Colorism- what’s that? Why are we still talking about colorism in 2019? Are we not in a post- racist, post-colorism era?- I can promise you the answer is no. I am here to tell you that as a dark-skinned black woman, there are definitely still issues with colorism in our society today. We have still not fully addressed the preference for lighter skinned women over darker skinned women, and it is necessary to keep these conversations going until we treat all people equally.
So what is colorism? Colorism is “the discrimination of African-Americans by skin tone, mostly done unconsciously. According to the Urban Dictionary:
It was perpetuated during slavery and by the media which both place lighter skinned females at a higher level than darker skinned ones.
It has been perpetuated by rappers who tend to use and show lighter skinned women more in their music videos.
It is also perpetuated by some men who prefer lighter women over darker women.
When discussing colorism, often it is something that is only associated as being a problem in the Black community, but it is more widespread than that.
So why is colorism still relevant as we begin 2019?
- firstly, it is relevant because it still exists
- It has a huge impact on all aspects of society: for example, a Villanova University study of 12,000 Black women found that lighter skinned women received lesser sentences than darker skinned women
- The children are impacted by it, and since they are the future, we need to break the cycle: Actress Gabrielle Union was having a conversation with her step sons, in which they discussed how they did not think an attractive darker woman existed and she educated them on why that is not true
The most important thing that we can do is to one, educate ourselves on the history and origin of colorism, and then be part of the change by not continuing to perpetuate these false ideas about standards of beauty.
For more information about this topic, you can watch the following video called “Shades of Black: Colorism, Skin Color Discrimination”
*I do not own the rights to the photos used in this blog post.