Dear Black People… Dark Skinned Women Are Not Your Runner Ups.
Angelica Weaver

Absolutely agree with your assessment of darker skinned women being deserving of love, but I also thought that was the exact point of the writers of DWP as well. That they were not just blindly reinforcing light skinned privilege by accidentally writing a lighter skin person into the privileged role and writing a couple of darker skinned women, especially Coco into the lesser privileged role… but consciously showing the privileges vs. the disadvantages of these characters, and how it affects their development throughout.

Coco’s entire worldview and experience and development as a character, and especially to come out as a very independent strong black woman at the end was based upon her initially being 2nd choice for everything and wanting to separate from her skin, and resenting the implication that she lacked awareness. It was this very journey that led to her ultimate assumption of her power by the end of the show.

And the “star” was not just a simple “poor light-skinned caught between two worlds” activist. She also not only uses her privilege at times, but is forced to face and own up to the fact that she used it and was quite cruel about it. That she was part of the system of oppression.

By removing those elements and that hierarchy, I’m not sure there would’ve been nearly as much to learn from these characters if we’d just, and pardon the pun, but “white-washed” the real issues and had the characters choose the perfectly lovable, beautiful, but less privileged people they should have. Rather they chose people in a problematic way, the very same way that socially whether we like it or not, we see privilege playing out over and over again.

When it’s done in tone-deaf films, it is definitely problematic. But when it’s done in a self-aware series that shines a light on every problem and hypocrisy and says, “This is why we can’t have nice things!” And calls them out for what they are, I don’t know that it’s quite as problematic as when it’s done by accident. Shining a light on it is how we learn. And it felt like this whole series was a “These are the problems and this is how we learn.” I just wonder if it would’ve been problematic if the show had ignored how light-skinned privilege plays out prevalently? Should it have ignored it?