I settled in nicely to read a rather interesting post on Bella Naija several weeks ago. I don't remember the title of the post but it was basically written by a light skinned girl telling the world that no, she doesn't get certain privileges simply because she's light skinned, she doesn't get preferential treatment, she doesn't get more notice or attention from guys, and in fact, her life is even harder because of her skin complexion. The comments under that post made me want to hold her and hug her tight, because if you see the insults that followed ehn, you would pity for the girl!
People basically told her to kindly shut up and stop deceiving herself. Other light skinned (and mixed race) girls told her to stop lying, they do get preferential treatment and yes, they get more easily noticed than their dark skinned counterparts. Some even shared experiences where they'd gotten certain advantages all because of their fair skin colour. Not one light skinned reader agreed with the poster that "we are all the same"...
I would never forget that day, during the early days of the bleaching frenzy, when my friend called me to say she needed a good bleaching cream. I asked her whatever for and she said "Babe, this awa colour no dey sell for market again o! I gats buy bleaching cream!". I was confounded and utterly disappointed at her thinking. But then coincidentally I happened to be on a date with this guy who had been on my case for a while. So I asked him "Taiwo*, do you think light skinned girls are more attractive? As in, would you pick one over a dark girl?"
He umm'd and ahh'd and mumbled incoherently but eventually admitted that yes o, yellow girls have got it going on. And yes, they would most often get more attention from guys. And yes, he would errr, choose a light skinned girl over a dark one... He said, while on a date with me; li'l Miss Ebony. But I couldn't blame him na, after all it was I who asked.
But I know this isn't news to you. You hear stories about aristos specifically asking their pimps/contact for yellow babes, and in the unfortunate event that they can't find any at that time and are eventually presented with a dark skinned babe, you know that she will be paid much less than what yellow-yellow would have received. (I site this because I kinda think it's the reason quite a number of females decided to bleach)
Or for those of us who used to visit Zenith bank in Maitama, Abuja... Didn't it make you imagine the interview panel and how if you're not of the creamier complexions you might as well turn back at the gate? Or perhaps applicants were asked to attached their RECENT photos to their résumés and let the shortlisting begin! LOL.
But this post isn't even about the existence or otherwise, of "Yellow Privilege" or colourism. I'd like to think that we all AGREE that light skinned privilege is real, especially in this country of ours.
Now here's proof. Yesterday I was jejely going to take a cab from Chevron roundabout to VGC when an LR4 pulled up beside me. The passenger seat glass came down and revealed a toothy smile in a pleasant face. "A pretty lady like you shouldn't be under the sun, let me give you a ride", he said.
I explained that I was going to VGC and he said he was too and asked me to hop in, which I gladly did. Now somewhere between Chevron roundabout and VGC, perhaps in the middle, at Ikota estate precisely for those familiar with the area, this man slowed down and said he had gotten to his destination.
"But, errr, I said I was going to VGC" I said, confused.
"I know, but I'm not reaching there" he said.
I cursed underneath my breath, wishing this man had just let me take a cab in peace.
I looked ahead of me and I still had several yards to VGC and it was unlikely that I would find a cab now. I noticed he was waiting for me to alight but I was reluctant, the thought of walking the rest of the way was very daunting.
"But you said you were going that way" I whined. I actually whined, I couldn't help it.
"Ehn, maybe I said so, but I'm not. Or what do you want? That I should drive you there and come back here?"
I looked around, the roads were very free and that would have taken less than ten minutes of his time. I think it's what I'd have done if I stopped to offer someone a ride...
"If possible, yes" I said politely, almost pleadingly even. I really didn't want to have to walk!
"Haaaa. Are you fair?" He asked and that got a confused stare from me.
"Are you fair?" He asked again. "You're not fair nau. If only you were fair now I would have gone to drop you anywhere you want, but you're not nau!" He said and burst into the most stupid laughter I've had the misfortune of hearing.
And that was how I opened the door and stepped out with all the calm I could muster. The eejit was actually calling after me asking for my number when I shut the door and kept walking.
I've been trying to wrap my head around it, around the fact that this mongoloid actually told me to my face that the reason he wouldn't go the little extra mile to drop me was because I'm dark skinned.
Now let me hear you tell me that there's nothing like light skinned privilege again.
So you tell me what you think. Is "light skinned privilege" a myth, or something you know to actually exist in our society?
Ps; just like I knew I would, I ditched the skin lightening products I bought soon after I bought them. I have nothing against lightening but I just couldn't care enough to go through that whole routine everyday. Gluthathione pills, anyone? Haha just kidding! I think...