Saturday, November 28, 2015

“Stop Acting So Light-Skinned!” :: Being Mixed in Modern America

I had a very interesting encounter today. I was sitting in the Malcolm X Lounge, a study room at the University of Texas that’s dedicated to African-American studies, but open to anyone. I was on a couch and had my feet up on a small table. When a girl came and sat down on the couch to my left, I jokingly made a big deal about moving my legs. She responded with, “Stop being so lazy, light-skin.”
I really wasn’t offended by the light-skin reference, but I was totally caught off guard by the way she used the term. See light-skinnededness (no that’s not a real word) has been the target of black humor for a while now, but usually people just say, “Stop being so light-skinned.”
A lot of y’all are probably wondering what that even means so I’ll break it down for you (sorry black people, bear with me here- I know ya’ll already know this stuff). It actually means somewhat different things if it’s being used to describe a guy or a girl, although there are some commonalities.
Guy acting light-skinned means:
  1. Showing and expressing emotions too freely,
  2. Being too “friendly”,
  3. Doing anything that could be seen as gay or feminine,
  4. Acting like Drake and/or listening to too much Drake,
  5. And just generally being “soft”

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