Dating Myths: Light-Skin vs. Dark-Skin


As an African-American woman it is not my goal to perpetuate

Light-Skin Mythstereotypes within my culture, but as a dating blogger it is my responsibility to discuss all aspects of dating . The idea of this post derived from a conversation with a few of my girlfriends.  The conversation was about the difficulty in dating light-skin men.  Specifically my experience with dating light-skin men involved an arrogant and holier than thou attitude. It was a turn-off, and subsequently I avoided dating light skin men. Of course all light-skin men are not the same, but I reacted based on my dating experiences.  It was obvious my friend’s also reacted based on their few experiences dating light-skin men.  Hence why I call it the “light-skin myth.”  Ladies what are your thoughts?

And fellas what about light-skin women? Are light-skin women difficult to date?   I had the same conversation with two male colleagues, who had opposing views about light-skin women and the light-skin myth.  One colleague said light-skin women are in “high demand,” and act “snobbish.”  He further explained that most African-American men desire light-skin women which is why he stated light-skin women are in “high demand.”  My other colleague explained he prefers light-skin women because they don’t “have a chip on their shoulder like brown girls do.”  He continued to explain that “brown girls are always mad about something.”  This brings up another discussion entirely.  Maybe brown-skin women are difficult to date.  Now we have a brown-skin myth.  Fellas what are your thoughts?

Light-Skin Myth

The root of light-skin/dark-skin myths and issues date back to slavery.  I won’t delve into the history of light-skin/dark-skin issues, and would rather focus on the dating aspect of light-skin/dark-skin.  Playing devil’s advocate, there is another perspective about dating light-skin men and women.  Perhaps some dark-skin men and women do not feel comfortable or dare I say “worthy” of dating a light-skin man or woman. My friend once said “he’s light-skin so he probably has a lot of women coming at him; he’s not worried about me.”  The comment was said with such belief as she told me about a guy she liked.  Clearly light-skin men made her feel insecure and unworthy, and to no fault of light-skin men. It was her own personal issue. Similar to ignorant people who believe having a child by or with a light-skin person automatically produces pretty babies. Whaaaaaat???? It is the most absurd thing, but these beliefs exist.  Hence why I had to check myself on my issues with dating light-skin men.  It was wrong for me to categorize a selection of men because of a few bad experiences.  However, these myths continue to exist and I am interested to hear what your opinions and experiences are.

As mentioned before, this post is a result of conversations with friends and colleagues. This is not meant to judge or bully light-skin men and  women, or anyone for that matter. It is simply a conversation about dating, particularly within the African-American community.  Similar discussions arose after the documentary “Dark Girls” debuted on the OWN network.  After its debut I read a Facebook status from a guy who felt the documentary was a jab at light-skin women, and there was not enough conversation about the backlash light-skin women get in the African-American community.  Whatever the opinion, I hope to spark similar discussion and interests in a respectful manner as it relates to dating and relationships.  So what are your thoughts?

*Poll responses are anonymous*

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27 comments

    1. I prefer to date dark skin men because I don’t care what anyone else thinks about my choices. Some people in the Black community expects you to only be interested in light skinned men when you are dark skinned but that is not the case for me. I’m not afraid of being black or dark skinned. I was not afraid of what my children would look like when I married a dark skinned man, and when I had my children I had beautiful children. I think some Black people afraid to date someone who is darker than them because they are insecure with themselves and have low self esteem. Black is beautiful all by itself. Now i’m not saying that that Black is not beautiful on all fronts because it is, but you don’t have to look for acceptance with women who don’t look like your mother or sister because they are more beautiful than the women u feel you need on your arm. These women have raised you took care of you and had your back, why women like your mother or sister are not good enough for black men Is something I hope they will figure out and understand that all shades of Black people are beautiful. I love Black men, dark Black men.

  1. No elaboration, just being a jokester. However while reading I did realize something about myself. I prefer light skin women, but all my serious relationships have been with brown skin. Idk what that means tho

    1. Interesting… You should analyze what it is about light-skin women that make them a preference for you over dark-skin women. You should also think about your past serious relationships with dark-skin or brown-skin women, and what it was that made you want to commit to them. Skin color is just that, color, however your realization is something to ponder. Hmmmm…. Lol.

      1. What wrong with black people today i”m a Light skin brother nappy hair we all came from the same creator the most high,the creator did not make preference, that’s what wrong in the world today i have to fight all my childhood life because of my skin color, now age of 40 hard to date a dark skin women wont look my way ,judge by there character Love and respect its hard to come by Not by Color i wounder who worse, the black community or the Ku Klux Klan

  2. Some one else would have to pry if you think it’s something deep. Otherwise I think it’s just a coincidence. I said i prefer cuz when i look at the numbers they have a slight lead but when it comes down to it I don’t really have type I love all women #thatsmyfnproblem

  3. I’ve had bad experiences so I avoid them even though I am attracted. Most never approach me anyways but I give them dirty looks sometimes because of bad past experiences.

    I’m brown skin and dark skin men always seem to be the ones trying to holla. Even other races approach me but Not light skinned Black men smh

    1. Hi Chantel! I understand how past experiences affect our feelings on what’s happening presently. Something to consider though, if you are single, is to give it another try since you mention you are attracted to light-skin men. I wouldn’t suggest it if it weren’t a preference of yours at all, but if you are even remotely attracted I see no harm in seeing what the present day experience with light-skin men brings you. Only a suggestion, lol. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      1. Wow I didn’t know you replied, I was reading this article and didn’t even realize that I commented before!
        I still have the same issue of giving the guys I like dirty looks. Idk why it’s like an automatic defense mechanism! Like wtf, why can’t I be nice and normal like I am with guys I’m not attracted to??
        I think I’m even nicer to ugly men who try to talk to me while the good looking guy hasn’t said one word to me and I just roll my darn eyes.

        I’m glad I realized my problem. Hopefully I can fix it soon caz I wanna finally start dating seriously!

  4. l am a light skinned African-American woman and honestly, l would date dark skinned men. And l would date light skinned men. The man l fell in love with a light skinned man who told me he preferred being involved romantically with thin light skinned women with long hair which describes me. But yet as l fell in love with him. He fell in love with a woman the is physically the total opposite of what he told me his physical preference was. l have also shown interest in other light skinned men as well after him in many failed attempts to move on with my life only to discover those men did not take being involved with me seriously.
    While on the same note l have also dated and shown interest in dark skinned men as well, and l have discovered that dark skinned men tend to take dating me alot more seriously than light skinned.men have. And then l realized. Most light skinned men prefer dark skinned women. While dark skinned men preferred being in romantic relationships with light skinned women.
    l find myself wondering why this is but l can’t seem to discover a logical conclusion to this.

    1. Hi Shan’tell! The conversation between light-skin vs. dark-skin will be discussed for years to come. I too found fascination in the subject which is why I wrote the post, but as you mention there is may not be a logical conclusion to this. Some may argue it is a matter of preference and others believe there is a deep-rooted meaning behind it. Either way it is definitely an interesting topic. Thanks for your comment!

    2. i think you just have to find the right one maybe your looking in the wrong place cuz i think the same think but this light skinned named jaylin is into me

  5. I think it’s sad most light skin women I’ve heard really only want a dark skin guy or they say they don’t do light skin men, but it’s pretty much the same as what I said before. I’ve had dark skin women come on to me but I turned every one of them away because all they looked at was my skin and not my true feelings. The sad thing about it is when I look at all this in a whole It turned me off from wanting to date a dark skin or light skin African American women because of the issues surrounding this.

    1. Hey Mike! So because of these issues, is it fair to say you would rather not date within the African American community? It’s okay if that is the case, but I think it should be noted that in other cultures as well the issue of light-skin vs. dark-skin is a factor. It’s a very interesting subject because there are so many facets to it. I believe as long as you are happy in your choices, everything else doesn’t and shouldn’t matter.

  6. So I am what is considered “light skinned” lol uhm but I do not act higher then another female I really think brown skinned females are some of the mayo beautiful women ever their skin is really pretty and milky I’m light Skinned but the sun doesn’t bounce of my skin the way it does with a darker person…with that being said I love darker people and they are generally some of the nicest most genuine people I’ve ever met.. I’m also only attracted to darker men lol idk like the dudes in my family have definitely changed my views on light skinned dudes..they are so prideful and from a precious experience I could not tell the dude anything bad about himself he thought he was right all the time where ass all my other bfs (darker skinned) listened to what I had to say and if they were wrong they admitted and tried to change

  7. Dark skin people have really given me extra hell (I’m “light” brown) Growing up I was oblivious to colorism and hair texture hate until dark skinned boys teased me about my soft afro braids (they were beautiful) and teased dark skin girls about skin. Dark skin girls have called me fat and ganged up to beat me up (I was a loner)

    As a result I have severe anxiety around many other black people except family and some friends. I avoid them Im not a snob or a self hater but I feel depressed that Im afraid of people who are my own race :/
    Now when I pass dar

  8. I’m a light skin dude whose always getting mistaken for hispanic, white, arab, etc. I’m not pulling the yellow bones, red bones, or black beauties with these looks. Most of these hotnesses stick to darker men. I’m pretty much forced to go interracial, since I’m not having any success with the hot black babes.

    1. Hi Rene! I understand what your saying, but could it also be that you don’t put yourself out there enough to dark skin women? Just a thought. It may also be that you have to take initiative and approach dark skin women; kill em with comedy lol. If dark skin women is one of your preferences, just be sure you’re keeping an open mind. Thanks so much for your comment!

  9. I’d like to chime in on this subject. Every since I can remember, I’ve been colorblind. It wasn’t until my current husband (yellow, light-skin: Think Lloyd Banks or Ludacris complexion however, he’s not high-yellow, he’s tan or almost brown). He’s been the one always talking about it. As for me, I’m red brown (think: Chilli of TLC or Maia Campbell, back in her good ol’ days – like from 1995 on the show, In The House). He says I’m cranberry complexion and that I look foreign. Some say or ask him or me if I’m Dominican, or mixed.

    But, he has confused the hell out of me regarding this topic because I’ve never heard it brought up so much in all my 30-years of life except during 3 years of marriage to him. I don’t understand the hype about it and I’m beginning to think he has a complex, although I don’t know what it is or what its called. For example, for years, he called me dark-skin and although I don’t see anything wrong with being dark-skin, it always made me feel some type of way because I’m in the middle, I’m not light or dark, yet I’m bright if that makes sense.

    He also told me that he wants to be dark-skin in which I suggested that he gets a tan. When I went to Africa, Tunisia, I got a really nice tan. I had just been back in the USA for a couple of months before I met him. So he said that I got lighter since he met me, so I explained to him that when we first met, I had a tan. He thought I was engaging in skin-lightening or something. I explained that it was just a tan that went away over-time. Then he said something about Michael Jackson and I just tuned out… (You see how in-depth our conversations on this topic go? And I could go on and on.) He compares my complexion to various things, like fruits or vegetables, like once he said I’m like yams. In summary, the objectification is bothersome and I came here and read the article, it was nice by the way, and ended up venting lol.

    Regarding the article and my response, neither complexion comes to me more than the other. I’m also not attracted to one more than the other. It just depends on the guy himself and his features.

  10. I’m what the old folks used to call, “hi-yellow”. I would ask women of any color out, be they dark, light, near-white, milk chocolate, whatever. What I ended up discovering was that Black American women didn’t seem to have a taste for “someone light” who could “pass for White”, as they put it. The nice(r) version of their rejections would be, “oh, I’m attracted to darker men.” Didn’t help that I didn’t do Ebonics, didn’t go for gangsta rap, and preferred jazz (original Black music), rock (more original Black music) and classical. “You ain’t a brotha!”, they’d say with scorn. “You ain’t Black!” they’d sneer. See, I grew up on the beaches of the West Coast, with most of what that implies.

    This was true whether the Black American women were dark- or light-hued, and I had certainly made my interest in them clear. So, I got the clue (they weren’t interested) and stopped asking them out! 🙂

    Ended up meeting a woman far friendlier, nicer, and caring of others than the aforementioned people I just described. She’s a sweetheart. She is a great friend and thus a great lover as well. She is also a European (and yes, White) and has that European attitude that the opposite sexes are complementary. We’ve been married for over 12 years. She got me by being nice to me and making it very clear that she was interested in me. She stated her intentions directly. I don’t know of any true man who can resist falling for someone like her. Oh, and she’s very good looking as well, on the same level as the woman in the blue shirt standing next to the man with the white T-shirt and dog-tags, above.

    –SYG

  11. I’m a very light skinned man, and I’ve been mistaken for Puerto Rican all of my life. I like black women of all shades, but I must admit that I find very dark skinned black women extremely attractive. I really find their dark skin beautiful, but I don’t dislike light skinned women either. My mother is very light skinned and very pretty so I have an appreciation of all black women.

    1. Hey Cashman!

      That’s awesome that you can appreciate all skin-types…you may have a preference but that is okay too. And of course some women may have a preference against you or for your as well. I think often our preferences in who we date stem from experiences we’ve had in the past, so they may be slightly skewed. Either way as long as you find someone who is good to you, that is all that matters. Thanks for sharing!!

  12. I think this is a pretty cool and realistic article. I’m a light skinned(yella) attractive biracial man and here in the Northeast I do have trouble pulling the hot darker shade black women as opposed to when I was in the south so that being said in my experience what women like or desire can very by location. Matter of fact online dating worked against me regarding that due to the “first impression” and judgemental type environment it created, but I offline I do not have much problems attracting black women once they get a feel for me and find out what all I am working with. So yes, unfortunately the light skinned man hatred is still real, strong, and still going after all these years. I think unlike darker shades of black men, light skinned men may have to be more “validated” or “approved” by black women before they will open up to them or embrace them in my experiences and opinions.

  13. Gbeing light skined rules… Having good hair is an added bonus…i can go everywhere black or white hoods and fit right in. Added bonus speaking spanish doubble bonus… Hola sonorita….
    As for dating…No Dark skins, no big asses & no ladies that below upper middle class… White chicks too…. No Class & No Ass… Physically Fit and thats it…babies Mama need not apply….. Light skin only

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