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I just got back from Tom Joyner’s Fantastic Voyage, an annual cruise dedicated to helping boys and girls stay in historically Black colleges.

I had a good time on board the Carnival’s Breeze with artists like R. Kelly, TLC, Jennifer Hudson, Juvenile, and Trina, just to name a few. Near the end of the trip, there was even a water gun fight in which the guests of the Fantastic Voyage were divided into two teams.

Team Light Skin’ded vs. Team Dark Skin’ded.

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#teamlightskin #fantasticvoyage15

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Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Really? We still doing this? That’s what I thought too, but it was innocent fun. Most of the people involved didn’t seem to have a problem with it; in fact, I heard a chant of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” on all sides as we waited for the actual water gun fight to begin.

But when I uploaded a picture of the promotional sign, things got a little ugly.

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Which team "IS" you on? #FantasticVoyage15

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“This is so stupid,” my friend Ayla said. My boy Brian simply said “Sad.” Someone chimed in with a “I am… disgusted.”

The teams weren’t all filled with light and dark-skinned people. There were some people in the middle, like myself. Before I joined the rest of Team Light-Skin, I had to be verified like a celebrity’s Twitter account. I undid my water-resistant watch and bared my naked wrist – the only part of my body that was covered from the sun for the past eight days at sea. Needless to say, my light bright wrist skin qualified me. I still ended up getting attacked from both teams because the rest of my body was browner than an old McDonald’s french fry. This was a risk us people “in the middle” knowingly faced when we partook in the water gun fight.

I knew the history of this type of division has haunted our people for years. One cruise-goer said, “They divided us by color hundreds of years ago, and now we are doing it to ourselves.”

https://instagram.com/p/1s7uoDtpEH/

That was true. The Final Call breaks it down in this article about the Willie Lynch letters and how those small foolish differences were used to break our unity; but on this one day, for one hour, on a beach in the middle of Honduras, it actually brought all us colored folks together.

https://instagram.com/p/1s7h-5tpDu/

Sure, the dark-skinned team kinda cheated by ditching their water guns and using buckets to dump on the “unsuspecting” light-skinned people. The sound of water gushing down your head into your ears is terrifying, however the cool water rolling down on your skin on a hot 90 degree day is as refreshing as racial harmony in a foreign country.

https://instagram.com/p/1qXqQSnY4Z/

Tom Joyner, the captain of Team Light Skin’ded, allegedly surrendered, walked to the microphone, and made an announcement:”Team Light Skin Won!” But as we got back on the cruise ship for the last night, we all had just a little more fun, talked to a few more people we hadn’t spoken to before, and made friends that would last for some time. All for a good cause by the way: to help Black students stay at their HBCUs until they get their degree.

It was just a joke between friends, but yes, it’s still jarring when you see it there before your eyes on a sign. What’s your take?

PHOTO CREDIT: Black America Web / Rance Elgin

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