…and movies, women with darker skin aren’t smart enough to speak proper English or capable enough to be employed with a six-figure salary. And we most certainly can’t be ladylike. What complete nonsense!

Of course, I did experienced my share of hurtful reactions to my skin color, but thankfully only after I was an adult. Who hasn’t heard the obligatory, ‘You’re pretty for a dark-skin girl’? Or my personal favorite, ‘I usually don’t date dark-skin women, but you’re so beautiful.’ That one really warms the heart. But in reality, the most disturbing aspect of all of this is that those comments were most often made by men with exactly the same skin tone as my own.”

Still, I always knew there were far too many other people who saw my beauty and embraced every part of me with open arms to think twice about what was said. It hurts me to know that so many young girls today are growing up without that same realization and reassurance. I also regret that so many are forced to seek their self-worth between the pages of mainstream magazines or in the background of a rap music video.”

“I’d like to think that seeing someone like me on their televisions every week gives them some hope that things are changing slowly but surely. Finally, every day I’m thankful that I didn’t have to endure the pain that I know so many women do on a regular basis as a result of the color of their skin. My heart goes out to them all. And every day I’m even more thankful for a mother who was always there for me and a father (now deceased) whose first reaction to me on the day I was born paved my path to real self-love.

Tika Sumpter On Being Dark-Skinned In Hollywood: “I Was Truly Unprepared”  was originally published on blackdoctor.org

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