Why do African Americans separate themselves by skin color?

What's with this light skin, brown skin, dark skin mess?


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Most Helpful Girl

  • It's the same thing as other races having blondes, brunettes, redheads, tan and pale. We all look different

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Most Helpful Guy

  • I think the light skin, dark skin divide is a negative consequence of colonialism. Back in colonialism days, governments applied different laws to people based on how light their skin was. Such a preferential treatment was reflected in black culture because blacks started to place a value on light skin, for legal and practical reasons. Even though the days of laws based explicitly on skin color are over, the culture regarding those rules is still with us today.

    A similar example is how English changed after the French conquered Britain in the middle ages. When the French conquered Britain, they spoke French in the royal court while the commoners spoke Old English. Therefore, commoners perceived French phrases like "cordial reception," in a different light that they perceived Old English phrases like "hearty welcome," even though they literally mean the exact same thing. 500+ years later, we still perceive a cordial reception to be fancier than a hearty welcome (source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIzFz9T5rhI) My point is that cultural feelings may persist even though the circumstances that gave rise to those feelings don't exist anymore.

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What Girls Said 6

  • You won't ever catch me calling myself some damn "brown skin." Black is Black. Whether light or dark.

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  • Thank You. I am fucking black. That's it.. Just call me black..

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  • Ignorance. I am black myself and i feel like its so annoying. They do that to make themselves feel good and on a higher pedestal. Its not about skin but beauty in my opinion.

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  • But oh hell no, if you're white, make no mention of my skin color ever

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  • Just like whites refer to themselves as "pale skin" or "tanned" or "caramel skin", I would say.

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  • Remnants of slavery. Internal discrimination at its finest...

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What Guys Said 3

  • Why do people in America separate themselves by skin colour? In slovakia we are may have weaker economy and lower life standard but at least we can be friends with chinese, black, brown, dark or any ethnicity people, even with gypsies if they live like people. Yes gypsies are the only object of racism there but that is because of their lifestyle, most of them do not integrate into civilization, live in ghettos, steal, have children when 13 years old etc. But even if white people live like that, they are rejected in same way so it is not discriminated by race. Who is polite and lives like a human being, no matter which race he/she is, is equal there.

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    • And it is pretty cool to be black or other race. I am upset that I don´t have friends or I don´t even know some people of other races, because there is lack of them in Slovakia.

  • As black man, i think a lot of that goes back to slavery days. Those of a lighter pigmentation benefited vs the darker. Some mixed people could pass for white and lighter black people served more as servants and assistants than the workers in the field. Thus, being lighter mean't you were better though still under white people.

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  • Because how else are they going to make everything a racial issue?

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    • This actually IS a race issue though.. It's mostly Eurocentric beauty standards that make people feel like they have to associate themselves from light to dark. It's heavily entrenched in our culture.

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