Have The Conversation

Dark Girls (2011)
A Review By Ben Hunter
5 Out Of 5 Stars


Spiritedly makes the issue of race in society aware.  A must see for everyone of ALL colors.


A 1940’s experiment conducted by Dr. Kenneth & Mamie Clark was recently retested on young African American children of today.  The study showed that they favored the lighter skin baby dolls they were presented with over the darker skinned ones.  Some scholars and the minds that think alike say we as a society have internalized the racial notions of darker skin as inferior.

In filmmakers Bill Duke & D. Channsin Berry’s documentary Dark Girls, they go in depth with this issue.  An interesting point was made where the Caucasian part of our society has an internalized notion of pale being inferior.  Where they spend lots of money of frequent tanning salon visits, at least twice a week, risking the health of their skin, getting butt lifts, and crinkling up their hair to look more “attractive”; all features typically found in darker skin women. 

Is it a learned behavior, is it internalized?  I think the most important part is that it’s a problem. 

A problem that I think is about race as a whole and not just the fact that darker skin women need to be valued a lot more (which is very important however).  The film interviews a light skin man who was rejected by a family of a girl he was interested in.  The mother scolded her daughter for bringing home a man of lighter complexion who “would ruin the family’s genes” with his lighter skin tones.  So I believe this is an all around problem and not just with darker skin black women. 

However, the self-esteem of darker skin women has indeed been affected.  As we delve into the film, black men are interviewed and some love dark skin women, others prefer lighter skin, and the latter was the preference.  Which is why a lot of darker women interviewed stated how a sigh of relief came over them when President Obama first introduced his darker skin wife Michelle.  Had she been a lighter skin woman, “light skin, long hair” as they put it, it would’ve felt like another jab at darker women, thus reminding them of the reality of the struggle. 

I think the major events of the world as we know it have a major part in this line of thought of darker as inferior, for instance slavery, and later on to today with the media.  But as I mentioned, it’s an all around race issue as white women try to get darker, families reject lighter skin men in fear of bad offspring, etc.  The film brings to light that race is the issue here in my opinion. 

Conversations need to be had in order to get our society to see that it’s what’s inside that what truly counts.  Only when we address the issue in our communities will the healing begin.  So when this starts to happen, we can focus on the more important things in life and not feel insecure about our appearances; focusing our behaviors to merit our works to make this society a little better.

Dark Girls
Documentary, 75 Minutes, Not Rated
Produced & Directed by: Bill Duke & D. Channsin Berry
Cast: Stephanie A., Soren Baker, Joni Bovill, Kirk Bovill, Corinne Gillard, Bill Johnson, Emily Yang, & Viola Davis 

Popular Posts