And many of us darker skinned women notice this in the beauty community of youtube as well. The most popular youtubers are light skinned or white/white-skinned. The Black ones that have a VERY large following? Beautycrush, Andreaschoice, ShamelessMaya, ItsMyRayeRaye, etc? Mixed Black women with very light skin. And while I don’t wish to downplay their success, part of it is due to the fact that they’re skin tone isn’t so dark and their hair not THAT different from white people that white viewers THINK they can still get lots of tips from them. As apposed to darker skinned Black youtubers who white viewers think they can’t take any tips from them. Light skinned beauty vlogers are allowed to be a universal beauty while darker skinned Black vloggers are a niche that only one “small” group of viewers can enjoy.
The only exception I can think of is britpopprincess, who probably gets a pass because, well, she’s British. Considering how most Americans view English (not all the same, but you know what I mean) accents as “posh” and “sophisticated,” Patricia’s accent saves her from looking like a “ghetto, ratchet, Black American girl” and instead looks like a “classy” Black woman. A lot of Black women from England have noted that they are treated better in America than in the UK simply because their accents make people think they’re wealthy and sophisticated. I once saw interviews of a Black woman who couldn’t get non-stereotypical roles in England and moved to America where she’s always cast in roles playing intelligent and posh women.
I think that instead of getting defensive, you should have maybe done some research. With your platform, you could have really brought attention to the issue of colorism, not just on youtube, but in the media at large. There are lots of studies and documentaries (Dark Girls is a great place to START) that showcase the Western world’s preference for lighter skinned girls. And to see a rather prominent Black youtuber deny that, it’s frustrating.
Here’s the thing; you can’t help being privileged. And being privileged doesn’t erase your personal struggles, nor minimize your successes and all you had to overcome. No one is saying that. What that man was trying to say (though in a less academic way) is that some people are awarded more privileges than others. And because of it, it’s easier for them to navigate their way into certain avenues than others. It’s not a slight at your success to admit that you had it a bit easier than others. It’s not going to make your successes disappear just because you’re light skinned and privileged over darker skinned Black people.
But ignoring your privileges or getting defensive isn’t the way to go about it. If you don’t want your light skinned being looked at as the REASON for your success, then work on learning why light skin is a preference inside and outside of the Black community. And then do what you can to change it. That way, when you make it, you can honestly say your skin color had nothing to do with it and it was 100% on you. In a perfect world, that is the case. But in the real world, certain people are awarded certain privileges just for being born a certain way. That’s the world we live in. And ignoring it or getting mad when people who are less privileged than you in some way point our your privileges, isn’t going to change anything.
Also within the tweets, you can include discussion points about cultural appropriation. Start coming up with ideas and stuff now so you’ve got plenty to tweet about tomorrow afternoon. Our goals are: 1) Get the gross ass shirt pulled from Forever 21. 2) Spark a conversation about cultural appropriation.
Get excited. Get pumped. Let’s make a whole lot of noise. Reblog this a couple of times between now and then so come 4pm-ish tomorrow we’ll be ready to trend it all evening.
Less than five hours until we trend this. Remember: the hashtag is #fornever21. “West Coast Panthers” was a nickname for the West Coast wing of the Black Panther Party. Removing this symbol from its cultural context and marketing it to white teenagers as vintage and trendy is appropriative and gross. Can you imagine what they would do to a person of color if we were caught wearing the Black Panther logo?
Later tonight we’ll be posting a collection of our favorite #fornever21 tweets. Get excited!
SIGNAL BOOST BECAUSE FOREVER 21 IS ON SOME BULLSHIT (and the conversation around cultural appropriation is infinitely far from over, let’s be real here)
If any lesbian feels like a bisexual girl is a “traitor” for dating a guy or that a bisexual female character in fiction ceases to be a queer character unless she is presently dating a woman, then I’m going to need you to take your fucked up little insecurities and waltz your ass the fuck on out of my life.
As a little girl, I loved getting ready for Indian weddings. It was one of the few occasions my mom would let me wear her red lipstick. Right before we would leave she would call me into her room and let me pick out a bindi to wear to go along with my colorful lengha. Back then I only understood bindis as pretty sparkly celebratory stickers that would eventually slide around my sweaty forehead on the dance floor.
As I grew up more and more people informed me I was not really American, I was Indian, and not just Indian, I was “dot-not-feather-Indian.” I was mocked for that dot. People would put stickers on their foreheads, chant fake prayers, roll their eyes back and bobble their heads. “Look, I am Indian too.” Their ignorant fallacy of Indians was boiled down into that dot and burned into my skin.
One halloween my Mom and older brother were sweet enough to take me trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. I wore fairy wings and my brother had a Scream mask on. I remember my brother being embarrassed my Mom was wearing traditional Indian clothes, but I didn’t understand. Why were we allowed to wear silly costumes, but my Mom was not allowed to wear her real clothes? It started to get dark out and my Mom was worried, but I begged to stay out a little longer. As we rounded a neatly trimmed cul-de-sac a group of white boys on bikes slowed down. They began shouting things at us. Then they started pelting eggs at us. My brother ran after them and they took off. Later, he explained that they had been yelling at us for being Indian. For simply being. My Mom was silent the entire walk home.
In college, my first American boyfriend told me that when his friends found out I was dot-Indian they asked if my pussy tasted like gross curry. It made my face burn red and my eyes well up as I finally came to the understanding that despite being born and raised in New York I would forever be considered a foreigner to these people. It didn’t matter if I wore clothes like them or spoke like them. I will always be a dot.
If I were the same little girl who was just excited to wear lipstick to weddings I wouldn’t care about you wearing a studded bindi to your EDM concert, but being called shitskin really changes things. I have been branded with this dot since I was born, along with every stereotype it holds. My dot is not a fad for you to wipe off when you are done with it. You cannot pick and choose with parts of my culture you will welcome into America with open arms for fashion’s sake while still barricading my family out.
I’ll probably post about this one more time this weekend, after that I won’t mention it again. Cue some poorly-executed mystical hand waving here.
This is the other post I said I was going to do. And let me be clear, people are more than welcome to follow it, ask me about it, and acknowledge that you’ve seen it to me in person or otherwise. It’s totally fine.
I just made a separate place for me to talk about personal, emotional, and often nsfw things. Feel free to check it out, feel free to scroll on by.