When Africans were first brought to the United States as slaves, many slave owners took a strange approach to diving the labor among the humans they owned — lighter skinned blacks were assigned to work inside the house, performing more precise but less physically demanding chores, while their darker skinned brethren were forced to perform punishing manual labour in the fields. In the 21st Century, a grim vestige of this tradition lives on in African-American culture, as women with dark complexion often find themselves looked down upon by their peers, considered less attractive, less intelligent and less refined than women with a lighter skin tone. A variety of African-American women discuss this phenomenon, sharing their thoughts on the social and cultural implications of this subtle but common form of prejudice, in the documentary Dark Girls. Directors Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry feature interviews with women sharing their own experiences as dark skinned African-Americans, children who reveal how young these beliefs are implanted in girls, and men who share their feelings about women and skin colour. Dark Girls was an official selection at the 2011 Toronto Film Festival.
Even though at times I wanted to reach in and throttle the ignorance out of some of the contributors featured I really enjoyed this documentary. Well done to everyone involved.
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