Monday, June 1, 2015


Did you know that, usually down for the cause, Vanessa Williams actually said that she, as a light-skinned female, did not think she had it easier than someone like Lupita Nyong'o in getting acting roles?

Frankly that was more shocking than a white person saying blacks have the same chances of getting roles as whites.

Light-skinned women definitely experience racism. I know they do, especially black featured ones. But Vanessa Williams was the first black Miss America (followed by an equally pale Suzette Charles) So in essence,Vanessa Williams life was built on light-skin privilege in way more obvious than most. So how did Vanessa even let "I didn't have privilege" enter her mind much less leave her mouth?

How is it that women who are light-skinned and white-featured, both, cannot see how significant their privilege is

-over dark-skinned women

-over light-skinned women with black features

-and how harmful their attitudes of denial are to the black community as a whole?

Maybe the denial of light-skinned privilege isn't as harmful as the denial of white racism. But I'm not entirely sure of that. I'm not sure at all That particular sword is being swung at the black community from the inside as opposed to the outside.

And why not talk about how you, as a light-skinned woman, can use your variation on white privilege to help a sistah out in the workplace?  Why not talk about how, as a light skinned woman, you can put black men that pant after your paleness in their place instead of reveling in their attention---and help the entire race out?
Light-skinned women might turn out to have a lot of power, a power that could be used to reduce colorism among black men - which could, in turn, lead to quite a few black women liking their own skin-color, hair texture, and a more authentic union of all black women

Dark-skinned women need to talk about a jealousy based on harsh realities more openly than they do, then do what they need to do to let it go. But I don't know how that can happen without light denial dying the same death as white denial needs to die.

The author aside, light-skinned, white featured women who are black and experience racism might think about acknowledging that they have at least one white problem. The might need to put light guilt aside in order to move forward into having a real conversation about colorism. And that conversation is going to be as difficult for the light to aside light guilt as it is for white to put aside white guilt and move into conversation.

Once we move into honest conversation, maybe we can figure out how we can use light-skinned privilege as an advantage for us all.

P.S. Vanessa Williams: DO BETTER. WE LOVE YOU!