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I don’t know if it’s PC (political correctness) to post this here. But I thought I’d share this with my fellow actors.

Recently, I had a discussion with another black actor about skin color and the movies. We agreed that lighter skinned black actors are favored over darker actors. Take a look at mixed race actors like Halle Berry and Terrence Howard. They get more work and better roles.

I remember the first time I saw the late Bernie Mac on a sitcom. He had a small role in which he was ridiculed by another black person because of his dark complexion.

It’s like this, when you say ‘black’ we black actors tend to get lumped into one group. But in reality, we have been broken down into several based on our skin tones. So for instance, in most commercials and magazine ads you will see lighter blacks used. But in ghetto scenes they go for darker skinned actors. Black villains are also darker.

I have heard some film folks justify using light skinned black actors or not using blacks at all. The excuse, “It’s difficult to light black people especially if they are in the same scene with whites”. So, what’s the real problem? Is it that people don’t want to take time to work on lighting? Or is it really something subtly engrained into people’s minds?

Now, why are blacks different shades? It’s mostly because of the legacy of slavery. African slaves being forced to bear their white masters children and then being brought up believing that lighter is better. People opted to have light skinned babies believing that they would have a better life. In most black families you will find people of different shades with different hair textures as well (and hair texture is another issue). If you want proof, just look at photos of real African slaves and what their descendants look like. The slaves were much darker while their descendants are lighter. The lighter you are the more mixing there was. I know people don’t like talking about slavery, but it is part of our history and should not and cannot be ignored or forgotten

But it’s not just the way that whites see us. Even we black people have issues with skin tone. Again, it’s because of the legacy of slavery. The ‘high yellow’ lighter skinned blacks were treated much better than the darker blacks. This is highlighted in Spike Lee’s film School Daze.

Well, I’m just grazing the issue today. I’d love to hear your views.

Tags: Black, skin, slavery, tone

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That is always the argument Sonya. I think now'adays black people are represented just fine. We've come a long way. If you watch television, you see a healthy mix of all races...stereotype or not...they are all there. This isn't the 60's anymore. Take a stroll around cable television...I don't think black people are ill-represented in any way.

I think the 'not represented' argument is a little wobbly now'adays. Like I said before, Hollywood does have their specific type and look...a type and look that makes them more money...but that doesn't mean black people are being repressed in the industry. At least not any more than other people that don't fit the 'Hollywood glamour type'...maybe we should have a television station devoted strictly to specific types of people that don't fit the Hollywood mold. There are a lot of people that don't receive the attention they deserve...that's the industry in general...I don't think color has anything to do with it anymore.

Yes there is still a separation between races. But let's be honest...I think a lot of people want it that way. That's why each culture struts their differences openly and are proud of their differences. Not only that, but they flaunt it--this takes place on both sides of the fence. Personally, I think we need to stop talking about color in general...stop acting like we're better, cooler, tougher, smarter...we're all the same. There are differences in culture, I know that...and that's cool. It makes the world unique and wonderful...but that is not the same thing going on in America...

I don't want to get into a huge racial discussion here. I tend to rub people the wrong way because I'm honest and forthcoming. I just want to make it perfectly clear that I love all people...it's not the color of your skin, it's WHO you are that I judge. I just think there is a bit of what's known as 'reverse-ism' going on in society now'adays. Deny it or not...but it's there.

Sonya, you know me...we've worked together and talked...you know I'm a reasonable guy who likes all people...don't get the wrong ideas about me. I see all of your points, and it's been true for many decades...but I think times are changing, and the truth can sometimes be muddled by harbored feelings.

Thanks for listening.
My reponse to you was why it began rather than why it still is. You have to admit that things used to be disproportionate. And yes, I know you and I know you not to be racially motivated in any way. I have no issue with you or what you said, I just had to speak on the origins.....I also know that racism is still there loud and proud. Clearly we have evolved, but not as much as alot of people think. I have had alot of opportunities that others have not and consider myself lucky. I went to private schools here in MA and did not witness the blatant, in your face racism that many Black people experienced. My parents on the other hand, grew up in Birmingham and Montgomery AL. Surprisingly when I was in college I saw my grandfather and his brother in a clip from "Eyes On The Prize" at Dexter Street Church listening to Dr Martin Luther King speak. My mother went to Dr MLK's house the night it was blown up when she was in college. She was petrified when some White teens through water on her and her friends because in those days, Whites threw acid on Black people. Yes, college was available to her. She attended Alabama State University, a Black College that was founded so that Black people could received a comparable education. So yes, things are better now, but alot of entities were established because once upon a time they weren't better. And btw, Black people are still lynched and burned in parts of Mississippi.......and the Rebel flag still waves in South Carolina.....

I don't think that we should stop talking about color because it exist and it's part of who we are. If you don't see that I am Black, then you don't see me. I just don't want to be judged because of it and I don't want to make judgements on you because of it. Maybe we should start that television station. Wouldn't that be groundbreaking!

Lastly Michael, I can't wait to work with you again on our next project! I love your work and the things that you are doing for actors. I have no issues with you and hope you feel the same about me. See you tonight at the auditions.
And just to add stoke the flames of the fire, Why is it that it is acceptable to watch all kinds of movies about the Halocaust, but when it comes to films about slavery in America no one wants to watch? Slavery was the black man's Halocaust. For every one African that made it alive to America (North & South), four Africans died! That's a fact.

By this I also mean that it is easier to get funding for making a film about the Halocaust then a film on slavery and there are so many stories that need to be told.
Agreed there are so many stories. The stories just regarding "The Underground Railroad" would fill dozens of books and be subjects for so many movies. There is an incredible story for every slave and every family touched by slavery.

It's a funny thing Chemi. I just find so few young people that are interested in History at all. I've spoke to recent college graduates at the Gym and on movie sets and they know very little american history or world history. And i mean just the basics. Which makes me wonder when they are so opinionated on current world affairs. Remember the old saying? "Those who do not study history are forced to relive it."
Did you actually say that black skin is harder to light? If that is indeed the reason, then Hollywood is not only racist, they are STUPID and gives me yet another reason to dethrone it.

For future reference Sir. The sun shines equally on skin of ALL shades, and if not. You need better lights.

Peace. Ahura Z.
David..... It's a simple physical fact of reality.... The darker something is.... the more light you have to throw at it!.... This is not a racial issue but a simple basic lighting issue!... Darker colors ABSORB LIGHT.... SUCK IT IN..... Where as lighter colors tend to REFLECT light.

How an intelligent human being could turn this basic LIGHTING ISSUE..... into a RACIAL ISSUE..... Is quite disturbing and kind of Sad!


From your X-Hollywood Lighting guy..... Craig Amabello
Michael Jackson liked to dress up like a NAZI?????

How, totally COOL....... I would love to see these pictures.... anybody know where I can find them?????

My aren't people strange.... pretty, soft Mr Mickey liked to wear the clothes of some of Histories most violent and Gung Ho Killers!.... MMMMMMMMMMMM...... Very interesting........

But ya gotta admit their clothes and designs and hates and jewelery was really COOL lookin...... The Germans really knew how to steal some very cool lookin stuff from other cultures......... I would love to have some SS Army coasts and hats and other cool stuff and boots.... Great... Great Clothes!

Don't hate the clothes or the people that designed them.... just hate the dirty scum that did all those horrible things to so many innoccent people!

Those are really GREAT POINTS !!

Also, like you, I too have openly, for many years, made the
same observations (both verbally and in writing) about 'the
double standard' and how it is matters like this that perpetuate
racism, harassment and discrimination among various groups. =D


[[[Comment made by David L Tamarin on August 1, 2009 at 4:21pm]]]

"I guess in the end I feel kind of silly comparing one person's
skin tone to another. There are no absolutes, it is a continuum
... most of us fall somewhere in between Even among whites
there are color differences ... its a waste of time to try to place
people on the spectrum to see how white or how black they are ...

But there is probably prejudice within every ethnic
group ... It seems to be a cross-cultural phenomenon.
People hate people. If we were all the same color
we'd find other reasons to hate each other ...
So basically most people have a lot of hate in them
and it interferes with the ability to think rationally.

One last last point... on the double standard.
It's OK for people ... to use racial
slurs that white people can't use ..."
David L Tamarin (on August 1, 2009 at 4:21pm) WROTE:

*** There are a lot of people who have ancestors who
are black and white (and Asian, etc) and I think that
accounts for a lot of black people with not so dark skin.
... why do we call them blacks, or African-Americans?

*** If someone is half black, half white, why do
we call them black, or light-skinned blacks?
Couldn't we call them dark-skinned whites.

*** Unfortunately it is a fact that the prejudice exists
against darker skinned blacks by lighter skinned blacks.


REPLY (by AllPeople):

Those are really excellent questions that you have presented
here -- and I hope the following links are of some help
and / or some interest in addressing all of them ...

***** Here are links to the facts regarding the terms of
"Black American" (BA) and of "African-American" (AA) :



***** Here are links to the facts regarding the
false and oxymoronic term of "light skin black":




***** Here are links to 'the-facts-behind-the-myth' of the generally false
allegations of a practice having regularly occurred of a "prejudice
... against darker skinned 'Blacks' by lighter skinned "blacks":

[NOTE -- Historically (at least in the United States of America)
and, even in modern times, the general 'reality' of the situation
has actually been the complete opposite of the 'myth']





[Also -- a little known FACT is that the interesting phenomenon of
"dark-on-light-harassment" is actually so PREVALENT (at least in
the United States), that it is 'The' Example used by the federal EEOC
agency as being 'The Primary Form' of "Color" Discrimination that is
so often found within a very specific Ethnic grouping in the United States.

(Although the divisive, biased and agenda-based focus and coverage by the
mainstream media on this subject matter usually leads people to draw the
exact opposite conclusion and go throughout life under the false impression
that it is the so-called “light skin blacks” (i.e. mixed-race people) who are
the primary practitioners of this repugnant behavior and / or mind-set ----
when, reality, this perception could not be any from further the truth.)




Other Links:





Chemi.... on a serious note... (sorry I had to go off before and make a crack.... but I had never heard or read before that Michael Jackson was a secret lover of Nazi Paraphernalia... and for some reason that just baffled me and unfortunately made me instantly go off of your very REAL, TOUCHY and AWKWARD Topic)...... No disrespect meant.

First off Chemi..... I agree with what you say.... sad to say, but true...

Also.... weather people will admit it or not.... I BELIEVE RACISM IS DEEPLY ENGRAVED IN US ALL!...... It's only the Smarter Humans (and there ain't to many of them either!).... that understand Skin Color is Nothing to judge a human by! It's how Humans act is how we should ULTIMATELY be judged on.... But not on this planet full of fools!

Also in defense of film makers everywhere...... ( I swear I'm being serious).... It's always good to never shoot ANY SUBJECT against a white wall or bright background because of the exposure/ F-Stop difference..... it really is a difficult exposure ratio when you shoot a lighter skinned human next to a Darker skinned one! So it Really does make shooting darker skinned people with lighter skinned ones much more difficult to do.

Obviously I'm a white guy.... have never been black... don't claim to know the black experience... but do know that it's VERY SAD that we are SYSTEMATICALLY TRAINED AT BIRTH TO BE PREJUDICED!

you know how dumb I can be Chemi?

FIRST: It took a black guy to tell me: "Craig, imagine growing up seeing/hearing/ being told/taught that Santa Clause... The Easter Bunny... the Tooth fairy... God... Jesus.. etc WHERE ALL WHITE!"..... ya know Chemi, that shit just really Blew my mind and Hit home with me.... It wasn't until then that I truly UNDERSTOOD how Racist the white man can be.... (don't get me wrong, many a black person can be racist to)... But it was this guys statement that truly Woke me up!)

and SECOND: This very same guy..... (actually, I considered him one of the few humans that I liked and Respected in LA) told me that his Father wanted to Beat him because his all time favorite tv show was the Dukes of Hazard!... Now that's pretty funny in a very sick way!... but in all fairness this guy tried to explain to his father that it had nothing to do with black or white.... North or South..... he just loved that damn car and Daisy Dukes in her lil shorty shorts!

Anyways... I have a million things to say on how bad the white man has been to the blacks... ( but then again.. we MASSACRED the Red man and Wiped out the Buffalo!). but I don't wanna go on bad mouthing white people just cause I happen to be white...... (I've always considered myself...... A HUMAN BEING...... AND NOTHING MORE...... OR LESS!)

I know there are Very Bad people out there OF ALL KINDS OF SKIN COLORS..... To those bad people I say: "Screw them and their kind!

Life is to short to have so much Hatred (and I know a thing or two about hating!)... I just wish and hope that somehow.... ANY DECENT HUMANS OF ANY ORIGINS... CAN OUTLAST.... OUTWIT.... AND BEAT THE EVIL, ROTTEN, SCUMMY BASTARDS that have worked so hard trying to DESTROY THIS PLANET AND THE FEW DECENT PEOPLE THAT STILL INHABIT IT!

Live long and prosper to any and all decent, Open minded, cool humans....

All the rest can just DROP DEAD!

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.............................. Smile.... Laugh..... LIVE!

Craig Amabello

Now can we all just make FUNNY, HAPPY, INTELLIGENT Movies and laugh for the rest of our long and natural lives???
You know Chemi,

For all of the positive talk, I have noticed in looking at web series, films and castings on this site, that unless black people are involved on the production end of things, there aren't alot of us in major roles. Is it just me or is this so?

Since mention was made of the topic of the ‘house'
and the ‘field’ slave — I just wanted to note that
this false concept that so many people have
-- that the lighter-complexioned chattel slaves
“had it easier” or “thought they were better”
than the darker-complexioned slaves -– and
/ or largely “relaxed in the big house” while
the darker-complexioned slaves “suffered
in the fields” — is very much (just like the
infamous ‘Willie Lynch Letter’ Hoax) all VERY
MUCH AN URBAN MYTH (and, is one which,
in nearly every way that’s possible, completely
defies the true historical recorded account).

The historical record shows that
those enslaved people who were of a
lighter-complexion (i.e. mulatto-lineage)
and that were found on the continental
United States during the antebellum
(chattel-slavery) era were actually treated
MUCH WORSE than were those enslaved
people who were of a darker-complexion.

In fact, the record shows that most of the White
people (especially the White women) tended
to look upon the lighter-complexioned slaves
as being mere ‘mongrels of miscegenation’
(resulting largely from the rapes caused by the
plantation 'Overseers'); in their disgust at the
sight of these slaves — insisted that they
be “banished to the fields”; and also then
purposefully reserved most of the ‘big house’
positions (ex. mammy, cook, driver, etc.) for
the darker-complexioned slaves -- who most of
the White people had perceived as being “more loyal,
more docile, less competitive, etc.”, and, even more
important, they were also of a skin tone which
could never cause them to be seen as being
any part-'white' (and even worse, perceived as
"possibly" also being "a member of the family"
--as it were-- of a given plantation 'Owner’).

And this maltreatment was generally even much
more so the case if the lighter-complexioned
enslaved person was even remotely ’suspected’
(by, say, a wife, sister or daughter — who ran “the big
house”, while a ‘male’ family member ran “the plantation”)
of possibly being the offspring of a given plantation
'Owner' (or his son, or father, or brother, or any other
male found in the plantation 'Owners' White family).

In addition, the few lighter-complexioned enslaved
people that were actually permitted to do any work
in the "big house" were (as a punishment for having
the lowly status of “mongrel” and in order to make sure
that they did not become “too uppity”) kept under a
much more severe work supervision (by both the
White women who ran the plantation household and
also by the darker-complexioned enslaved people
who had been placed over the lighter-complexioned
enslaved people and given various "rewards" in an
exchange for the promise to 'keep an eye on' them)
than were most of the (more trusted and seemingly
endeared) darker-complexioned enslaved people.

Books by Deborah Gray White; Paula Giddings; bell
hooks; J. California Cooper; William Wells Brown;
etc. expose the truth about the urban-myth and
show that the lighter-complexioned enslaved
people received NO special treatment and were,
instead (due to being seen as mere “mongrels of
miscegenation”) usually treated much worse than
were most darker-complexioned enslaved people.

The hatred, fear and mistrust that many of the antebellum
and post-antebellum era White southerners felt toward the
people who were both of a light-complexion (mulatto-lineage)
and were also chattel-slaves, is very strongly presented
in the 'D.W. Griffith' racist film 'Birth of a Nation'-- where
pretty much all the trouble, tragedy and dangers found
experienced by White southern families in the film is
falsely presented as being caused by "uppity" Mulattoes
who 'needed to be taught "their place" among White people'.
(i.e. they "needed" to be beaten, raped, lynched, etc. by the
"proud" White people who had been reared to make it clear
that they felt "no connection" to any non-White person).

Anyone who would like any additional information
on this topic can feel free to contact me directly.

Hope this information is helpful
& that everyone has a great day.

– AP (soaptalk@hotmail.com)

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-- AP (soaptalk@hotmail.com)



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