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"I Don't Normally Date Dark-Skin Men": Colorism in the Black Gay Community

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"I don't normally date dark-skin men, but you are hot." Okay so, am I supposed to say thank you? Should I be pleased that I am the exception to your rule, driven undoubtedly by self-loathing? Should I feel relieved that perhaps to you, my not too big nose, my not so large lips, and my not that kinky hair all make up for my very dark skin? Well, your self-hating ways do not excite me, and I am not thrilled to have slipped through your ignorant cracks.

Colorism is real, and it hopscotches all over my nerves! Being a black gay man is already quite difficult when considering all of the antagonists at play, including racism both outside and within the gay community, along with homophobia within and outside of the black community. The added challenge of dealing with colorism within the black gay community itself is enough to make a brotha want to bring the gay version of "School Daze" to Broadway.

Please note that I have had variations of this extremely idiotic "compliment" hurled at me on more than several occasions. Every time that it happens, I am reminded that I abhor the idea of being an exception. Congratulations, you're dark, but good-looking! Well, what if I was dressed differently, would that change things? Being an exception is a dangerous thing because it becomes sort of a balancing act. It's that mixture of not being exactly what people expect so that you stand out and at the same time being just enough so that you are identifiable. I am not interested; I prefer being exceptional. Yes, there's a difference.

Colorism happens when people of color discriminate against one another. It often boils down to the belief that the lighter your skin tone, the prettier you are, smarter you are, more successful you are and the easier you have it. According to author Marita Golden, colorism is "the most unacknowledged and unaddressed mental health crisis in communities of color around the world."

-- Oprah

I have never had an issue with being dark-skin, but as I got older, I began to realize that there are a hell of a lot of people who do. I have heard from family members, friends, and perfect strangers about their love of lighter skin. I usually make this discovery after asking them to describe their ideal man or woman. They call it their "preference." I despise that word. I loathe the fact that hundreds of years of physical and mental enslavement, lies, mass manipulation, and marketing can all be perfectly gift-wrapped and presented back to me as "preference." I am not buying it.

There is something so profound about the notion that someone would have a preference or an uncompromising attraction for an image so unlike his or her own reflection. What is that mirror saying to us when we're looking directly into the face of our every insecurity? How does our confidence measure up against the images of the accepted standard of beauty we've consumed over the years when they're void of darker hues? So, we could chalk it up to wanting something different, but we know that's a lie. I hate lies.

I look for extraordinary qualities in a man. I don't give two flying shits about what color you are. Who has time for that with all of the psychopaths we have to eliminate to get to the sane ones? Hell, I may wind up with a nice alien if he has plans on settling down and having a family. I don't see color that way, boo!

I am going to plan a trip to Aruba, so I can get a tan.

Check out this video of "Good & Bad Hair" From School Daze: