At one point or another people have heard clichÃ©s and myths about shades of the black race like: “The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice”; “she’s pretty for a dark skinned girl”; “all light-skinned girls are conceited”; “light-skinned guys are out” and don’t forget about the brown paper bag policy.
Tonight the National Council of Negro Women will be hosting a seminar called “Sister Dark, Sister Light.”
The forum will examine the impact of intraracial discrimination in the black community.
“We’ve come a long way, but people are still prejudiced,” said Ihsaana Gay, NCNW chairperson of Dorothy I. Height team. “How can we as African-Americans move on?”
“We are going to be talking about something real, something we’re still experiencing today,” said Gay, 22, a business administration student from Atlanta.
Various topics will be discussed including the origin of intraracial discrimination and the Willie Lynch theory.
Willie Lynch, a British slave owner, is notably credited for giving a speech addressing American slave owners on how to keep their slaves under control.
Lynch outlined a number of differences between slaves including age, “color” or shade and gender.
He predicted that the black slave would become self re-fueling and self-generating for hundreds of years.
“You must use the dark skin slaves vs. the light skin slaves and the light skin slaves vs. the dark skin slaves,” reads an excerpt from Lynch’s speech.
“I think racism within the black race stems from people who are not accepting of themselves, therefore they’re not accepting of others like them,” said Conrod Kelly, 20, a junior business student from Miami.
“It all goes back to the house slave versus the field slave. Animosity towards members of your own race is a characteristic passed down from one generation to another. It’s another form of self-hate.”
Other student organizations have addressed intraracial discrimination.
For example, WANM’s Saturday morning show and “That’s Debatable,” a student-produced talk show, have both discussed the topic.
Dating and skin color, another issue on NCNW’s agenda, was one of the main reasons Gay decided to organize the seminar.
She said that a male approached a friend of hers, who happens to have dark skin, and after she acted uninterested, he asked, “Why you got to act all light-skinned?”
Gay and others questioned his statement.
NCNW will also address color preferences for dating, conformity to European beauty standards and learning to appreciate who you are no matter the shade of the skin.