I Refuse To Call Myself 'Light-Skinned'

07/29/2013 12:35 pm ET | Updated Sep 28, 2013
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The Frisky

When you grow up in a relatively small town in suburban New Jersey, being the only person of color in your class, you'd understand why I had no idea that other members of my race consider me "light-skinned." Where I grew up, there was no such thing. You were either black, white, Spanish or Indian. No one paid much attention to the shade of your skin or where your blackness/whiteness originated -at least not in my circle. You only cared about what you saw. Sure, some racism and stereotyping existed, but there was no in-depth analysis or scrutiny about the shade of your skin.

In some ways that method was great. It erased the turmoil experienced by many other African-Americans and allowed everyone to just be accepted for who they were. On the other hand, my peers and I were ill-prepared for the real world. We grew up a bunch of colorblind individuals who believed in treating everyone equally regardless of historical implications and racial indifferences. We were ignorant.

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