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Once my eyes were open to a world of colorism outside the black community, thanks to online dating, it was incredibly hard not to notice the colorism within my community.Since I opened my eyes to colorism that constantly surrounds me, I've learned these five truths.As I looked through the long list of acceptable ethnicities on a potential mate's profile, my heart would sink when my race was left off his list of racial preferences.This was something that I was no stranger to with white men — although I still found it shocking to be in a place as culturally open as NYC and still only want to date someone your own race — but I was shocked to see that black men were not always open to dating black women.
Before I understood colorism and even before I fully understood racism, I envied my lighter cousins and the looser curls that flowed so easily down their backs, moving with the wind.Sun damage was not my concern, and skin cancer hadn't even entered my vocabulary.I avoided the sun because I knew that as soon as my skin started to darken, I would inevitably be on the receiving end of jokes such as "Oh, sorry I couldn't see you because it's night time." Those jokes about my skin were a dime a dozen during my childhood in a predominantly white environment.Media outlets have long been accused of using Photoshop to lighten darker-skinned folks in order to make them more appealing to the masses.
During Obama's first run for president, sources audaciously pointed out that our first black president was a light-skinned man, suggesting that he may not have been elected or had the same opportunities to be elected if he were darker-skinned.Believe it or not, slave owners didn't exactly document where their slaves were coming from, and history-erasing of slaves was definitely a thing, too.It is clear that we have substantial Native Indian blood in our family, and on my dad's side there is Scottish blood that stems from a handsy slave-trader generations ago.I had never been too shy to make the first move and, since there is nothing to lose with online dating, I wasn't shy about messaging more boys more often. But then I began reading beyond the funny "what people notice first about you" blurbs.