Photo credit: Doug Mills/New York Times
With pictures of more diverse shades of black women in the media and mentions of doll studies with children, I decided to research. I learned about Kenneth and Mamie Clark’s experiments on racial biases. I also found Anderson Cooper’s videos on doll studies and how children view race. The results pointed to the idea that the lighter the skin, the better person you are. You are also admired more and treated fairly by all.
Now this topic crossed my mind a couple of years back. I was concerned because three of my boys have lighter skin, two are Honey Teddy Gram brown, and one is milk chocolate. I would like to think that they are treated equal, as whites are, but know that they may not. But within that blanket of inequality (of which I HATE to admit this unfortunate truth), are they treated any better or worse because of the shades of their skin? There was no way for me to know except to ask them.
That was great news! I was so relieved. But there was still one more son to survey; the Free Spirit. He explained:
“College it doesn’t matter because we are all different shades of the same color. In high school, everyone is different and teachers only worry about scores. The stereotype is that white students are smarter than black students. With that type of thinking, the darker you are, the dumber you are. Only thing that saved me was my transcripts and my people skills. Even then, people thought I was skipping class and doing other types of unproductive things.”
I never knew that he was dealing with this in high school. I apologized to him and told him that his skin is beautiful and always has been. His response, “Thanks. I’m starting to see it.” Just to know that he has gone his whole life with those negative influences broke my heart. To think that other darker-shaded young males and men possibly go their whole lives, without any positive feedback, made me feel even worse. Further research took me to an article discussing the bias related to intelligence and skin shade and the actual study.