I was hosting a group of customers from Latin America, and one of them got separate from our group. I asked what he looked like, and the response was that he was a dark-skinned guy. I was surprised by the emphasis on his skin shade, and I was even more surprised when we found him and he wasn’t even very dark, definitely less dark than me. How pervasive are attitudes about skin shades are around the world! The very first story I wrote for 8Asians was about colorism. That story was from a Filipino American perspective, and this video from YR Media provides two different perspectives, one from a Vietnamese American perspective and one from an African American perspective.
Skin shade definitely has mind share among Americans of color. Number Two Son told me that the African American kids in his high school would have a “light skinned vs dark skinned” basketball game. I can’t tell how many times I have heard “You are getting so dark” applied to me or other people. Check out the above video for some more perspective.