Dark-Skinned women, you have options; not just romantically but you have options in your friendships, the people you associate yourself with, and the activities that you choose to do. Many times, i’ll see black women like me who have opened themselves up to interracial and intercultural dating, but have not extended the same to their friendships. I used to be one of those women who had partners of different races, yet only had black friends and went out of my way to only associate with other black people.
I think that a lot of it was wanting to still be accepted by the community and to validate my blackness despite my non-black partner. To be honest, I wasn’t happy. In my all black sphere I dealt with a lot of subtle colorism and all anyone wanted to talk about was the black struggle while simultaneously ignoring colorism. We only went to the black clubs, drank Henny, and only did activities that we thought were prescribed to black people.
Then I moved to Phoenix and all of the sudden I had only non-black friends. My ex-fiance who is white and a grad student at Arizona State became friends with other grad-students, who in turn became my friends even after our relationship ended. I was thrown into a social group made up of White, Arab, Asian, and non-black biracials who I very quickly found, had much more than not.
One of my friends from southern Asia is a colorism activist like myself. We comfortably talk about colorism in our individual communities and give each other encouragement. It was the first time I could talk openly about the struggles dark-skinned black women faced, without the gas lighting. It was such a twilight zone experience. Here was an Asian woman, the same shade as many of my friends who denied and joked about colorism like it wasn’t an issue; sharing very similar experiences she’s had to myself.
She also openly shared her culture with me and introduced me to tantric meditation, different foods and invited me to her country for their New Year celebration. I also started doing things like hiking, camping, Pilates and visiting national parks with these friends. Something that my black friends did and still do disparage. Mental health and the freedom with which some of my white friends spoke about it, also encouraged me to seek therapy, which is one of the best decisions I have made in my adult life. I wasn’t made fun of, joked about, or ignored for my therapy journey and received ample emotional support when I needed it.
Much like expanding your options in your love and dating life, the point of expanding your options in friendships isn’t to exclude black women as friends but to understand that just because you share the same pigmentation and race as someone doesn’t automatically mean that they are your “sister”.
Sometimes people who look nothing like you and with vastly different cultures can understand you in ways that your kinfolk can’t.
Liv is a new blogger for DDS Magazine. She graduated University in 2018, with a degree in History & English Lit and in her free time is an avid creative writer, History & Fashion enthusiast, as well as a cat-mom to three kittens. When she is not creating, she works at a children's non-profit and enjoys spending her weekends doing Pilates, hiking, shopping and indulging in Sci-fi novels.