By far one of the best and the worst things a little black girl can do is have a light-skinned best friend.
I have one. She is the best thing that has happened to me in a long line of failed friendships. I love her and hate her all in the same breathe. She is my sister. We have been through hell and high water together. We’ve picked each other up off the ground after failed relationships, cussed each other out, ignored each other’s fuck nigga warning signs, learned each other’s character traits, accomplished life goals together and cashed paychecks together. The list goes one to eternity. We tried our best to be that power couple, and not to toot our horns but TOOT TOOT HOE. I think we did just that. (Name another duo better) *ratchet tongue*
Essentially we have grown together. We are literally the same person…. but the perception of each of us is surely individual.
I was the dark-skinned Aunt Viv and she was the upgrade.
That’s the tea you are served when you have a light-skinned best friend. We were thick as thieves, but if she had the gun and I was just the accomplice, I would get the blame. This girl here could do NO WRONG. Others would say:
"T must have put her up to that behavior." "A would never act that way. Hanging out with T brought out the worst in her."
It even trickled down into our relationships with men. The one guy we both had a thing for, swore up and down he wouldn’t date or mess with a dark-skinned girl. That was until he met me *wink, wink*. But shit! You would have thought I had pissed in A’s cereal when she found out. I felt some type of way initially because I was confused as to why it was surprising someone like him would be attracted to me and not her initially, but I let it all slide. I was hurt, but I tucked it back and focused on my friend. Why? Because I thought I was going to lose her. See I wasn’t a bitch, not to her. (Well not all the time.) I knew when it was time to level the walls I had put up for years and I learned a lesson:
Rule #1 to having a light-skinned friend: Pocket your L’s and Push Through.
Hell, even our line names were indicative of people’s perception of us. I was named based on my attitude and she was named according to her AKAmplishments. *inserts Resting Bitch Face*. I lived up to the hype though. If I was going to be labeled a bitch, I was going to be a bad one. After a while I just let shit roll, but I wouldn’t let the encounters pass without letting her know that she was being treated differently. People loved A without a doubt, she was received more pleasantly. Me? Not a chance. Females and males alike spoke their piece in regards to T, but I was persistent with my attitude and acted like it didn’t phase me.
In reality, it did. I’ve been Pam all my life.
I know the attitude isn’t always cute, but my attitude is what always got me through. Rarely has anyone ever challenged me or pushed me over the edge. Oh but I wish someone would have called my bluff. I was tired of being labeled as the stereotypical dark-skinned chick from the south, but I would show my ass if I needed to.
A and I have very similar paths. We have faced the same adversities, we have overcome the same battles, we have smoked the same blunts. Everything you could imagine best friends would do we have done. If “The Other Wes Moore” could have been written from a female vs. colorism point of view, that would have been our story. After graduating from one of the most prestigious Historically Black Colleges and Universities, we both became WOKE. In a time where we were trying to get people to understand that all our Black Bodies were important and should be valued, we were striving to make sure they also knew that our Black Men were important to Black Women. (lol the Memes are true).
A few months after graduation, A sent me an apology text. Threw me for a loop, but she had recognized that we were in fact treated differently. She finally admitted it and it meant the world to me. That was the first time it clicked for anyone in my life. Rarely did I consistently bring it up (because I didn’t want to fit the nagging of the stereotype too) but I wanted someone to see that there was still a difference in the treatment of women who had a little extra melanin in them. It was more than a paper bag test or an obvious overlook when showing up to a function, it was a slash at my already insecure spirit.
However, I’m glad it all worked out the way it did. To have a friend to encourage you when you are down, let you know when you are being stubborn and stupid, and give you a hug when you need it the most (even from a distance), is an enriching experience. I have learned and taught and so has she. So while at times it may feel like the worst decision, having a light-skinned friend puts the true meaning of friendship or any relationship for that matter in perspective: having someone to balance out the bullshit. YING YANG HOE.
Just Keep Sipping,