” by black, white and everyone else. I grew up in a middle class neighborhood on the West Coast where everyone spoke correct English. However, when I moved to Southern areas where many people don’t speak correct English they often took it as me trying to “talk proper” and make them look bad when really that’s just the way I speak. Some… Read more »

Yasmeen Roberts
Guest
Yasmeen Roberts

Exactly. When I went to college no one would even talk to me because i didn’t fit into a clearly defined box. On my Californian campus, I don’t know how it is in other states, all the black kids hung out together, all the white kids had their circle, the Asians and Mexicans theirs; and no one mixed. It was such a lonely experience for me. And quite frankly most of the hate I got was from the black girls. They looked at me like they wanted to beat me up LOL

Natasha
Guest
Natasha

Maybe she didn’t experience it because the majority of people in cayman are light skin or mixed race. How can you experience something if everyone looks like you?? Jamaica is right next door and many there associate light skin with money and beauty.

Queenwithnocrown
Guest
Queenwithnocrown

That’s most unfortunate because that certainly is not the truth.

Nsha
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Nsha

I don’t buy this… I have friends from several Caribbean island who were practically traumatized because of their skin color, grown women who are still dealing with childhood trauma

ama
Guest
ama

I was thinkin the same thing. And to the peeps sayin everyone is light-skinned or mixed on Cayman, that is not true but even if it was mixed and light-skinned people are not all the same complexion so I still aint with her statement.

The Acknickulous One
Guest
The Acknickulous One

Her statement is based on her personal experience. You don’t have to be with something you haven’t experienced.

The Acknickulous One
Guest
The Acknickulous One

There are multiple islands that make up the Caribbean. She’s speaking specifically about her personal experience in the Cayman Islands. She is not speaking to the experience of every woman in the Caribbean. How can you disagree with someone’s personal experience?

tracy
Guest
tracy

I am from the Carribean and I definitely agree with her BLACK americans take light skin and dark skin to a whole different level of psychosis only second to the Dominican Republic. Its a big division. My dark skinned brother was teased soooo badly when he came to America and that would not have happened so much in the Carribean. My family goes from light almost white to dark ebony people.

Daniel Pasadena
Guest
Daniel Pasadena

Whether it’s black skin Vs light skin, “nice hair Vs. corse hair” Black folks are F…d up no matter where they are from. We are our worst freaking enemies! You can take that to the bank.

Steve Biko
Guest
Steve Biko

Ms. Gealey is biracial, though. If you guys would have just kept these mixed folks from calling themselves “black”, there would be no such thing as colorism today. It’s that simple.

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