Who’s keeping track?

I’ve personally been asked if my nationality is Italian, Greek, Spanish, Mexican, Armenian and even Asian a few times. I’m none of those, as far as I know. It’s Austrian, Irish and Polish. I have olive skin. I don’t know if — based on what I know about my heritage — I’m “supposed” to have olive skin, but I don’t care. I’m American.

When I read this post on HelloGiggles.com, about there not being enough “DARK-skinned women on television or in music”, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I like a good debate, especially when it involves women-related issues. However, I just don’t see the “issue” in this particular case.

The author says:

 “Yes, we have black powerhouses that we all know and adore: Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland, Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, and the list goes on and on. However, very rarely do we see a DARK-skinned woman on television or in music, and that’s just unreal. Why are these women underrepresented? Where are they?”

HelloGiggles.com is co-founded by Zooey Deschanel, who stars in the popular Fox shnew girlow New Girl. Does anyone see a “DARK-skinned” woman in the cast photo? Perhaps the author could have just asked her boss, “Why are these women underrepresented? Where are they?”

And, is the author saying that her examples of “black powerhouses” aren’t black enough? Well, perhaps that’s because two of the women she mentions has one white parent.

But, really, let’s take other races into consideration — is there such thing as WHITE-skinned? TAN-skinned? Can we argue there aren’t enough FRECKLED-skinned people on TV? When does the skin spectrum quota get filled? And, why do we still care?


And, in a country like America, that is so full of many different cultures, people, nationalities and thus — beautiful colors — how can you possibly narrow it down to there being a lack of DARK-skinned women represented on TV/in music? I mean, I’d rattle off a list of possible examples, but I’m not sure if those examples would be “dark enough” — or maybe even too dark for the author. And, would an example like Mindy Kaling not apply, since she’s Indian?flowers

It’s sort of like a field of wildflowers — who “controls” how they grow? Who looks at a field of wildflowers and says, “Nope. Not good. There’s not enough red. Not enough yellow. Not enough blue.” No one. You appreciate what you see, because that is what natural beauty is. And, each field is different, and beautiful.

I guess what I’m getting at, is that we’re always fighting to get people to see beyond the color of someone’s skin. We’re always fighting for equality, and human compassion and deep love for one another based on what’s inside. Because that’s what counts in this melting pot of a world. So, to me — this complaint of not having “enough “DARK-skinned” women on TV/in music means maybe the complainer needs to broaden their view. In more ways than one.


2 thoughts on “Who’s keeping track?

  1. I read the post you are referring to, and it seems (obvious) to me that she’s talking about there not being enough dark-skinned black women represented (especially, in a positive light) on television…..and I have to agree with her. I don’t think she’s trying to say any of the women she mentioned (Bey, Rhi, Halle, Alicia or Kelly) aren’t ‘black enough’; in fact, I think she’s saying, they are good examples of black women who ‘represent’ but they don’t have a lot of company, especially, dark-skinned company.

    I feel what you’re saying, however…..’we’re always fighting to get people to see beyond the color of someone’s skin. We’re always fighting for equality, and human compassion and deep love for one another based on what’s inside…’ and I think about that alot. How are we supposed to get to that point if someone is always pointing out that there isn’t enough of this (black, dark, other) or there’s too much of that (light, white, other)? By not just saying or feeling that we need to be compassionate and love one another based on what’s inside, but living and behaving that way….and, unfortunately, the actions of alot of people show (that they believe) otherwise. Being a dark-skinned, black woman, I’ve felt and still do feel the sting of being overlooked, disrespected, disregarded, underrepresented, misrepresented, mistreated, etc. due to just the color of my skin. And though I shouldn’t be, I’m always shocked that people still don’t get it: You (meaning anyone besides me) are not better than me, in any way, shape or form, just because your skin tone is lighter. Period. Thankfully, I don’t let other people’s opinions or ignorance dictate how I feel about my chocolate brown skin…..but I know so many people who do.

    Colorism is real and being olive-skinned or any shade of brown Indian, Asian, Latina or other person may have its stigmas but nothing that compares to what a dark-skinned black woman has to deal with. And until society, as a whole, stops making us (dark skinned black women) the face of the enemy, the threat, the unworthy, the low-down, etc. etc., the question/issue will remain (on TV and every where else).

  2. Agree with the other commenter. I feel like you must not be aware of the long history (dating back at least to the days of slavery) of “colorism” within the black community and the ongoing perception both outside AND inside the black community that whiter/lighter features are preferable/more beautiful (and the impact this has on young dark-skinned girls, etc). This applies to lighter skin, the issue of “good hair” versus “kinky” hair, etc. While it might be nice to think we’re all just a field of wildflowers, the fact is people DO control what’s considered beautiful/normal in the media, who appears on TV/in movies, etc. And there are still groups who are marginalized and seen as “less than” in society. To dismiss this as a ridiculous non-issue seems a bit uninformed.

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