If you say “She’s Cute to be Dark-Skinned”…

She’s a pretty dark-skinned girl, or anything remotely close to that,

STOP THAT SHXT!!!! RIGHT NOW! Oh, did I offend you? For me, I’m not even going to try to intellectualize the subject! I said what I said…and there it is!

Welcome to Day 2 of the 2nd 7 Day Mini Blog Challenge Party!
Today’s Prompt – Controversial Post

Yesterday, I did a commercial!  Several of you joined in and others chose the alternate topic of Blogger confessions! Thanks so much to everyone for participating! I love the mingling that’s going on within the party 🙂 !

If you say She's Cute to be Dark-Skinned - Rx Fitness Lady

These comments can seriously have an affect on the mental health of little girls growing up!

My girl Andrea (a cheerful #MBC party participant) wrote a more intellectual post on the subject of “colorism” back in April. It actually inspired me to post too.

If you really want to get into this issue and view a healthy discussion, read this post from  Black Voices.

If you want research on the affect skin color has in the African American community, then check out this study “The Skin Color Paradox and the American Racial Order“.

All I want you to do, is remove phrases like the title of this post from your vocabulary, please & thanks!

I posted this status & picture to Facebook….

If You Say "She's Cute to be Dark-Skinned"

CONTROVERSIAL BLOG RESEARCH: Am I dark skin, dark brown, or brown skin in your eyes? I gave the young one for comparison purposes. 

All nationalities feel free to respond, your answers are all welcome!

Most people (I think anyway) were uncomfortable answering the question so they just gave sweet comments.

*****You see, when talking to black people, there seems to be a huge controversy over what is Dark and light skin and everything in between. ****

I decided to use myself as a test! I figured this #MBC party was the perfect time to throw this “mental health” topic at you!

Here are the replies…

Cute to be Dark-skinned

I am fine with whatever people see with their on eyes!

What I’m not ok with, is people acting like certain shades of color eliminate one from the category of beauty.

Beauty should not surprise you no matter what shade of color a human being is. 

If you call me black a*s, dark this, dark that….I’m likely to throw some SHADE (in the words of Nellie) or give you my (word that rhymes with itchy) rest face in the words of Veronica!

My blog friend Meredith recently had a random stranger tell her she was EXTREMELY white!  What the what???  So it’s not just my own people with tactless comments! It makes absolutely no sense to me!


Rx Fitness Lady wants to know…

  • For fun, will you answer my Facebook question? Am I Dark, Dark-brown, or brown skinned in your eyes?
  • If you are comfortable, tell me what shade you see yourself as?
  • If you are another race other than black and you witness some form of “colorism”, please share.
  • What is a subject that you feel very strongly about that is controversial? 


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Rx Fitness Lady

Greetings, I'm Joi, a Pharmacist with a passion for fitness & a community leader. I teach BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, Tabata Boot Camp, & serve as a mentor to young girls. My goal is to inspire people to live healthy, active, & prosperous lifestyles through practical blog posts deliveries. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram. You can view more post and subscribe to stay tuned to latest updates at Rx Fitness Lady.

40 thoughts on “If you say “She’s Cute to be Dark-Skinned”…

  1. I would describe you as dark skinned. My husband is dark skinned. I describe myself as brown skinned and my dad as light skinned. Christopher just started using these descriptions as well. It was really sweet for the time period that all black people were brown and white people were “tannish”. There’s a Christopherism in the first book where he asked me why he was white when he was born and how did he get so brown.

    What is a subject that you feel very strongly about that is controversial? Race (how black people are treated in regards to hiring, shopping, being)
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted…My CELLPHONE is better than yours…My Profile

  2. Ok, first of all, I had to scroll back UP to your picture and then I’m trying to scrutinize what shade of “dark” you are and I’m thinking “what the heck am I doing?” ha ha ha!!! OMG I guess you’re just brown!! I get this stuff ALL the time!!! People have NO clue what my ethnicity is and people always just start speaking Spanish to me!!! Um, no hable espanol!!! I’m Cuban and Italian and have “dark” skin and more times then I care to remember, people have asked me “what are you?” Um, human??? Great topic. Great post!!!
    Allie recently posted…Boob Job Anyone?My Profile

  3. My first answer was that your skin color is brown, but I prefer Veronica’s fb answer – you are the color beautiful. I see myself as beige – no one is truly white or black, we are all shades in between. Great topic, Joi. I took the easy way out on a controversial topic today, but one I feel strongly about is religious intolerance. I get that an individual or group may believe that their religion is the right one, but would God really condone hate and violence towards other human beings that don’t hold the same beliefs? I don’t think so.
    Dana recently posted…Where do you stand on the important issues?My Profile

  4. This is a really timely post given the whole controversy with Miss America. We are still really set on skin color and what that inevitably must mean. To be honest, it’s not something I spend that much time thinking about. I don’t really go around classifying people as dark or brown or light or anything. I’m more interested in where did you grow up? What do you do for a living? How can I connect with you?
    FitBritt@MyOwnBalance recently posted…Life as an Introvert (And Why I Think You’re One Too!)My Profile

  5. While I still stand by my first answer, I think you are brown skinned. I think I am olive skin.
    Most of my heritage is comprised of hispanic blood lines. But as I’ve mentioned before, my father’s grandmother was African American. I think the form of colorism that I have experienced has come when I’ve mentioned this portion of my heritage. I’ve gotten looks like “You don’t look African American.” I’ve gotten the side eye if I happen to mention it or the crazy looks when I participated in my schools African American Honors Society. I participated in the hispanic clubs as well. But there were people(of various races, African Americans included) that inititially made it seem that the African Amerian clubs were not where I belonged because I didn’t look black enough.
    veronica recently posted…Controversial IssuesMy Profile

  6. Colour beautiful. Period. I’m sorry you have to put up with so much crap. But, I think sometimes people say things without realizing (hard to believe, but I give them the benefit of the doubt) how hurtful or IGNORANT they can be. So, you need to educate. And you do. Hopefully they will learn and change.
    leah recently posted…Sharing Our Story Part 2My Profile

  7. When I talk about our skin I never say black or white, Its always chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, butter pecan (rican!), or vanilla. I always had such issues with my skin growing up but thank goodness that is in the past. I loved every single thing about this post friend!
    Nellie recently posted…Nautilus Sweat In The City EventMy Profile

  8. Oh I don’t want to get me started, Joi. But I will.

    As a dark-skinned woman with a lighter brown skinned mother, I would have people actually walk up to my mother and ask if I was her child. And then there were those who would tell her that she has a “cute lil’ darkie.” I still go grrrrrrrr when I think about it. What’s dark got to do with it?

    Conversely, there was this guy who asked my mom if she was sure my brother was my father’s child because when he was a baby, Chris was very light-skinned. My father was darker than me.

    I wrote about the whole color thing two months ago in a guest post, http://bit.ly/173xfCS. Gets me riled up even thinking about it.

    *steps off soapbox*

    You are a beautiful chocolate woman, Joi. So am I. I know, self-praise is no recommendation. 😉

    Love the post, and in Deidra Riggs’ words, thanks for “going there.”
    Alison recently posted…I made a video!My Profile

  9. Quite honestly, I’ve never looked at people and seen color (even here on the internet). Every picture/video I’ve seen of you I just think you are gorgeous. I’m the same with age – for me, I hate when someone says I look good for my age – why do we need the qualifications of race, age or any other thing?!
    Kim recently posted…A Gift to MyselfMy Profile

  10. I am going to describe you as a beautiful black women that is all. I grew up in a city where black people and lightskin people didn’t get along we had racism in our own community. My mom didn’t want me to be too black growing up because she felt I would not get opportunities or get a man because of my skin color. I now understand because that is how she grew up so she passed it on not knowing better. I don’t see color we all have red blood running through our veins
    Kita recently posted…You are not the only bloggerMy Profile

  11. Growing up the descriptions I was familiar with were dark skinned, brown skinned, and light skinned. I think the references are a cultural thing and generational thing. My father and sister are brown skinned, my mother is light skinned like me but even more so. Many people think my mother is white. She and my father faced many challenges when trying to find a home in the ’70s in Louisiana. Apartment was available when my mother spoke with landlords, but when my father showed up–it miraculously had no vacancy. My father also refuses to call himself African-American. He just doesn’t agree with it.

    I get very pissed off when people ask me “are you sure you’re not part white or part Indian” or “are you sure you don’t have white people (or Indian) in your family”? People are bold and nosey. What do you mean “am I sure”? I also can’t stand when people assume that I have never dealt with racism because I am light skinned. Like I have it easy or something. Simply not true. When I was at LSU, I took a Spanish class and this white girl (who I had never met) leaned over to me and said, “This class should be easy for you.” Confused, I asked why.” She said, “Because you’re Spanish.” When I set her straight and told her I was black, it was her turn to be confused. A few minutes later, she leaned over again and said, “You mean your father AND your mother are black?” YEAH!

    Recently, Deuce (who is brown skinned to me, but that has been debated by friends and family :)) started referring to dark skinned black kids as “brown”. It startled me, because I wasn’t certain where he picked that up from. First it was when he was watching The Cosby Show a few weeks ago. He initially would confuse Rudy with Olivia because the shows were being aired out of sequence. Then one day, he said “That’s not her (Olivia) because she’s brown”. Just two days ago he recalled spending time with a little boy this summer and when he couldn’t remember his name, he said “that brown boy”. I realized he was referring to the son of one of my husband’s co-workers. I told Deuce that he was brown TOO and should refer to people by their name. Or by their gender (that girl or that boy) if he can’t remember their name. He’s 6 and I didn’t want to get too deep with him.

    In my eyes, you are dark skinned like my husband. And black is beautiful, girl! Great thought-provoking post. Had to link up mine about my struggle with revealing to my readers that I’m a Black Catholic Convert who voted for Obama.
    Kimberly H. Smith recently posted…The Real WAHM of South LouisianaMy Profile

  12. Hey Joi,
    I HATE when people are eliminated from the category of beauty because of their skin complexion. This is good stuff and I like the research you performed on yourself. It really saddens me, that we are still stuck on this light skin, dark skin, black girl thing in society. Unfortunately, this is defined by what is considered beauty from the media.

    Carica recently posted…I be like, why our kids talk like that: Why do black children get a pass to speak improperlyMy Profile

  13. How did I miss that FB post? Anyway, I’d describe you as “brown” skin (like myself). My hubs is “dark” and when we were younger, two of my sisters were “light” skinned. (I guess years of sun exposure moved darkened their complexion) I see color, but not when it comes to beauty. When you’re almost always the minority, you tend to notice when there’s someone else with the same color. I never stereotype or prejudge people. People are people. You have the good, bad, and indifferent in any shade.
    It really sickens me when people say things like you’re cute to be dark (although not aimed at me) or Oh, you’re very articulate, (as if they expected something else).

    Great controversial topic. I wish things were different with race issues…
    Hope recently posted…The high price of health: paying more does not mean getting moreMy Profile

  14. Ohhh this DOES make me uncomfortable…so I’m not gonna talk about you but talk about my daughter instead…
    My ex husband is part Native American and has very dark skin and my oldest daughter inherited his skin tone. I am asked about her ethnicity all the time – especially when she has a tan on top of her normal color.

    Personally, I think all and any colors are beautiful – especially when there is a beautiful soul inside that beautiful face.
    ilene recently posted…TangledMy Profile

  15. i can see this being such a big topic to be debated. it really would be great to get offline and talk about this with my tribe! a ‘friend’ of mine who is a very pretty filipino girl said to me once, “you look very filipino. you look like a typical filipino girl.” i was like, are you trying to underhandedly tell me to my face that i’m ugly. argh! i just walked away i was so mad.

    my friend had a conversation with her black coworker and he was telling her how his girlfriend is half black/half white. my friend blurted, “oh she must be really pretty!” and he got so angry with her. personally, i don’t get the mixed race thing and how that’s perceived as beautiful, but a lot of people do, so i didn’t really see anything wrong with my friend’s comment. but it clearly disturbed her coworker.

  16. I don’t understand this! I was always told to look at someone’s heart… not their appearance. This goes beyond colour of skin, it delves into seeing people as people. Beautiful heart = beautiful person.

    I know I’m newish to your blog but from what I’ve read and seen, I can say my answer is – you’re beautiful inside and out.

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom recently posted…Blind In LifeMy Profile

  17. Girl! This is another one of those topics that run me hot. There were two things my parents were not having….saying that a person has good hair or referencing complexion in relation to beauty. Beauty come is all shapes sizes and colors. The sooner people accept that the better off the world will be.
    Veronica recently posted…Oh I Didn’t Mean it Like That……My Profile

  18. You are beautiful-skinned. I don’t think I’d even know how to answer or even think about what shade of brown or not brown you or anyone is!
    I’m fair-skinned. A little pink. And I’m just telling that from a photography standpoint. It’s a fact. I have stared at my own skin in photoshop and used the brush tool and I know I’m a little pink! I have a lot of topics that get me insane. Gay rights is one.
    Tamara recently posted…Safe and Sound.My Profile

  19. Girl!!!! Now you already know how I feel about this type of foolery. I don’t find it to be complimentary or acceptable. In my eyes you are 1) pretty 2) smart 3) ambitions and 4) brown skinned. One of the four don’t really matter. I also consider myself to be brown skinned. I’m sure there are others who consider me dark skinned. I am fine with either. My controversial topic I feel strongly about is below.
    Andrea recently posted…I Choose to Only Buy Brown Dolls for My Brown Skinned DaughterMy Profile

  20. I adore this post. My daughter is what some may call “darker skinned” and I almost went to jail when a lady told me she was “cute to be dark skinned” *insert nasty side eye and mean words* What upset me is that it implies that dark skinned people cant be cute???!!!!
    Toya recently posted…You Do Not Know My Struggle!!!!!!My Profile

  21. Who the heck cares anyway. You are gorgeous. My husband comes from a Middle Eastern / Italian heritage and he has olive tone skin. Two of my boys are fair like me, but my daughter has a darker complexion more like my husband. There are about a zillion shades of us out there.
    On another note, I hope my post counts as controversial…it’s on dealing with unwanted parenting advice. If you don’t think it fits, Joi, feel free to take it down.
    Michelle recently posted…How To Handle Unsolicited Parenting AdviceMy Profile

  22. I’m not going to lie, answering the question makes me totally uncomfortable. I think when it comes to things like this (whether it be your skin color, the size of your nose, the color of your hair, etc.) each person has a way of describing their appearance that they are comfortable with and other things that would be crossing the line. For example, I really don’t like it when people say my hair is red. But for the sake of answering your question, I would say you are dark skinned. Now I will pray (and I’m so not joking) that that has not offended you because appearance is never what defines a person. It is their character that defines them. With that being said, I am freaking white as snow and would love at least some color. Normally that color is red if I get any sun at all.

    My second cousin is black and as I mentioned on Carica’s blog we live in a white community. A couple of years ago (when A was only about 5 or 6) the teacher was playing a game with the kids. She would separate them out by things like matching colors and stuff and then ask the kids how they were alike and how they were different. At one point the teacher (who had NOT used physical characteristics up to this point) put A in a group by herself and asked why A was different. None of the kids knew why and the teacher said “because she’s black!” I’ve never wanted to hurt someone so bad in my life. Why would anyone do that? I just don’t understand people like this and I won’t ever forget that this happened to A because it’s just so horrible. I’d never want to make someone feel the way this teacher made A feel, whether a child or an adult.
    Carla recently posted…Truncate HateMy Profile

  23. I never even knew that there was discord in the African American community about these things until one of my co-workers told me about it years ago. Then again, my husband is part hispanic, and his father has told me about how the people in his native country are often viewed as different classes based on the tone of their skin.

    My opinion is that it really doesn’t matter. All skin tones have their own beauty.
    Leslie recently posted…Throw {Almost} All Parenting Advice Out the Window!My Profile

  24. Pingback: Dealing with Parenting Advice from Strangers | A Dish of Daily Life

  25. Oh man! Is that not the most IGNORANT thing you can hear! I actually had a church member tell me…for a dark skinned woman you sure are beautiful! I was thinking to myself…WTW!? I must let you know, she was a dark-skinned woman herself…go figure Joi! Sounded like she had some image issues of her own. I’m like that’s your problem deary, don’t throw your foolishness my way! Anywho, as she fumbled over her words trying to explain what she ACTUALLY meant, I just gave her a smile/side eye and walked away! Some people lack tact I guess! Lol! My family consist of a rainbow of colors and I can truly say, we all see each other ONE way…B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L! Thanks for sharing this Joi!
    Michell recently posted…Doing YOU WELL Wednesday #33My Profile

  26. This is a very interesting challenge. I found it through Dana’s funny post on her blog Kiss My List. The topic you mentioned about dark skin is very controversial. I have a cousin who had a Facebook post where he had a caption of rappers making comments about disliking or never wanting to mess with a dark skinned girl. I told him people don’t even consider me dark skinned and that makes me mad. I’m actually considered light skinned and black. I don’t identify with those terms because like most Americans I’ve learned a little bit about of the cultures in my family from family reunions…to say I’m Afican American for me is untrue. I know some pure Africans who will argue with me because some feel that’s not true because they say we all come from Africa. Not even 4 generations before me has come directly from Africa so I just refuse to identify with that. Most people don’t understand this so for the sake of not causing confusion I never explain this or correct people. :).

    New follower of yours on social media and bloglovin 🙂
    Brittnei recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Daddy’s Best FriendMy Profile

  27. I think you and Amber are both stunning! To hell with people who don’t know beauty when they see it just because the person’s skin doesn’t match their own. In my book, to be narrow-minded is to lose out on all the beauty that can be found outside of your so-called comfort zone!

  28. Joi, Such an interesting topic that I has swirled about my circles but never planted it’s foot on the ground out of the sheer controversy that surrounds it.

    To answer your question, I think you are brown skinned… and I too am brown skinned. Just different shades of brown.

    It’s so funny that I remember not wanting to be called light-skinned, red or yellow growing up because it was often used by peers to make me feel like I was trying to be “stuck up”. As a matter of fact many people who had never engaged in any form of communication with me personally but “knew of me”, after getting to know me, eventually felt comfortable enough to admit to me that they thought that I was “stuck up” when in fact that is far from the truth. So I would always attempt to separate my self from the term “light-skinned” just to prove I was not “stuck up”.
    One thing I did want to bring up as a sidebar is how often I see women of color wearing inappropriate cosmetics in an attempt to appear of a fairer complexion, make up contact light hair… I never understood it but I feel like this issue promotes a sense of self hatred among many women of color.
    This is such interesting topic I love the various responses too!

    You and your sister have always been beautiful ladies…

  29. I am in total agreement with you. This happens with Indian people too. The fairer ones are pretty while the darker ones get – oh she has nice features. Someone mentioned the other day that Miss America wouldn’t have won in India because she’s dark skinned. That’s totally true. And it’s BS. White, Black, Fair, Dark Skinned, if you’re pretty, you’re pretty!
    Renita recently posted…CrossFit FeverMy Profile

  30. I don’t think I’ve noted the shade of a person’s skin, mainly because there are so many shades from light to dark. I have no idea if you are dark or light or medium. Compared to what? The answer could be different depending on who you are standing next to. The real question is why do we care?

    And, yes, I’ve been called extremely pale before.
    another jennifer recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: A Child’s PerspectiveMy Profile

  31. I love this post Joi!! I agree with your Facebook friend you are the color beautiful, as we all are!! No matter our ethnicity, it should not define us! My father was subject to descrimination due to his ethnicity and always taught me growing up to be proud of your heritage, own it! No matter if it is red, white, black, or purple!! It matters not, noone is greater than the other! We are all God’s children ALL OF US!! You are a dark, brown, Beautiful black woman!! You are you… not by the makeup of your skin color! People’s ignorance or lack of knowing what they are really saying kills me sometimes! Thanks for sharing Joi! ~Leah~

  32. I love how I feel like I hear you talking to me when I read your posts! Lol. This is such a great topic. I’d say you are brown skin…and I am brown skin too if I haven’t had ANY sun. I tan very easily, so it it rare that I am without a little extra color. I used to hate when people used to say all those “darker the berry, the sweeter the juice” jokes too back in the day.
    Kimberly {Manifest Yourself} recently posted…Journey to Wellness 9.18My Profile

  33. Joi,
    First of all, thanks for the shout-out on my recent post. I was like, “Hey! She’s talking about ME! I’M Meredith!” LOL! But, you’re right, forget 50 Shades of Grey. How about 50 shades of black? And 50 shades of white? Apparently, if you’re not the “right” shade, people have something to say about it. My best friend of 22 years is African American, and she has mentioned once or twice the comments she’s gotten for being darker skinned (by African American males). It irritates me. And then I’m on the complete end of the spectrum – I’m so white I’m CLEAR. 🙂 I really have learned to embrace it and not get hung up on it, but I wish people wouldn’t use skin color as an INSULT. I really can’t believe the things people will say. This is a great post, and once again you’ve opened up a very interesting dialogue that we all need to participate in. Great blogging.

    Meredith recently posted…You Won’t BEE-lieve it! **Plus A Reveal**My Profile

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