Why dark-skinned black girls like me aren't getting married

Dream McClinton: ‘We are not as valued as our lighter skinned counterparts.’ Illustration: Debra Cartwright

Dream McClinton: ‘We are not as valued as our lighter skinned counterparts.’ Illustration: Debra Cartwright

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 shoe size . . .

For the full article by Dream McClinton, follow the link below to theguardian.com.