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This discrimination has historical roots — during slavery, lighter-skinned black people often worked in the house, while darker-skinned black people were relegated to work in the fields.
The exact racial makeup of my mother's side of the family cannot be effectively traced due to slavery.
Believe it or not, slave owners didn't exactly document where their slaves were coming from, and history-erasing of slaves was definitely a thing, too.
It is clear that we have substantial Native Indian blood in our family, and on my dad's side there is Scottish blood that stems from a handsy slave-trader generations ago.
During the summers in my tween years, I would pile on several layers of SPF and avoid the sun as if vitamin D was a poison that would inevitably kill me.
While my classmates laid out in the sun, desperately trying to bronze their bodies, I found myself trying to do the opposite.
Sun damage was not my concern, and skin cancer hadn't even entered my vocabulary.
I avoided the sun because I knew that as soon as my skin started to darken, I would inevitably be on the receiving end of jokes such as "Oh, sorry I couldn't see you because it's night time." Those jokes about my skin were a dime a dozen during my childhood in a predominantly white environment.
My blood has many shades of brown in it — my mother and several of her sisters would be considered "light-skinned" and many of her brothers have darker chocolate skin tones; my father seems to be one of the few medium-skinned folks on his side of the family, with most of the women and men being lighter shades of brown.
Before I understood colorism and even before I fully understood racism, I envied my lighter cousins and the looser curls that flowed so easily down their backs, moving with the wind.
Media outlets have long been accused of using Photoshop to lighten darker-skinned folks in order to make them more appealing to the masses.
During Obama's first run for president, sources audaciously pointed out that our first black president was a light-skinned man, suggesting that he may not have been elected or had the same opportunities to be elected if he were darker-skinned.