Chicago Sun-Times
Discussions across the racial divide

The Color Complex--Part Two

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When Kathy Russell and Midge Wilson, a DePaul University professor, wrote "The Color Complex" in 1995, black people were outraged that the women--one white, one black--exposed the black community's "dirty little secret."

But instead of the pair shaming blacks into working harder to eliminate this unseemly bias, a lot of black people cursed the messengers and denied that color discrimination exists among blacks.

Yet --we all know some blacks are still coveting "lightness" and are still judging other blacks by the color of their skin. And there is still a lingering perception that lighter skinned people are favored over darker-skinned ones.

Only now, black women are more likely to challenge anyone--including black men--when they perpetuate the negative stereotypes about darker-skinned women.

Last week when a Detroit DJ had the audacity to promote an event where all-night free admission would be given to black women with fair or light skin, dark-skinned sisters apparently spoke up.

The Associated Press reported that the party promoter, Ulysses Barnes, thought "it was a brilliant promotion."

"I didn't anticipate any type of feedback. It was just a party thing," Barnes told the AP. Barnes The DJ got so much feedback, he had to cancel the party.

All black women--of every hue--ought to be offended by this black man's insensitivity.

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Black people can be racist?...noooo...ya don't say!

Whats the point of keeping this junk on a blog, if people can't 'blog' about it on the blog??
Plus, isn't the point of your writing to open people to ideas and discussion? I dont' remember the last time you listed to discussion on this blog. What is the point of it then?

We should learn to love and respect all of our wonderful black women, regardless of their skin tone.

Black women should challenge themselves for the racism within our community. It is the Black women that were the heads of social organizations like Jack and Jill and The Links that excluded darker skined Blacks and deemed them second class. This is rarely written about because Black Women love to play the victim in society. Black Women should learn to not be so hypocritcal and look at what they are doing wrong sometimes before deflecting blame on to others. I know it was a male Dj that threw the party and it was indefensivable and ignorant. But what about the so-called educated and intelligent Black Women that kept the secret racism going on in our communities for years ? Mitchell doesn't have the guts to call them out or go to the origin of the problem.

If you are going to be a blogger some consistency would be nice. -- I understand having other commitments.

As Marc stated men should learn to love and appreciate women.

Marc, you should learn to love and respect all people--period. Not just black.

You African-Americans need to clean up your own closets, if your going to tell whites to clean up there's.

Something has just struck me. Talk about talking out of both sides of the mouth. Mary Mitchell wants blacks to put aside (they should) judging other African-Americans by their skin tone....Yet this same Mary Mitchell has a post questioning if Barack Obama is black enough. She needs to talk to herself while lecturing others.

All people, women, men, black, white whatever can be racist. However it is NOT for white's to suggest how we as blacks clean up our closets; the closet was essential built based on your own ignorance and racist ideology. The white media planted this seed regarding beauty standards and white women aren’t complaining nor speaking-out against it. If the beauty standards were in reverse white women would be up in arms, marching and creating national publications. However because it is in their favor, the only statements being made are we should stop the internal non-sense, clean-up our acts and learn to be more like them. The problem we are more like them carrying-out this BS! This mess was created, voiced and activated by white American and now it’s our fault! Yeah right!!!

Not only black women, but all black people should be offended. We have fought so long to be equal with other races in terms of socioeconomics, employment success, etc. and now we have an African American man who wants to create a divide between our women and their complextion. But you know there will always be that one person that goes against the grain while we're trying to conquer, he/she's trying to divide.

The party should have been cancelled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John, are you black. How do you know marc does not respect people of all races? If you are not black, you are not the target audience to his comments.

Anyway, I personally love all black women, but I prefer a lighter skinned woman myself. Women call me color struck or whatever. That is what I like to date, and last I checked, I have the right to date or be seen with anyone I choose. I would NOT have done such a dumb thing as let a certain skin tone of woman get into a party free. Lost revenue.

A black guy has a promotion where lighter skinned black women only get in for free. This is some hilarious stuff! Only black guys could ever dream up something like this.

Along the lines of this topic I heard a bar on the near southside designates Wednesdays as "Rastafarian" night. You have to have dreadlocks to get in.

Hillary Clinton is a globalists.Barack Obama is the man with the plan.She is a sack of pus.

This is off topic, but Godspeed to the honorable Mr. Don Imus. I know he is just coming off a multi-million dollar paid eight month vacation, but it is uplifting to see him back on the air and earning millions. This latest development is almost as uplifting as Mychal Bell, one of the Jena 6 felons, being sent back to jail two weeks ago. Remember, you will NEVER defeat us!

Its interesting that every time a subject like this is discussed publicly Blacks or African-Americans state that they are airing their "dirty laundry" or "dirty little secret" as though no one is privy to this irrational behavior. Most people no matter what race or ethnicity can recognize self hate. Do you really believe that when Bill Cosby made his comments at Howard University that crime and irresponsibility of black youth was airing dirty laundry? As though the world didn't know. The key for Blacks or African-Americans is to stop waiting for whitey to change all of his ways and focus on how you can change you own ways to the betterment of your community and country.

I think its important to point out that a "caramel" & "chocolate" night was also planned. If people feel that doing so is divisive, I understand, but it makes it seems as if the man only acknowledged the beauty of "lighter complexioned" black women.
I think its also true that black women can be just as shallow. As a darker toned man, I have had black women tell me that the thought of having a baby with a darker man is undesireable. They were dark complexioned too, btw. These views we have are products of living in a society that has a "cauasian" standard of beauty, & it has affected both genders of all minority "races". Its pretty hard to shake that when we all asorb wayyy too much tv an other mainstream media.

to Andrea: You are saying whites can't tell black people how to clean-up their closets. Well, I wasn't saying HOW TO, rather suggesting many of them NEED TO. Read carefully, please. Also, are you saying whites can't criticize African-Americans if their bad? Is that what you are saying? Sorry, but any citizen can complain about something thats wrong. You'll never see me saying blacks can't criticize whites or suggest many African-Americans can't do so because it only pertains to whites. Many Black Leaders have made a very lucrative living doing just that. Your thinking on this is very racist. Finally, unlike you, I will not blame another race of people and use them as the scapegoat for the bad elements in my community. Self-responsibility and discipline is needed. Thats if my community was predominantly white. (truthfully, mine is very mixed. Probably most folks here are hispanic)

to Chuck: What difference does my color make? I'm only asking why he didn't include everybody. Go back and read his sentence.

to Chuck: What difference does my color make? I'm only asking why he didn't include everybody. Go back and read his sentence.

Posted by: John | November 5, 2007 09:14 AM

John, the story was not about everybody now was it? But John I re-read your sentence, "You African-Americans need to clean up your own closets, if your going to tell whites to clean up there's." Again, I will state this story was NOT about everybody nor did it mention whites. Now why are you and Jerry so defensive or belligerent with your posts?

On another matter Ms. Mitchell, are we censoring again?

Jerry, I will be praying for you. I can clearly see that you really need Jesus to intervene in your life. Your diatribe is as offensive to whites as it is to blacks and as a white person I am disgusted everytime I read anything you have to say in these blogs. Maybe it's because of the way your parents raised you and maybe you've developed these spiteful ways on your own; to that I'm unsure of. All I know is that BLACK PEOPLE AREN'T OUT TO GET YOU! The majority of the black people in this country have to fight social injustices daily to get by in a country where the white population is 6 TIMES THE SIZE of the African American community. Maybe if the roles were reversed, and if you have enough common sense to admit, you'd be peeved from time to time as well!

At what point does this become harassment. my character is being defamed so that I cannot provide for my family. i am pretty sure you started this with the best of intentions, but i am pretty sure you see this for what it is, a smear campaign. all because i offended white owners and co-workers, who now want to destory my life by ruining my marriage and stoping me from raising my children the two most important things in the world to me and something that they are not use to us exceling in. As I stated perviously, yes i made some mistakes in the past, but why is it if i am such a bad guy that they need to launch a smaear campaign. i will tell you why, because they know that i am not going to make the same mistakes a 20-25 year old single male made and that my education will allow my family and i to live a pretty good life, regardless the income. No matter what they do i am not going to give them the satisfaction of puting me behind bars, away from my wife and children. as you see my wife is behind me 100% and that to has made them angry. mary you've never gotten my side, the people you defended earlier are no saints. my former co-workers harassed me by giving out my home address and constantly doing stuff to my car and saying hurtful things. yes, i responsed with some hurtful things of my own, but i never threatened or physically harmed anyone and that's obvious, i am not in jail. i know your intelligence goes beyond someone telling you something, i know i read your columns for years. WHY NOW????????? WHY NOW??????? most of these former owners, coworkers, family,friends and grilfriends were aware and a part of my former life and some even covered while benefiting from the activity, NEVER SAID A WORD. this smear campaign is out of jealousy for friends because they feel i left them behind and doing stuff they only dream of, mind you from maintaining a legit job (disposal income, i often tryed to educate), the owners, becasue a young black male refused to be controlled and i posses the ability and knowledge the claim we lack,and the co-worker seeing a young black man successful in his marriage(with a beautiful woman), raising his 3 children by 1 woman and being active in their lives, having a small but affordable home(plan to use the equity to own and operate my own business), having traveled the world and yearly vacations for the boys, jewelry from exotic islands, nice clothes and cars, and most important a love and closeness that few families share today. i guess that is just to much good for one black man.


As a black woman this situation of skin preference and profiling is somewhat true among black peoples (I am considered a light skinned black woman) . But let's get real here. I have never found "any" advantage to being a light skinned black woman among whites. In fact, I would dare say, they are more threatened by light skinned black because we do not "fit their image" of what a black person is supposed to look like. In short, if whites can tell you are black , it does not matter what your skin tone it. It's all black to them.

Also, I have not heard any blacks (darker or light skinned) asking if Barack Obama is black enough. I think this is nothing but the old white man's game of "DIVIDE AND CONQUER" by putting this thought into black peoples's mind to divide their votes and each other.

Ms. Mitchell, your comments about race and color are bizarre. You have a problem with people referring to Obama as possibly the 1st "Black" president because he is "bi-racial" as you say, and not black? The one-drop rule DOES still apply in this country--it is our history as "Black People" in America. So, Obama being 1/2 black makes him black. There are a ton of light-skinned black people who aren't "immediately mixed", who when DNA tested for racial make-up, come back with far more white blood in their genetic make-up than OBAMA and who matter-of-factly are black, are socialized as such and have two fair-skinned black NEGRO parents! Light marrying light marrying light often produces this. This mixture isn't anything new. If we were to call people who tested 1/2 or more than 1/2 Caucasian "bi-racial" or not black than 60% of the African-American Community would be gone! Look at the leaders of our past---many of them were "whiter looking" than Barack and they were our leaders--like Adam Clayton "in your face" Powell, Jr. This skin color thing is played out too and darker-skinned people have as much of a complex as lighter-skinned. We need to all realize, we are one--Both light and dark men and women in our history got us here!

If a DJ allowed all darker-skinned women free passes, no one would complain. No one. It is okay when things are biased toward darker-skinned women but if the reverse, it's a big deal, a color complex and everyone is whining! Lighter-skinned blacks are left out all of the time and it is okay--as long as it isn't the other way around. People should accept and love themselves and stop all their whining because they weren't born lighter or darker than someone else! How stupid.

The thing that bothers me the most is that if we say that black people come in all colors then what are we? Thats not a race that's a curse, especially in america. We forget that we never had the choice to have watered down people in our race a white, asian, latin man would never except a false form of himself in his race because it weakens it's peoples identity and self respect. It angers me to see mixed or those with lack of melon speak to me like he is my brother because the only reason why you are is plan and simple "Jim crow laws". Freedom comes with a choice and as a people we need to get rid of these " Negro's by default", or we will never be a race just a curse.

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This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on October 18, 2007 4:35 PM.

Jena 6 attorney speaks out was the previous entry in this blog.

Duane "Dog" Chapman said what he meant is the next entry in this blog.

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