On TV, dark-skinned Black women are often portrayed as aggressive or antagonistic. This is a problem that causes real-life pain.

Prejudice against those with darker skin has plagued the Black community for centuries.

During American chattel slavery, slaves with lighter skin were assigned domestic tasks while slaves with darker skin were tasked with work outside in the fields and often subjected to more strenuous work.

Though in different forms, colorism continues to plague the Black community today.

Netflix’s “Dear White People,” for example, has lead character Samantha White played by Logan Browning, a light-skinned woman, whereas the presumed antagonist of the show, Coco Conners, is portrayed by Antoinette Robertson, a dark-skinned woman. This negative portrayal of people they identify with often leads to complex issues in identity and self-esteem.

This perceived “lack of femininity” strips dark skin women of their freedom to be themselves without facing such harassment.

This association of dark skin and masculinity harbors a host of complex issues regarding self-identity within dark-skinned women.

From a young age, dark-skinned Black girls grow with few to no positive representations of herself in the media she consumes.

Often times if there is a dark-skinned character, they’re written with a stereotypical identity which paints them to be aggressive or antagonistic.

This further drives the notion that they are less desirable because of their dark skin. Colorism has plagued dark-skinned women all over the world for far too long. It is time for society to recognize having darker skin is not a burden.

Extracts from a North Texas Daily article (original). Published 15 October 2020.

Further reading

The Perceived Masculinity of the Black Woman by Renée Cherez (25 October 2019)

No Longer Invisible: Understanding the Psychosocial Impact of Skin Color Stratification in the Lives of African American Women by J. Camille Hall (May 2017)

The Angry black woman stereotype (Wikipedia entry)