Although these phrases originated long before Smith was born, her parents did their best to convince Smith that her black skin was beautiful. Smith, therefore, grew to view her chocolate skin as “a prized possession.”
“Because of the way that I was raised,” Smith says. “I was later shocked to realize that the entire world didn’t view my black skin as I did.”
But even after realizing about this reality, Smith was still convinced that black skin is beautiful.
“After all, millions of U.S citizens looked up to strong, dark and brown-skinned women like Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, and Barbara Jordan. And dark, beautiful women like Naomi Campbell and Beverly Johnson and Iman dominated the covers of the fashion magazines like ‘Vogue.’”
But as a mature woman, Smith acknowledges that today—as in the 1930s—being white is a “good” thing in this country.
On almost every economic measure, the whites fare better than Latinos and Blacks. Due to the wide racial wealth gap, even the educated Black families are less wealthy than their white counterparts.
Whites are more likely to be employed. And with easy employment opportunities, the whites can afford the homes in nicer neighborhoods.
Smith adds the privileges of whiteness extend beyond just bank accounts. The white skin’s less likely to produce “fear” in police officers.
The doctors are more apt to take the pains of white folks seriously. Also, white people don’t get followed around in the shopping stores (not suspected to steal.)
“Clearly, the color of your skin can influence several factors about one’s life,” Smith adds. “But while being white in America has real advantages, the problem isn’t skin color— rather racism.”
She explains. “Our society is founded on racism and continues to grant benefits based on skin color. Those who bleach are just but trying to have some of these privileges for themselves.”
Studies have shown that the whites have a clear preference for the “lighter-skinned” Black folks. Whites are more likely to consent higher “intelligence” to the lighter-skinned Blacks than the dark-skinned ones.
Whites are also more likely to hire the lighter-skinned Blacks and pay them even more.
“In short, the whites through their colorism, have worked to maintain this hierarchy among nonwhite communities by preferring some over others,” she continued. “That being the reality, some Black people will continue, bleaching their skin hoping to gain some of these privileges.”
“So, until racism and white privilege end, don’t expect skin bleaching to end.”