Advanced Essay #3: The "Right" Skin


For my essay my guiding question was In what ways does social media cultivate or challenge media? I tried to incorporate my own experience with black identity and how social media shaped that. The goal I set for myself is to establish the struggles of being a black women and feeling like you're in constant competition with people you should be united with. I tried to make my essay as relatable as possible which I why I chose to use one of my real experiences. I feel like I did a really good job expanding on this topic and really identifying a problem within social media.


It was the summer of 2012, on a cool Tuesday morning in the middle of July. I was awakened by the smell of burnt bacon and the almost never ending sound of the smoke alarm. I ran down the stairs to find my brother almost burning down the house. My mom and I rushed to get a towel to calm down the alarm. The piercing sound finally became calm my mom then yelled and me and my brother

“Hurry up and get dress we’re going to be late”

I wasn’t exactly sure where we were going, but I wasn’t passing up any opportunity to leave the house. She made sure to tell us to pack bathing suits; I was hoping we were going to an indoor pool. Oh, how I loved indoor pools. It was never too hot or too cold; always just right. Best thing of all-there wasn’t that burning sun on my back. We drove in the car for almost three hours and to to my dismay, we pulled up to the beach. Don’t get me wrong, the beach was fun; the nice cool breeze in my hair, the clear water, the tangy smell of sea salt in the air, but there was just that one thing: the sun. I hated the sun for one good reason I hated the fact that it made my complexion darker. When my skin was a shade darker, I used to feel as if that changed who I was and how people perceived me. I used to scroll on instagram and see all the memes talking about light skin black girls compared to brown skin or dark skin black girls. On my timeline in particular, light skin girls were always seen as “the prettier girl” so in my eyes I had to be as light as possible. Even in songs you would hear “light skin is the right skin.” For me, I never considered myself light skin until I started using social media and seen the huge debate between the different complexions and even the stereotypes. If I was going to be anything I had to be light skin because according to my instagram feed that was the right skin.

This idea of colorism shaped my identity as a young black women. It put black females against each other as if it was a competition and the people who determined the winners were the black men. They made females compete for their attention by demeaning their complexion and making them feel as if they weren’t the same. Black men controlled the women’s identity and social media controlled theirs. Social media fueled the idea that light skin black women were supposed to look this way and act a certain way and then undermine the black women who weren’t that complexion and try to poison their worth.  A culture that’s supposed to be united was divided. Instead of uplifting all black women as the queens they are the men put them against each other because of these unobtainable ideals of black women cluttered their minds. They gained the satisfaction of seeing them fight for their attention and they fed off of it.

In Colin Daileda’s article Race related conversation remain divided on social media he talks about how many black people talk about or see conversations about race “Around 68 percent of black people who use social media say they see posts about race and relations on their social media feeds, and 28 percent of them say they tweet and post about race as well.” Black people unite on topics like #BlackLivesMatter or #BlackTwitter but never on uplifting our women. Colorism stems all the way back to slavery the only reason light skin black women were seen as “prettier” is because they were closest to white. This idea was instilled in black minds and pushed into social media. The modern way of putting black women down.

Social media has it’s own flaws. It amplifies the wrong things and sometimes the right things. But it has challenged black identity in particular. It gives the men the idea and they push that idea onto black women tarnishing their identity before they even realize what it is. They shape themselves accordingly until they see fit. With no real idea of their true self or actual worth just the perception that social media gives them.


Daileda, Colin. "Race-related conversations remain divided on social media." Mashable. Mashable, 16 Aug. 2016. Web. 18 Jan. 2017.