You know that thing when you’re a woman of color, a man compliments you, and he’s really centering it around your skin tone? Sometimes he’s doing this because he is aware that racism manifests differently for dark-skinned women who face colorism throughout their day-to-day lives, and he recognizes that it is important to validate women who exist outside of Western beauty standards. Other times though, he’s truly just being a jerk. Take this handy quiz to figure out whether he is sexually harassing you or just reminding you that your dark skin is beautiful:
How do you two know each other?
a.) We’re coworkers and we have only spoken to each other two times, both of which were entirely work-related.
b.) We’ve been in a healthy, committed relationship for the last three years.
How did he first approach you?
a.) He found my Instagram, and he slid into my DMs, saying something about how he has a thing for ethnic women.
b.) We had been friends for years and really connected after spending a long time getting to know each other.
What kind of compliments does he give you?
a.) He opened with “hey brown sugar.”
b.) From our conversations, he knows that many dark-skinned women are often told that they can’t pull off bright colors, so he always tries to compliment me whenever he sees me wearing a new color that’s outside of my usual comfort zone.
a.) He called me his tall glass of Cherry Coke.
b.) He knows that I am insecure about my big nose, and he recognizes that this can be attributed to my upbringing in a predominantly white community and a society where Eurocentric features are the gold standard. Being cognizant of this, he likes to tell me how beautiful my side profile looks.
Are you sure that’s all?
a.) He said I was his Kellogg’s® Cocoa Krispies® Treat.
b.) He told me that I gave off the same energy as the anthropomorphic Brown M&M.
Mostly A’s: Looks like you’re getting harassed, girlie! You have got to get out of there as soon as possible; there are too many other inappropriate food comparisons left for him to make!
Mostly B’s: Now that’s what I call a keeper! He’s taking the time to educate himself on how the media’s portrayals of women have affected his perception of beauty. He clearly cares about uplifting you and making you feel empowered in the best ways he can.