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Are Dark Skinned Women Only Worthy of “Jump Off” Status?

As a woman who checked out of popular culture after the birth of my second child 7 years ago, I am asking this question sincerely. It was then that I decided that I didn’t want my kids watching anything on TV or hearing anything on the radio that would demean them as little girls and young women. When I got wind that L’il Wayne said he wanted to “F*** every girl in the world”, I assumed my 2 and 3 year old girls were included in that number. I sequestered us even further into the world of PBS Kids and Playhouse Disney.

We have all “suffered” for that decision in a sense. My kids can’t dance and I have become largely ignorant of pop culture trends within the Black community. I only recently found out that ‘kryptonite’ was not just a substance used to weaken Super Man.

This year, I decided to slowly re-integrate myself back into popular culture. One day the children will be gone and I will need to have something relevant and interesting to discuss with my friends beyond homework and pull-ups. To do this, I have turned to Twitter, where people are at liberty to expose incredible intelligent and/or unthinkable ignorance in 140 characters or less. There are days that I regret this decision, given this unstable mix. However, one of the more interesting people I follow is Kola Boof, for whom I will dedicate an entire post professing my love and admiration for in the days ahead.

kboofFor those who do not know Kola, she is like molten gold: Beautiful to behold and handle, but will absolutely destroy you if you get her heated to a boil. She has long been a compelling figure among the Black literati and intelligencia, making wild claims about Black womanhood and personhood that often include the term “niggerstock”. Most people on Twitter know her as the woman who had an affair with Djimon Hounsou while he was ‘married’ to Kimora Lee Simmons. That’s the G-rated description of events. The affair was a calculated, intentional act of revenge aimed at destroying Kimora’s picture perfect image.

“Black people” could not allow this. They could not abide the notion that a dark-skinned woman would have the gall to exact her revenge instead of crawling into a corner in defeat.

When news of Kimora and Djimon’s split became public, the attacks against Kola were swift and vicious. They called her all manner of names. Whore of Africa. Baboon Tranny. Ugly and dark-skinned. Dark skinned jump off who thinks she’s Kim Kardashian. Black and ugly with African slave features. Kimora is light skinned and beautiful. You are UGLY. On, and on. The attacks came in by the hundreds. And do you know who 100% of the people saying the most racist, derogatory things about her skin color were? Come and get your prize if you said “Black people”.

I was incensed and ashamed. When I expressed my disgust, I too was attacked by a group self-hating African WOMEN.

Colorism in the Black community is not a new phenomenon. It was one of the main themes of the Harlem Renaissance, in fact. Many of the deans of the Renaissance, like DuBois and Toomer were themselves light skinned Blacks. Toomer was so light in fact that he was eventually able to shed his “Black” identity move to Europe in order to live life as a Caucasian male, or just as “man”…something he was never allowed to do in America. In those days, just as it is today, there was a certain amount of privilege that came with having lighter skin. However, there was also a burden of shame. Having lighter skin was also accompanied with the knowledge that one’s birth/heritage included one or more incidences of rape at some point in the family’s history. Black women were raped –by white men – with impunity, even up to the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras. Not only was a Black woman not completely “human”, at least in the eyes of the majority, she was little more than a sexual object, neither deserving respect nor protection. Her offspring did not deserve the same protection or respect either. This was cemented in laws that said bi-racial children born to white women would be free, but any children born to Black women were destined for a life of slavery.

I see these as the roots of the “jump off” culture we see around us today, however instead of rape at this hands of entitled White men, Black women are suffering mal-treatment at the hands of their own brothers from their own neighborhoods.

For those who do not know what a jump off is, it’s defined as a woman with whom you have casual sex with. You literally have sex with her and then “jump off”. I only became acquainted with the term when I got a phone call from Douche Bag a few weeks ago.  He was sniffling and bemoaning his current (and very tragic) state.

“I’m so sorry, Malaka,” he wailed. “I just wish I hadn’t messed everything up with you.”

“It’s okay, Douche Bag,” I said flatly.

“No it’s not!” he screeched. “It’s okay for you, because your life has gone ahead. You have a family. You’re doing fine. I have nothing!”

“Uh huh.”

He laughed wryly and then continued.

“You know, I always thought I was supposed to end up with some light-skinned chick with big tits and long hair. I thought you were just some jump off. But these light skin chicks can’t f*** with you Malaka Gyekye. These light skinned chicks ain’t got s*** on you.”

“Uh huh. Okay…?”

Now, like I said, I have not been well versed in pop culture terms for some time. Had I known that he had just called me a semen receptacle, I would have farted in his ear and hung up the phone. It was only after reading Kola Boof’s retweets that I was reminded of this conversation and THAT term.

I take a look around me and I see fatherless Black children scattered all around this city and every city I visit. Their brown skin, some ashy, some shining brilliantly, looks just like mine. Are they not worthy of a strong family, simply because their mother’s skin is the color of mahogany or fine ebony?

So I’ll ask again: Besides those who have decided to engage casual sex as a lifestyle – Is there a pervasive attitude that says dark skinned (i.e. anyone darker than Tracee Ellis Ross) women are not worth honor and commitment?

My husband would say no, of course not. But he’s an intelligent man. He married me, didn’t he? I believe this is the view of the self-loathing and mentally inferior, but I’m open to hearing if I’m wrong.

This article has 0 comments

  1. A-Dub

    Crickets…. I guess you can’t ask these kind of questions on a Monday morning…. Plus, people are thinking about Christmas, not anything involving heavy mind lifting… Talk about xmas dammit!

  2. Misty

    Ehh, Christmas is too commercialized- Talk about the weather or spring!

  3. Asterix

    Walalalala!!!…Using the term “Jump-off” would most definitely qualify someone to be shot. I like the way you have brought out “Colourism” and “Jump-off” culture. Not heard it like that before.

    • Malaka

      I mean when I look back at some of the things this man has said to me and the things I’ve heard men say to other women, I wish I had the power of time travel. I always suspected he thought less of me because of my Ghanaian heritage (or that I was just a plain African) but it never crossed my mind that I was merely a tool for sexual gratification sole based on the fact that I am *this* color!

      Interestingly enough, one of my readers-turned-friend called me a while back and we had a similar discuss. She lives in Cali and said there is this sense that Black women are just “Black baby mommas” so Black men can commit to ANYONE else but still have their genetic progeny in tact.

      I’m just overgasted.

  4. Sylk

    Eish jo! I’m curious too and would love to know the answer to that too. It is quite heartbreaking really. The colourism that has prompted some of our African sisters (i’m resident in Africa) to resort to skin lightening creams and end up looking like two toned sculptures or what would be termed as coco-fanta. Colorism that has seen to it that some (light skinned) children are favoured over others, that has led to a constant reminder how black/dark a person is and therefore not as attractive in the simplest of topics around the home and further perpetuating the delusion that light skinned is better/more beautiful. That has led to people doing all manner of things when they are preggies/after baby is born to make sure that their babies turn out light skinned, or better yet,picking out a mate because of the colour of their skin irrespective of compatibility.

    • Malaka

      I think we all know the answer, and we don’t like it. Of course no one who thinks that way is going to come out and admit it. They themselves know it’s the essence of retardation.

  5. mandla

    The pressures from white America (and Europe) is too much to bear. Five hundred years of being told that your melanin will give you disadvantages in life (true, in a wicked sense) and what to do but believe the crap? We need a few more black intellectuals/politicians/artists who have a bit of grey matter between the ears who will mock this trend to ‘lighten up’, criminalize it even. The press is the worst offender. All your adverts, your movies, documentaries…
    Then we have the likes of Robert Mugabe, who understands what his blackness means and tries to put it across and is taken for an imbecile. Meanwhile, idiots like Mandela – who give the other cheek and let whites get away with genocide – get Nobel Peace Prizes.

    • Malaka

      Nope. Not buying this one. This has everything to do with Black men and their choices, not colonialism. We are no longer the presumed mindless “cotton picking brutes” that we were labeled as centuries ago. We have access to tertiary education and international travel. Blacks see more of the world today than we have in any other time in history. I’m not pinning this on White people. Sure, they contributed to the problem, but we’ve seen it, recognized it, and Black MEN willingly perpetuate it.

      Mandela extending the hand of peace has no bearing on the issue. His wife is as dark as I am.

  6. TD

    Yes. Its still relevant. There is a documentary out called Dark Girls that premiered in Atl a while ago and it was heartbreaking to hear what black men said about us chocolate black women. I have heard it all, from back handed comments about being pretty for a dark-skinned girl (in Tuskegee, Al, no less) to praise about my skin color from white people. Yes, slavery and colonialism are huge factors but I think that this is the era of personal responsibility. Example, if crack is wack-don’t smoke it. If you know the media lies, then don’t believe it-know that the essence of a person is deeper than their skin color. Ultimately, all I know is that the dark skinned children in my cipher will love their color. Ungawa !!!!!

  7. Ekuba

    I think that colorism in the black society is a symptom of how people all over the world are trying to look ‘whiter’. Not ‘white’ but a certain level of whiteness that’s acceptable to them. So, I have an Arabic friend who says that in her country, the lighter the color of your eyes and hair, the prettier you’re considered to be. I also have some Chinese friends who talk about people in their countries undergoing surgery in order to look taller and to change the slant of their eyes! it’s ridiculous. For we blacks, I guess having a lighter skin, straighter longer hair and Eurocentric facial features have become our standard of beauty. Think about it, how many black celebrities would dare wear their own nappy hair, rather than consistently wearing weaves? And is it only me that feels that Beyoncé looks very light these days? (maybe the blonde hair makes it more dramatic), when I saw this picture, my 1st reaction was wow, who’s that white woman? http://glamazonsblog.com/2012/09/beyonce-jay-z-president-obama-fundraiser-40-40-red-dress/ Look carefully, even the dark skinned women whose looks are praised tend to have very Eurocentric facial features (aquiline nose, tiny pert lips etc). If a woman looks very African, people say she’s ugly.

  8. Azania

    Well, clearly African and/or African-American women, dark or light, should be looked for more than as just a jump-off, from any race, not just Black men. And, the supreme jump-off of all…the Queen of the Jump-Offs, Karrine Steffens, isn’t dark-skinned at all…the scarier thing is not necessarily what she did, though that is scary, but the number of men, who all knew each other, and wanted to make her their jump-off, so they can make comparisons in the studio or other public events/places?

    • Malaka

      Yeah, but Steffens has made a career of being a jump off. I’m talking about women who sincerely want a “normal” (and we can debate that) relationship and are devalued because of their skin color.

      You know what’s crazy? I have a lesbian friend who has brown skin…just regular brown skin. She has dated any number of women who – while they were dating – have told her that she was not really their type because they preferred light skinned girls. The inference was that she was “good enough” for the moment until someone better/lighter came along.
      What in the world?!?

  9. XMarkstheSpot

    This blog post is so sad to me, but I don’t blame the person who wrote it. I hate the idea of people hating their skin and to answer the question…HELL NO dark-skinned women aren’t only worthy of “jump off” status, but they first have to believe that in order to be treated well. Ladies, you show men (and all people) how to treat you. No offense, but using Kola Boof as an example of a “disrespected” dark-skinned woman is problematic to me for a couple of reasons, namely Osama Bin Laden and Djimon Hounsou. Both of these men were married or “married” as you call it, so why is Kola having relations with them at all? What kind of self-respecting woman would allow herself to be a jump off? Don’t blame it on her complexion, blame it on her lack of self-esteem. There are plenty of dark-skinned women in loving, wholesome relationships and marriages with either Black men or men of other races who love, honor and cherish these beautiful mahogany or chocolate or ebony or coffee complected women, because they first loved themselves. If you love yourself, you won’t be a jumpoff, because that is far beneath you. There are too many women of all races who are in jumpoff relationships because they won’t set and maintain standards. And it would be different if a woman decided to be in a casual sexual relationship where she set the standards, but your article speaks to the women who want more, but get less. But they are a part of the problem. Not that the men aren’t jerks too, because they are and should be called out for their intra-racism/colorism/self-hate/mistreatment of women. But the women have to be called out for their low self-worth, self-disrespect, self-hatred, etc. Too many Black women focus on what Black men think of them, but won’t admit what they think of themselves (and that they think poorly of themselves). It’s a problem and until people love themselves, they cannot expect anyone else to fully love them.

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