Yeah I don't get it. From what I can tell, every culture with non white skin finds lighter skin more attractive. White people seem to find tanned skin more attractive. WTF.
A long time ago, I had a friend from Africa that was about as black as black can get. I thought he looked awesome, but I'm an ignorant white girl. He got really offended one time when I made a joke about how awesome I thought his skin color was. That was the day I got educated that all black people actually want to be white. Well, according to that guy anyway. I kinda get how someone who grew up looking very differently and being treated badly because of it might want to look more like what they perceive as 'normal', but the whole lighter skin as more attractive confuses me.
It's a weird play on conspicuous display of wealth. White people are wealthy, therefore looking whiter makes you look wealthier. OTOH, for a white person being able to have the kind of lifestyle where you can just do literally nothing for several hours a week means you have to be wealthy and so tanning is in. IIRC in locales where white people live and workers develop tans, tanning is not as in.
I agree that it's stupid, but it's stupid in the same way that Chinese emperors never cutting their fingernails was stupid. Stupid in an explainable way.