If You Only Listen To Light-Skinned Black Women, You're Not A True Ally

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Black woman

Being a dedicated ally towards the Black community means listening to our issues, confronting your own internalized racism, and working to dismantle the system that has managed to keep the Black community oppressed for so long.

It’s amazing if your allyship connects you with different activists on and off of social media.

But what's not amazing is only listening to light-skinned Black women when they talk about racism.

When lighter-toned Black women talk about their experience in this country when it comes to racism, microaggressions, and oppression, it is never the same as when you talk to a darker-skinned Black woman.

That is because of colorism, and the favoritism of light-skinned women who are inherently closer to whiteness and European standards.

Colorism is defined as a practice of discrimination by which those of lighter skin are treated more favorably than those with darker skin.

We see colorism play out in shows/films all the time. Light-skinned Black women are given a plethora of more on-screen roles than dark-skinned Black women. 

Light-skinned women have more privilege and more advantages in our society. They are desirable in every aspect, whether it comes to dating, getting hired for different jobs, or scoring leading lady roles in Hollywood.

RELATED: Hollywood's Obsession With Casting Light-Skinned Black Women Needs To Stop

Of course, this is not to say that light-skinned Black women don't experience their own struggles with their skin color or experience racism, because at the end of the day, they're still Black. But their experiences are different than that of a dark-skinned Black woman.

Dark-skinned Black women are consistently told to “lighten up,” as in stay out of the sun. They are the last choice when it comes to representation in the media. They are the least desired group when it comes to dating. In fact, darker-skinned individuals are more likely to have an encounter with the police that will lead to an arrest  or worse.

The sooner we acknowledge the fact that light-skinned women have a considerable amount of privilege compared to their darker-toned counterparts, the sooner we can work to dismantle colorism and allow for fair representation of darker-skinned Black women in the media.

RELATED: Why DaniLeigh's Song 'Yellow Bone' Is Another Example Of Light-Skinned Privilege Within The Black Community

Being a true ally to the Black community meaning supporting more platforms for Black people who have darker skin to speak — because they're the ones who experience the brunt of oppression and racism America. They are the ones who need to have their voices heard and uplifted.

If your allyship only extends to one kind of Black person, it is not a true allyship. We shouldn’t only listen to light-skinned Black women when it comes to racial issues.

It’s the same thing as only listening to cis, straight, or able-bodied Black people — doing that means your allyship is not intersectional. 

It’s ALL Black lives that matter, and that includes Black trans people, disabled Black people, Black people in the LGTBQ community, and darker-skinned Black people. 

So, if you’re not actively engaging with darker-skinned Black women — like Ericka Hart, Aja Barber, and Feminista Jones — when it comes to learning about Black issues, and expanding your activism, you should start.

RELATED: Why Black Lives Deserve More Than Just Superficial Activism

Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.