Productively teaching black children about colorism
When I found out my cousin favored light-skinned women
This post was originally published on Medium on October 30, 2019.
“I only like light-skinned girls with long hair and light eyes,” my cousin told me while he munched on McDonald’s.
Up until that moment, I’d only been plotting three goals for our weekend hangout: talk him into eating my vegetarian meals instead of all junk food and takeout; make sure he completed all of his homework; and tutor him in areas that he was struggling in — minus math because that is not my area of expertise.
But tackling colorism was not on the menu. His comment caught me off-guard, primarily because his mother is a caramel complexion and his grandmother is my complexion. I’d never really given much thought into who he was dating. I was so relieved that he’d grown out of being that bad-ass kid who broke everything and was always in trouble. His love life was not something I even knew existed. But he was a teenager, so of course I should’ve known that was a high priority on his list.