We asked two dozen African-American psychologists—student and professional members of The Association of Black Psychologists—to answer the question, "What should you never say to your dark-skinned daughter?" Here's an edited list of their answers.

  1. "Stay out of the sun; you don't want to get any darker."
  2. "You are pretty for a dark girl."
  3. "You can't wear dark colors because they will make you look darker."
  4. "You're just so dark."
  5. "Girl, you are so much darker than...." (Don't compare her to others and avoid making references to dark skin as "blue-black" or implying that lighter skinned individuals as somehow having "better skin.")
  6. "You are so pretty—have you ever thought about straightening your hair?" (A backhanded compliment is not a compliment.)
Note: These responses do not necessarily reflect official positions of The Association of Black Psychologists.

The Association of Black Psychologists is organized to operate exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. The Association sees its mission and destiny as the liberation of the African Mind, empowerment of the African Character, and enlivement and illumination of the African Spirit.


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