In 2010, CNN covered a story where child psychologist Margaret Spencer conducted a study with elementary school children which involved asking both White children and Black children a series of questions having to do with skin tone. Her results showed that both White and Black children exhibited “White bias”. What does this say about our Black children’s learning experience?
Picture this: a high-achieving Black student attends a predominantly-White grade school. Maybe they play a typically “White” sport too, like golf, and excel in academics. Especially at a young age, their Black friends who go to majority-Black schools tease them by saying they “act White” or are too “proper”. Too often, these students associate an action, such as making good grades, with “Whiteness,” causing them to look down upon their own Black companions.
This type of subliminal messaging manifests itself in many of their actions; one might say they would never date a Black person, or join more typically “White activities”, such as Greek organizations in college. They might even think common Black names sound “ghetto.”
“These people go on their whole lives without realizing that by actively rejecting Black culture to accept another, they are demonstrating that they are ashamed of themselves.”
A prime example of this is the view Black men have on Black women. The largest portion of antagonizers of Black women’s beauty is Black men. Many Black men view Black women as intimidating or that they hold Black men more accountable than other races; these qualities have turned into negative attributes on Black women and in some cases are the driving factors in many Black men’s adverse feelings towards Black women. This trend is evident in Black relationships; Black men marry White women at twice the rate of black women. One man discusses his journey from having an infatuation, or even obsession with White women, or just non-Black women to acknowledging his self-hate . At 20 years of age, this man is now coming to the realization that by praising lighter-skinned women with “good hair”, he has been putting down his own thick, coarse hair, along with other Black features.
Why do you think that is? From a young age, Black children are taught that beautiful women come in lighter skin tones. These ideals are reinforced in everyday life. #TeamLightSkin is a detrimental phrase that has been adopted by the Black community where fairer skin-toned Black women are placed on a higher pedestal that darker women. The phrase “White girls are evolving” being used to describe a fuller-bodied White woman implies that with the same thick thighs and bust for which Black women were ridiculed, White women are the total package. This, in itself, is a form of self hate that most people exhibit without realizing.
All of this is not to say that all Black Americans have to associate only with one another, share political views, or remain exclusively “loyal” to the Black community. Instead, it tells us to support our own community before turning our backs on it for another.