I got sent it in a group chat. That video circulating on Facebook. The one of teenage boys talking about the type of girls they like. It’s all seemingly harmless stuff at first glance – VanBanter, a popular young vlogger takes his camera across London, asking boys what type of girls they are into. Their eyes light up as they tell him: ‘obviously mixed race’; ‘light-skinned, big back, big tits’; ‘light-skins and Latinas’; ‘Coolie hair, no dark skins’; ‘curly hair, ’. And it goes on. Answer after answer; boy after boy, describing their light-skinned girl fetish.
There are several problems with this; several reasons why I didn’t send an obligatory ‘lol’ back. Firstly, many of the boys talking are dark-skinned. They unapologetically dismiss, disown and disrespect all dark-skinned black women in one fell swoop, arguably revealing a level of self-hate that is uncomfortable to watch.
Secondly, as a mixed-race woman, there’s a common misconception that this type of appreciation is somehow flattering. It’s not. Aggressive sexualisation of our bodies - whatever our race - never feels nice. The language used to describe women in this video both disrespects and dehumanises.
Thirdly, the contempt towards dark-skinned black women in this video can only further fuel rivalry between women of different shades, which we don’t need. I remember the hostility between the black girls and mixed-race girls in school, the constant ‘you think you’re too nice?’ comments. By the time I was 18 I had chopped off all my long curly hair and donned a uniform of tracksuits in an attempt to appear ‘more black’, less feminine and to avoid male attention. The fact that I thought being less feminine and more black went hand in hand is disturbing, but it’s an ideology that has permeated society for hundreds of years, rooted in the 18th Century Enlightenment period, when Scientists like David Hume proclaimed that black people were scientifically proven to be inferior to white people because they were more closely associated with physicality than the mind. This thinking still affects us today. A recent study found that mixed race is now considered the most ‘attractive’ race. Yes, it could indicate we now see beauty in all races combined, but more likely this indicates to that we are still adhering to this out-dated philosophy - that when it comes to black people, the closer to Europeans; the better.
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Originally published for Gal-Dem.com