A Gentleman's Guide

APRIL | 2018

APRIL | 2018 | FRONT PAGE

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CHOCOLATE TONES, YELLOW BONES AND THE COLORIST IN US ALL

No matter where you find yourself in the world, you’ll find that skin color plays a large role in the way we conceptualize beauty and attractiveness. We know how dark skinned people have been portrayed in the media, just as we know the ways in which light skinned and non-black people are highlighted (pun intended).

We know about the prejudices but what we may not know is how they affect our preferences.

Let’s talk about our prejudices. It’d be nice if we could, in all honesty, say that we aren’t all a little prejudiced, but we can’t. We strive to defend our taste in men by saying that we don’t have a preference because to do so would result in us being seen as prejudice. And nobody likes that.

But, despite our best efforts to avoid being prejudiced, we are. The definition of the word as a noun is to have an “unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand without knowledge, thought or reason”.

Lets start by considering what it is that we find attractive about the light skinned or darker hued Beaux? How did our preferences form and how much of our preference for one or the other been influenced by prejudice? Here are some things that none of us want to admit.

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“Unfavorable Opinions”

The unpopular consensus about the light skinned Beaux is that he is conceited, weak, and self-absorbed. While we feel he’s a part of ‘the struggle’, we’re only willing to allow him limited participation in any discussion about it, because he’s too pretty to know anything about a struggle.  He is assumed to be the standard of beauty, to be more intelligent that his dark skinned Beaux brother, and is assumed as being less threatening because of his skin color.

The dark skinned Beaux also comes with a specified set of preconceived notions as we liken him to poverty, as being more aggressive and less intelligent than his beige Beaux counterpart.

So where do these unfavorable opinions stem from? Society. The media. Social media. Everywhere. This leads us to the “formed beforehand without knowledge” portion of the definition.

Beyonce’s daddy appeared on Wendy Williams last month and gave us an excellent example of this as he, in an effort to promote the release of his book, “ Racism from The Eyes of a Child” admitted that his mother told him not to bring home any dark skinned girls.  Instances like this lead to us forming opinions about people “without knowledge”. They also illustrate the impact that colorism has on the mind of children because we all know who Matthew married and such, we see how his preference was shaped by prejudice.

Its possible.

So is it fair to assume that we’re all prone to experiencing the same thing? Yes, and we aren’t just saying that because we consider it to be an honor to experience the same thing that Beyonce’s father experienced.

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Believe it or not, there is a science to attraction and that science tells us that we are attracted to scents, markers of masculinity and personality. However there is also a science behind media as well. None of us are immune to the influence of media and that influence is, more times than not, subconsciously sustained.  Media essentially replaced the ‘Nurture’ in Nature vs. Nurture.

Nature vs. Media

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Again, there is a science behind who we are attracted to with scent being one of the most prominent. You’re not to different from all those dogs you see sniffing each others rectums because you, too, are attracted by scents. But what if you were lead to believe that one group of people naturally smelled unattractive?

If you were raised in a black household then you know that outside is not only a place, but a fragrance as well- and its not a pleasant one. So how do you think you would view a potential light skinned Beaux suitor if you were raided under the belief that they all smelled like outside?

Conversely, how do you imagine that your attraction to a darker skinned Beaux would be affected if they smelled like a basement (another well known fragrance in the black community)? Chances are you’d avoid them all together based on your “unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand”

Similarly, the markers of masculinity and personality traits that would normally attract you become moot points as your preconceived notions prevent you from being interested enough in a beaux because of the prejudices you learned as a child.

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The battle between light skinned and dark skinned men has been as ongoing as it is ageless and the only foreseeable way to knock it on its heels is to address it as the innate prejudice that it is, to work against it and to leave room for some additional considerations.

In specifically focusing on the trials of the dark and light skinned Beaux, we should work to consider their experiences. Consider the sting of not being accepted by your peers because you’re not black enough, assumed to believe that you’re better than and the annoyance in being asked what you’re mixed with.

Consider the frustration you’d feel being told that you’re cute for a dark skinned guy, being seen as being less intelligent and more threatening than others. Think about how it would feel for people to assume you were poor because you were dark skinned or the lingering effect that being addressed as “black ass” would have on you.  

At the end of the day, we’re attracted to who we’re attracted to for various reasons. Whether you prefer chocolate tones or yellow bones is totally up to you. What we don’t want, if for us to allow our attractions to be influenced by inherited prejudices that we didn’t ask for.

Jeremy Carter