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Black women in the US marry less than others - and the numbers are even lower for darker-skinned black women. Is colorism – favoring lighter skin – to blame? Dream McClinton puts herself on the line to report.
I take a deep breath and ready my fingers. I admonish myself for being theatrical about something so mundane. Another deep breath.
“Here we go,” I mutter, pressing enter.
My profile has been created. It seems simple enough: swipe left to dismiss, swipe right to express interest.
The first eligible bachelor appears – not my type, I swipe left. Then another follows – too young, I swipe left again. Ten swipes in, and I find myself texting my eldest sister this was a bad idea. A feeling of vexation settles over me.
I didn’t think I would ever have to use a dating app, but men don’t talk to me any other way.
I’ve spent so much time trying to understand what is so unattractive about me that men shun me. At first, I thought it was because I was intimidating – a word I’ve heard used to describe me. For a while, I concluded I was “not that interesting,” a line I subsequently used as my biography on social media. But those explanations won’t do.
The real issue is staring me right in the face: my deep mahogany skin.
Colorism – the prejudice based on skin tone – has stunted the romantic lives of millions of dark-skinned black women, including me. We are not as valued as our lighter-skinned counterparts when seeking romantic partners, our dating pool constricted because of something as arbitrary as a shoe size.
Jasmine Turner, the owner of BlackMatchMade, a Chicago-based matchmaking company, agrees this affects all black women. “Honestly, I think black women tend to lower their standards because they’re finding challenges in dating. Now I’m finding that black women are like ‘You know what, as long as he has a good job and he’s a good person …’ No matter how successful they are, they’re open to dating him.”
I’ve never been one to settle. I’ve taken this attitude to the app, only searching for men who are gainfully employed and fairly decent-looking. But I definitely understand what she means. Previously, dating has made me feel like I must drop some of my must-have criteria – a college education, a steady job, and able and willing to pay for the first date – in order to fin